The Future of Cloud Telephony and Networking: Going with the Flow

By Arti Loftus, Special Correspondent  |  February 21, 2020

As one of the most interesting and successful challengers to traditional telecom companies including AT&T (News - Alert), Verizon and CenturyLink in the US, and similar “carriers” globally, Flowroute, now a part of Intrado (formerly known as West Corporation) years ago chose the path less taken by going head-to-head with established brands to attract large enterprise contracts with industry leaders and government organizations.

Theirs has been a David vs. Goliath story, and today they continue to erode significant chunks of what used to be “predictable” revenues among the incumbents, by connecting with buyers in IT network and communications operations, and going beyond “voice” with their SIP trunking capabilities, delivered over their global network, further up the stack to include Unified Communications, Unified Collaboration and various flavours of Communications As a Service (CaaS), and Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS).

Even as these industry definitions and distinctions change and often blur, Flowroute seems to have operated with clarity and courage, so much so that the original business, established in 2007, was acquired by Intrado in 2018.

As is typical with “the disrupters,” the team at Flowroute made progress each year, determined to succeed as the world’s first software-centric carrier, with what they call their “secret sauce” – their patented HyperNetwork™, which meshes multiple networks into a single telecom network giving users superior reliability, reach, simplicity and as a the first in the industry, inbound redundancy in the event of network interruptions or media degradation.

Based in Seattle, Washington, their services include SIP trunking, cloud-based local and international DIDs and toll-free numbers, outbound termination, and network services such as E911, CNAM Lookup, CNAM Storage and local number portability. Flowroute was the first SIP provider to qualify as a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) across the United States and through the acquisition by Intrado now also operates its own telecom network.

In 2013, they were a fast adopter of WebRTC, and created SIP trunking services used to enable interoperability between WebRTC endpoints and the PSTN during the launch of their FreeSWITCH's beta WebRTC module, which extended PBX (News - Alert) services to WebRTC portals on FreeSWITCH-based telephony platforms for the first time, according to the company.

That same year, they were listed on Inc. magazine's annual list of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States, noted for an astounding 411 percent revenue growth over the prior three years. They also placed in position 70 on Deloitte (News - Alert)'s 2013 Technology Fast 500 list, which includes both public and private companies.

Today, Flowroute provides customizable voice and messaging services for Cloud PBX providers, such as inbound and outbound calling, local and toll-free and vanity numbers in the US and Canada, among others.  Flowroute also has a Developer portal that is accessible from their website  for obtaining resources like technical documentation, sample source code and reference guides to create new applications.

We caught up with Sascha Mehlhase, senior director of product management for West Telecom Services and Flowroute, now part of Intrado, to learn more about the company’s plans for 2020 and vision for how businesses are integrating real-time cloud communications services to transform communications strategies and improve customer experience.

Mehlhase also spoke to industry trends impacting cloud adoption (the global remote workforce, collaboration tools, and so forth) as well as Flowroute’s expansive offering of international numbers reaching more than 160 countries.

What was your theme for this year’s ITEXPO?

With the show’s theme on cloud-based digital transformation, Intrado’s focus is raising awareness around the value of providing comprehensive enterprise communications services on an international scale. As the telecommunications industry continues to move away from legacy formats and embraces the cloud, businesses can manage and scale the way they interact with their customers around the world. Flowroute, now part of Intrado, is helping these decision makers rely on software, rather than hardware, and empowering these groups to manage and customize their communication offerings through a cost-effective and easy-to-use portal.

What would you like our readers to understand about the company’s newest offering?

Flowroute, now part of Intrado, delivers the most comprehensive availability of international direct inward dialling (DID) numbers, including cloud-based, local and toll-free inbound numbers, in over 160 countries around the world. Currently, no other carrier offers this extensive library of available international inbound and toll-free numbers.

Global enterprises, call centers, developers, communication service providers (CSPs) - including CPaaS providers, can benefit from this offering. The ability to easily connect and collaborate with colleagues, partners and customers on an international level is imperative to ensure customer satisfaction but is also becoming a necessity as the global remote workforce grows.

Clients with an international presence can leverage the Flowroute suite of cloud-based toll-free and local numbers to quickly and easily provision telephone numbers. These customers also have access to the benefits of the cloud including scalability on-demand, as well as the dynamic capacity of Intrado’s Flowroute HyperNetworkTM. These features allow clients to easily accommodate an increased volume of calls with no impact to the quality of service.

Intrado also announced in November 2019 the release of its new Enhanced 911 (E911) solution for Microsoft (News - Alert) Teams, which enables organizations to meet 911 federal and state regulations while minimizing liability risks. The solution also allows enterprises to automatically locate phones and provide granular location information with a 911 call.

Earlier in 2019 Intrado expanded its portfolio of UCaaS solutions with VoiceMaxx Cloud Calling, a Cisco-hosted solution with enterprise-grade calling features, designed for small to midsized organizations. With robust capabilities, VoiceMaxx Cloud calling provides instant access to data, tools and people – enabling anytime, anywhere collaboration.

What customer challenges do those offerings address and how?

Flowroute offers all-encompassing domestic services on an international scale and eliminates common pain points associated with international growth. Some of these common pain points include expansion costs and regulatory compliance; as well as slow implementation, security breaches and paying for unnecessary services or bandwidth.

Flowroute can provide global expansion at an affordable price with hassle-free implementation within minutes. Its dedicated porting team and top-rated customer service group in an Eastern Management (News - Alert) Group 2019 SIP Trunking report, helps ensure customers can reach new markets at an affordable rate and without seeing delays or degraded service quality.  Flowroute also complies with international privacy laws like GDPR and utilizes AI-enabled fraud prevention that monitors for irregular activity and notifies IT teams of any suspicious action.

Additionally, Flowroute ensures customers are not paying for services they don’t use. Rather than offering a fixed cost per model, Flowroute optimizes solutions based on individual needs; and doesn’t penalize customers for a spike in usage. If a spike were to occur, the customer service team can accommodate new patterns without prior commitments from the customer.

Is there one thing that you would like our readers to come away with?

Intrado’s Flowroute, Public Safety and Enterprise Collaboration offerings  are empowering organizations to achieve enterprise transformation by providing solutions that meet all communication and regulatory needs, on a domestic and international scale.

With nearly 84 percent of companies failing at their digital transformation efforts, decision makers need guidance to make more informed choices that will ensure their transformation strategies succeed. Customers are increasingly demanding greater flexibility and seamless ease of use. As a result, enterprises are relying on innovative tech advances to stay nimble and are changing their internal and external communication capabilities to better meet customer demands and improve experiences.

This change in customer engagement is driving significant telecom metamorphosis. Forward-thinking CSPs are integrating solutions that will improve their telecom offerings and ultimately, their customers’ experiences. In addition, enterprises are looking for CSPs that can offer cloud-based communication tools such as telecom APIs or that can migrate contact centers to the cloud.

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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