While its biggest rival is focusing on becoming a global technology company, Optus has its sights set on making its mark as a service provider for business with the launch of its unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) platform.
The service, which will initially run on Optus' IP network out of datacentres in Sydney, Melbourne, and Singapore, will provide voice, video, and messaging services for medium to large businesses across Australia using Cisco's hosted collaboration suite.
In Sydney and Melbourne, Optus will also offer a contact-centre-as-a-service offering on top of the UCaaS platform to allow companies to manage its contact centre through the platform.
Ian Smith, Optus vice president for Managed Services and Delivery, told ZDNet that the company has been working with Cisco for the last six months, with 80 staff members across the two companies dedicated to building the product.
"In order to meet the needs of our customers and differentiate ourselves, we needed to address the contact centre as well as unified communications. We took a bit longer, and what we've built is a highly resistant, highly redundant, mission-critical contact centre as a service and unified communications platform for our customers," he said.
He said that Optus is focused on being a service provider, rather than a technology company.
"We're a service provider, not a technology company, so we use technology to create better services. We think there are some inherent advantages in being a service provider, for standing up this type of service. The way we've tackled it is we built an enterprise-grade, carrier-class solution, and it is across two datacentres, bolted into the Optus network," he said.
"We see this as the logical evolution of this journey we have been on to bridge the gap between telecommunications and IT, and steadily close that gap."
Smith said that early demand is coming from existing customers, but Optus Business is looking to win new customers.
"A lot of them are saying, 'do we go one more round of capital investment in this infrastructure, or do we take this opportunity to move to an OpEx model and a pay-as-you-go arrangement?'," he said.
Finance and banking, retail, insurance, health, education, and government are the industries that Optus would focus on, he said.
Optus has created four profiles for customers in order to determine the user requirements in the platform from desktop workers to office workers, to mobile workers, to the executive collaborator package for employees that are rarely in the office.
"Tailoring the packages to those different work profiles is part of what we'll bring to market, and then you can mix and match those work profiles with your business needs, and then you have the flexibility to change that over time, as well," he said.
The subscription to the platform is charged on a monthly basis.
Josh Taylor travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Cisco.