27 May 2020
Following the latest partnership between 8x8 and Virgin Media Business, we interviewed Keith Jackson, Channel Sales Director at 8x8 and Andrew Halliwell, Product Director at Virgin Media Business, to get their thoughts on all things cloud, 5G and the partnership.
Fantastic news on the partnership – what are you most looking forward to?
Keith: Yes, we are thrilled to be joining forces with one of UK’s largest business data network and business communication solution providers. For me, our partnership means we’re laser-focused on our shared values around customer centricity and reimagining business communications in the digital age. Combining Virgin Media Business’s pedigree connectivity solutions with 8x8’s world-class integrated cloud communications platform – I truly believe we’re set up for success.
Andrew: We’re excited to be able to expand our Voice and Unified Comms portfolio to give our Public Sector, Enterprise and SME customers greater choice and access to even more market-leading products. This new partnership means we’re able to offer a host of new cloud-based and fully-integrated communications tools covering voice, video, chat and contact centre solutions, something we’re seeing growing demand for.
What role does it play in supporting businesses in the face of the crisis we are dealing with today?
Keith: Our partnership will enable even more organisations, nationwide, to keep their business operations running, while ensuring the safety and wellbeing of their workforce. While COVID-19 will subside, it is highly likely there will be a more sustained shift to remote working for many months to come. In fact, the concept of office workers may never return, with many businesses considering a move towards a fully remote workforce. Our combined solutions will now offer a robust future-proof communications platform, powered by the cloud, helping a far wider set of businesses and public sector organisations across the UK than ever before.
Andrew: Right now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, enterprises and public sector organisations are facing unprecedented change and have to respond quickly. Whether that’s scaling up networks to support home working or creating remote contact centres, IT managers are really feeling the need for – and are benefiting from – rapidly scalable and adaptable network solutions that keep staff collaborating and customers connected. The coronavirus pandemic will only accelerate this move to cloud services.
What are your customers looking for from a cloud solution and what advantages will it bring them?
Keith: Our customers are moving to the cloud for a whole host of reasons. Essentially, cloud-based communications reduce operating costs compared to traditional CapEx systems, enable rapid scaling of services to reflect demand and remove physical barriers that traditional on-premises communications systems have always been limited to. For me, the single biggest benefit is the opportunity to embrace innovation, and at speed, given the shorter product life cycles and accelerated development curves.
Andrew: Customers moving to cloud services are looking for more agility, flexibility and scalability, and to reduce capital expenditure, as Keith says. With no on-premise hardware to maintain and support available 24/7, cloud-based software is helping organisation reduce capex while delivering new services faster. Of course, organisations moving to cloud services and applications need to look at their networks at the same time – investing in the right networking technology will help realise these benefits.
What role will 5G play in the communications industry as it becomes more widely available?
Keith: With the promise of transforming communications, the shift from 4G to 5G is going to be bigger than any previous advancement in mobile connectivity. The enhanced connectivity, high speeds and fewer dead zones will enable faster video streaming. And with 5G connecting all our IoT devices, from phones to our smart thermostats to healthcare equipment and even autonomous vehicles, I believe it will fuel future innovation and boost customer demand for new products and services.
Andrew: 5G will evolve alongside fixed networks and create new opportunities for network providers like us. We’re already a leading provider of backhaul services – the fibre optic links that connect mobile phone masts to the mobile operator’s aggregation and core network – but as 5G networks are rolled out more widely, they create enormous challenges and opportunities for network managers. 5G will support an explosion in the number of connected devices - many of which will want to connect into business networks - so putting in place future proof network infrastructure now is vital to making the most of this new technology.