Optus Wholesale has announced a cloud-based unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) solution for service providers in partnership with BroadSoft.
Optus' Cloud-UCX wholesale solution enables multiple devices to use the solution simultaneously with one interface, is available across tablet, mobile, and desktop, and allows its wholesale customers to build and whitelabel UC products.
Optus Wholesale VP John Castro told ZDNet that the cloud-based solution makes use of BroadSoft Business' BroadCloud platform, and is hosted in geo-redundant Equinix datacentres.
"It's a hosted or cloud PBX emulation of that environment free of all those hang-ups, free of the complicated setup, free of the expensive maintenance regime, free of the inflexibility, that also brings the next-generation digital and collaboration tools that they're perhaps more familiar with in a mobile environment or a non-professional environment," Castro told ZDNet.
While Castro admitted that there are other voice-over-IP (VoIP) solutions available for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), he said Optus' offering is set apart by being the first cloud-based version of BroadSoft in Australia being made available to wholesale service providers and channels.
"There's also the end-to-end nature of it," he added.
"There are solutions out there -- I'm not going to say there aren't hosted voice or VoIP solutions that are not out there from others in the market that target SMB Australia, of course there are. But they don't have the end-to-end nature that includes the collaboration suite of services that seamlessly integrates and allows service providers to compete in this space."
The service currently includes instant messaging, presence, voice and video calling, conferencing, call recording, and file sharing.
As BroadSoft develops new functionality for the platform each quarter, it will become "immediately and seamlessly available" to Optus Wholesale customers using Cloud-UCX, Castro said, providing "massive efficiency gains".
It also allows for whitelabelling portals and APIs; lower operational, maintenance, and setup costs; wider coverage, allowing wholesale customers to expand solutions by adding UC stations where required; flexible deployment across public and private connectivity using Optus' mobile and fixed-line networks; and autonomous quoting, ordering, provisioning, and branding.
"It is integratable into Optus through very simple software APIs, and gives them all the ability to brand it the way they would their own solutions because it is completely whitelabelled," he explained.
"By giving them the underlying platform, we give all of that flexibility to them ... they'll be able to whitelabel our platform-as-a-service UCX product."
It also gives greater scalability to small businesses, Castro said.
"Our cloud solution by definition will afford them the path to continue to grow and add scale to the service as required, and do so dynamically," he told ZDNet.
Optus has a launch customer that it cannot yet name, and is also in discussions with several other businesses.
"We've had a lot of customer interest in two camps: One, those who are new to this because they've never seen a product that has sufficiently compelled them to give the market a red-hot go; or two, those SPs [service providers] who have tried with a legacy carrier incarnation of it ... that have then been locked in to that hardware," he said.
Optus is predicting the UC market to be worth $1 billion by 2021, thereby making it an important market for service providers to assist their customers in transitioning to the cloud.
According to Castro, much of this business migration to digital voice services is being driven by the National Broadband Network (NBN).
"NBN is a real catalyst for change ... as they force SMB Australia to think about their move to a next-generation broadband network, it's really catalysing the question about what does their next-generation voice communication service look like, and that's where Cloud-UCX comes in," he told ZDNet.
Optus in May announced its partnership with BroadSoft with the introduction of Optus Loop, a cloud-based telephony system run on BroadCloud for SMBs that provides hybrid mobile and fixed-line services for voice, instant messaging and presence, voice, file sharing, and video conferencing services, with a soft client for desktops and tablets.
Also working with BroadSoft is Telstra, with the two in April entering a multi-year deal to provide unified communications, collaboration, and contact centre services to Australian enterprise customers.
Under the deal, the BroadSoft Business suite of cloud-based unified communications applications will be deployed across Telstra's IP Telephony (TIPT), Digital Office Technology (DOT), and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Connect solutions.
BroadSoft said the deal was made "in response to the growing popularity of a mobile workforce across Australian businesses", with Telstra's unified communications solutions experiencing strong growth over the last year.