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Reaching the SDN Summit with Fiber Mountain

October 05, 2015

While it is not a provider of communications solutions, Fiber Mountain is on the forefront of network transformation. By leveraging software defined networking, the complexity, size and scale of today’s data centers is combated with efficiency and better utilization of server resources. Fresh off being honored for its excellence in SDN, Fiber Mountain is taking part in THE business communications event: ITEXPO.

CEO and Founder of Fiber Mountain M.H. Raza will be participating in the panel discussion, “Effective Delivery of Next-Generation Services and Apps with SDN and NFV.” Moderated by TMC’s Paula Bernier and joined by Teridion’s Elad Rave, the panel will dive deep into the tangible benefits NFV and SDN offer for the delivery of services and applications. Recently, VP of Marketing for Fiber Mountain Bill Miller sat down with TMC to talk partners, unified communications, WebRTC and more. The full interview is below.

Have we finally reached an inflection point with Unified Communications adoption? What is driving or hindering the market?

Although Fiber Mountain is not directly in the UC business, we are working on improving the network performance of demanding UC functions such as integrated streaming of all kinds, UHD video, HD voice and eliminating QoS challenges. We do this by improving network traffic performance with ultra-low latency layer 1 optical switching and software defined networking.

As UC continues to mature and applications evolve to provide powerful and effective user experience, network and data center traffic loads are increased and must be more efficiently implemented and managed.

How do you feel collaboration software/services are helping workers today?

Instantaneous access to people and information – anytime, anywhere – are the clear benefits of collaborative services that we are experiencing today. Integration of mobility into UC removes time- and location-dependencies, while the integration of everyday applications with our business applications truly help worker productivity every day.

Has corporate awareness of security threats increased over the past year?  Have security practices been adjusted as a result?

There is no doubt security threats have increased over the past year, and just about every business is working hard to adjust policies and practices. The challenge is that as more of our lives and businesses are online, the threats increase and the bad guys create new ways to break into corporate environments.  Security practices start at the top. They are a strategic part of running a company’s business, are budgeted and resourced, and are taken as seriously as cash flow, profitability and product/service quality. This process is never-ending and constantly in motion.

If your mobile device had integrated software that allowed you to separate your business and personal apps, would you use it?  Why or why not?

The one major issue I see with using a personal mobile device with business applications is the ability to “remote wipe” personal information – which is bothersome. I prefer to keep personal and business separate if remote wipe is a possibility, unless I know I can back it all up into the cloud and recover personal information easily with a simple “restore”. This depends on corporate policy.

How is cloud computing shaking up your product/service offerings?

I am a strong supporter of the movement to cloud, but its effect on Fiber Mountain is minimal. The enterprises we serve are improving their networks and data centers, even if they are moving some applications to the cloud. There are few companies outsourcing their entire enterprise and service as Netflix has done, even if we see this trend continue. The primary drivers include control of resources, cost and security.

Are channel partners keeping up with the latest products and services or is more training required?

Channel partners are not much different than traditional enterprises regarding technology. If business is good, little changes, but when the business environment changes, they truly need to explore new technologies and solutions. The resellers we work with are traditional telephony, data network and security resellers (one reason why we love ITEXPO), and can offer a unique solution with our products that complement their current offerings. We don’t have a formal program at the moment, but many potential channel partners are evaluating Fiber Mountain’s award-winning Glass Core based solutions, and we are working closely with a handful of channel partners.

As for training, there is never enough training. Most resellers always have a thirst for training – both sales and technical training. The challenge can be time – right-sized channel partners have precious little time for training, but once they commit, training is a critical success factor in revenue growth.

Samsung Mobile is making a direct move into the enterprise market with its latest line of corporate-centric devices.  Can Samsung successfully take the corporate market share that once belonged to BlackBerry or will the enterprise mobile market remain entirely fragmented?

Samsung has proven in the consumer market to be relentless in penetrating the smartphone market and has been very successful. I suspect they will drive hard for enterprises. They need to deliver high quality business services that include methods to utilize a single mobile device for both business and personal use that clearly protects personal data from corporate (big brother) interference. Corporate use would be tracked and applications seamless. Some combination of these types of services and capabilities could be very strong as a BlackBerry replacement. Time will tell as they evolve in the business enterprise segment.

What, if any, wearable tech products do you use?  How do they make you more productive?

At this time, I am not a wearable tech product user. I don’t wear a watch anymore since I carry my mobile in my pocket. On International trips, I use a simple watch with visible date. I am considering a FitBit to integrate with my mobile fitness application, but have not pulled the trigger on that purchase.

Will wearable tech become a major enterprise technology?  What will drive or hinder adoption?

I don’t see the killer application – yet. There must be an application that makes sense, provides value, ROI for businesses and is non-intrusive and easy to use.

WebRTC went through a very significant hype cycle.  Will its use cases and adoption live up to that hype?

Yes. I see these applications evolving, and believe strongly that WebRTC will be a basic must-use technology in the future of UC. Attendees of ITEXPO may learn about some of these emerging applications.

What technology has had the greatest impact on your ability to perform your job in the past year?  Explain.

For me, it’s simple – the speed of my smartphone has increased. Both the device processor itself and the networks it interfaces with (whether broadband LAN or LTE services) are faster than ever before. I don’t use an office phone, even though we are a hosted VoIP/UC user. Instead, I use my mobile for everything and it works great.

What innovations do you expect to see in the business communications world in the next year?

I divide the business communications world into market segments: phone systems, UC and infrastructure. I see phone systems delivering easier to use systems. UC is changing thanks to Skype for Business and Microsoft’s now strong entry into the marketplace. Infrastructure, where Fiber Mountain is positioned, is experiencing a shift to different and more efficient architectures which will better support emerging applications such as rich UC, HD streaming, UHD video, and IoT functionality.

What are you looking forward to at ITEXPO Anaheim?

I have been involved with ITEXPO for many years and enjoy working with and seeing the TMC team of people. The event draws a unique group of visitors that includes everyone from resellers, to end users of enterprise networks, to service providers. The crowd is business oriented and looking for new ways to solve old problems as well as emerging challenges from the new drivers of change as discussed in #13 above.  I also have lots of friends who attend ITEXPO and I enjoy renewing my acquaintances.

Why should attendees come to your session/visit your booth?

Our founder and CEO, M.H. Raza, is participating in a panel on Monday, October 5th 3:00-3:45 PM: “Effective Delivery of Next-Generation Services and Apps with SDN and NFV”. His panelist counterparts include Teridion founder and CEO Elad Rave and ADTRAN Director Scott Steward.

Fiber Mountain is located in Booth #707 where we will demonstrate our layer 1 SDN switching solution, Optical Path Exchange (OPX), now available in both network and stand-alone configurations. We welcome attendees to stop by and see our demo and us. We’d love to share our vision and discuss with booth visitors how the network and data centers are changing.

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

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