Looking back at 2017…

I haven’t put out a blog post for some time; with the year-end looming, I thought it would be a good idea to put out a quick update.

Very loosely, 2017 turned out to be “Year of the PIN”. This might surprise you as much as it surprised me. As 2017 started to unfold, it became apparent that something we’d considered in the abstract during the design and development of the Acano Manager 2 platform had become a reality. With a twist. Our focus in legacy versions of VQ had been around call management: how could we allow operators and the service delivery teams schedule, launch and manage calls? In volume and make it fast.

We knew from previous product generations that predictability of call experience was key; calls had to work well and work consistently. If that happened, users came to like the in-call experience (great audio and video) and trusted they could use it for business calls. Calls worked. Every time. Usage normally grew relentlessly.

We therefore went to a lot of effort to design predictability of the in-call experience into Acano Manager 2.

The twist was the customers wanted to use not only different types of calls and exploit the ability to have multiple roles per call, they also needed some roles to have PINs and others to not have PINs. That would have been OK but there was a subtle change in how CMS 2.1 handled PINs. The year started with PINs (or, to be more correct, PassCodes).

With flexible PINs in place, we started to see wide adoption of Acano Manager’s coSpace Templates and the ability to define Service Tiers; different groups of users being able to make different types of calls.

Customers started switching audio conferencing workloads from external providers to on-premises CMS/AM. That does interesting things to the ROI models!

By mid-year, new large enterprise systems were being commissioned and going into production. coSpace Templates (and those pesky PINs) played a bit part in enabling them. We’ve learned the hard way about many of the obscure ways things can go wrong creating coSpaces and all the associated objects. In addition to a steady string of refinements into Acano Manager itself, we’ve also created some very useful tools to identify and fix coSpaces issues which will eventually find themselves in the product allowing the system to self-heal.

The “Year of the PIN” label should probably be more accurately defined as “Provisioning year” but it just doesn’t sound as good. It doesn’t stop there, other really good areas of progress include reliability/robustness, performance and new functionality. And plenty of bug fixes. We’re really pleased how the 2.x platform has matured since it was launched in April 2016.

The remarkable thing about the year is where we are at the end of it. We now have over 100 instances of Acano Manager 2.x installed globally. In November, one of the biggest systems managed by AM 2.3 went through the significant milestone of over 1 million calls (call legs) in one month; the system’s November call volume was over 33 million minutes. If we annualize the call volumes for systems we have visibility on, Acano Manager managed CMS systems are delivering approximately 1 billion call minutes/year. This is just amazing and we’re incredibly proud to be part of the global team (customers, resellers, Cisco and VQ) enabling this volume of calls.

If you have call volume data you could share with me, please let me know and we’d really appreciate it. We will not reveal customer names; the data will be aggregated and will remain anonymous.

Behind the scenes, we’ve invested heavily in how the product evolves and we’re really excited about how that is looking; expect more on that next year.

Oh, and one last thing…..

We’re hiring. If you or somebody you know is looking for a new challenge….we’ll be adding open positions onto the web site. The team say they really like working at VQ; some have even said it’s the best job they ever had.

Enjoy the rest of 2017 and have a great 2018.

Mike