ITEXPO Keynote: Dialpad CEO Says Architecture Matters

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We read, write and talk about the cloud every day. Part of the industry vernacular, this much-hyped, highly regarded technology has come a long way in its brief history. And, in ITEXPO’s first Keynote of show, delivered by DialPad Founder & CEO Craig Walker, attendees were given the opportunity to take a walk down memory lane, illustrating exactly how far technology has come.

1999 was a different world. Per Walker, the technology was terrible, there were no protocols, but there was international calling and a PoC for VoIP technology.  Explaining that while starting DialPad1, the cost hurdles were substantially higher than today. It was Sun servers, H.223 and a penny a minute.

When launching GrandCentral in 2006, by this time H.223 was replaced by SIP. A competitive market was forming with solutions like Skype readily available. The savings added up along the development, hosting and management phases. But this time, “it wasn’t about price. It was about making it better,” noted Walker. That product became Google Voice. Ring a bell?

In 2010, Uber conference and DialPad were next up on Walker’s journey. Recognizing that the consumer side of communications was evolving and companies were meeting the demand, the business side was lacking the same level of tools. As Walker put it, “Work would be like getting into a time machine.

Today, the financial investment in developing a communications solution is nil. There’s WebRTC, building blocks, developer sandbox, all for next to or nothing. 

Posing the question, “Do you know what your business will looks like in ten years?” Walker set up a strong point, listing companies like wework, UBER and Stripe – All companies with multi-billion dollar valuation that were not in existence 10 years ago (and, not coincidentally, all also DialPad customers).  So much has changed.

It took 75 years for landlines to reach 50 million users. Wow, right? Well, it only took the iPhone 2.5 to accomplish the same feat. Today, apple sells that many iPhones every three months. Before the iPhone, Walker explained, business communications weren’t developed for mobility or the modern worker. It was traditional telecom, focused on fixed lines. After the iPhone, focus turned to applications, personal productivity and the like.

Between 2006-2011 cloud services came about, and that’s when the move from monolithic to microservices took place.

Architecture matters. The 1st generation of PBX/phone was wires on top of wires, on top of more wires; With Walker viewing every desk phone as an opportunity to move to the cloud. The 2nd generation took the phone system off-prem, throw it in a data center, and provide people with the first true cloud PBX, mimicking the feature sets of Cisco and Avaya.

Then we arrive at the 3rd generations, driving the cloud era with microservices, AWS, Google Cloud, etc. Walker explained, that while with Google, “We kicked all of the logic into the Google cloud…you get this worldwide, instantly available, always redundant, always secure,” environment. At this point, “the cloud is always there, always thinking,” just leaving the border controller and softswitch in the rack.

“Why does it matter?” Walker asked, “It matters because the future is unknown.” In close, busting out his crystal ball, walker proclaimed that one day “every single IP endpoint will be an endpoint for communications.” Only time will tell, but I’m with him.




Edited by Erik Linask
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