Big Interview

Equipping carriers to add value to their services

“Our products and solutions are designed to combine multiple features and offer limitless scability to current and future growth requirements,” says Bankim Brahmbhatt, president and CEO of Bankai Group

Q. Can you give us a brief about your organisation and its recent activities?

Bankai Group is a globally recognised leader in Information & Communications Technology (ICT) and services sector, with interests in wholesale & retail voice and telecom technology for past 29 years. The Group has been instrumental in offering ultimate carrier solutions worldwide with exceptional competence in IP interconnects for high quality international voice termination. Bankai Group carries international voice & SMS traffic worldwide and streamlines the businesses of cellphone operators, retail voice operators, and calling card companies through our sound industry knowledge & competitive pricing. 

Driven by state-of-the-art innovation and keen business acumen, Bankai Group offers direct interconnects in more than 230 destinations across the globe with 2,200+ carriers and 102+ Tier 1 operator network. Headquartered in New York, USA Bankai Group has established a local presence across five continents allowing the company to scale the lengths and breadths of both existing & emerging markets. 

Our robust experience of more than two decades and high-quality voice termination capability has helped us gain many awards and accolades from renowned organisations like Deloitte, APAC Insider, GCCM, European Digital Mindset Awards & more. 

We recently launched an online platform called BridgeVoice Pluto which facilitates trading and settlement of wholesale interconnect voice. This will allow carriers to access a range of alternative network providers and carriers to meet the capacity demand with quality assurance. The vendors are also offered quick-pay services and a settlement option, based on their product offering. BridgeVoice Pluto’s automated Carrier Platform allows wholesale VoIP service providers and carriers to do business from anywhere in the world with Global Operators. The service also provides greater flexibility and control over co-existing bilateral and hub-based SMS-termination. 

BridgeVoice Pluto also offers similar white label services to the partners globally. This helps in carrying out business digitally and ensures that revenues are multiplied by monetising their untapped customers and upcoming opportunities. The white label service serves as a first class solution for go-to-market strategists who are looking for a product to achieve minimal capex and reduced opex that ensures revenue growth.

Q. What have been Bankai’s highlights and developments over the past year?

Bankai Group was founded in 1989 as a manufacturer of telephone units in India. It was during this phase that the transformation of rotary dial telephone to push button telephone was taking place. Bankai continued with manufacturing of exchanges until 1998. In 1998, we diversified to develop telecom technologies for carriers and developed a biling software under the brand name of Panamax. We then further diversified into the carrier business while continuing our technology business with carriers in the United States. We started our carrier business in 2001 and are now connected with carriers and operators across the world while running 16 billion minutes through our 2 subsidiaries - BridgeVoice Inc. & Broadband Telecom. Broadband Telecom now swap deals and reciprocal deals with operators and carriers while BridgeVoice is an online carrier portal, automating entire carrier business through our strength of technology and voice relationships. We have a talent pool of more than 400 professionals and $440 million revenue in voice business. 

Our prime focus has always been to make our technology agile. Rather than just selling and pushing our technology in the market, we used them for our own business initially. Today, our technologies are market-proven and we have 100+ happy customers with us. We are also coming up with several projects where we will act as a service provider, backed by our own technologies. 

We have had several proud moments when our competence has been acknowledged by the biggest brands in the domain. Bankai Group was recently recognised by Deloitte as one of the fastest growing technology companies in North America. Our automated carrier portal BridgeVoice Pluto also received the award for the Best Voice Service Innovation at the 4th annual GCCM Berlin Awards 2017. These recognitions further prove our mettle commitment towards excellence. 

Q. What are the major trends in the wholesale market and how is Bankai planning to capitalise on those?

A sizeable part of the industry believes that the wholesale business is going through a tough phase with conventional methodology taking a backseat. However, in my opinion this is a phase of overhaul. Major changes are in line and we are currently witnessing trends which are novel even to the industry veterans. With VoIP services becoming mainstream, more and more calls are happening over the internet. This gives hope to the small carriers to make the most of it, they must keep innovating with their services and technology. The trend is also boosting several regional carriers to venture ahead and Bankai Group would like to invite those carriers in order to add value to their services by equipping them with right technology. This trend looks to further grow with more retailers adding to compete with operators. I firmly believe that the carriers will have the upper hand in this scenario if they forego the traditional ways of doing business and continue innovating while adopting new technology and devising new ways to add more and more subscribers.   

Q. Describe the Bankai product line and how does this curtail to the requirements of the market?

The current market trend demands products that are commercially sustainable, interoperable, generates new revenue streams with existing infrastructure and offer hassle-free ecosystem integration. 

Bankai Group offers products in both Voice and Technology ranges. The product line includes market leading technologies across Business Support System (BSS), Network Switching Subsystem (NSS), Mobile Financial Solutions (MFS) and managed services domains empowering telcos, mobile money service providers, banks and retailers. 

Apart from these, we also offer comprehensive portfolio of solutions to help deliver high-quality voice services that drive increased satisfaction for the customers. We leverage our network and extensive experience in the telecommunications industry to deliver high-quality service to our customers. CallnRoam, Broadband Telecom and BridgeVoice are some of our top products. 

Our products and services remain in line with the market trends through product innovation and commercially viable business models supporting long gestation periods. They are scaled to offer effective fraud management, revenue assurance and help in saving huge capex and opex by improving operational efficiency. Bankai Group incorporates advanced research and technical expertise in practise to accomplish business intelligence, business analytics, customer experience analysis and management, database and emerging network analytics solutions. 

Q. How do you envisage the way ahead for Bankai and BridgeVoice? 

We have been executing the launch of BridgeVoice Pluto in phases. Phase one was launched in 2016 and we have already connected 100 carriers with us. Currently BridgeVoice Pluto platform has a 15 operator capacity, which we aim to increase to a 100 operator capacity by the end of 2017. In phase two, we plan to add SMS and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) features to BridgeVoice Pluto. Our aim is to make the platform a full-fledged ‘Wholesale Carrier Platform’ which can be offered as a service directly. We expect that the connected small carriers and operators will not have any expenditure on technology when operating on BridgeVoice Pluto and can instead derive benefits out of the platform directly. Additionally, we are also trying to join hands with financial institutions so that the money is transferred to the operators immediately after the call or SMS is terminated. This is particularly useful for smaller carriers as they cannot always have access to the operators directly while the mid-size carriers make the most of this situation. Currently, the smaller carriers are required to make immediate payment whereas the mid-size carriers take the luxury of making late payments to the operators. We are trying to reduce this gap so that any carrier does not face financial crunch while running business.

BridgeVoice Pluto specialises in interconnection process with the ability to go live in just 10 minutes. The customer on-boarding to the platform is an automated process with an intelligent KYC and account management which ensures not much time is lost in induction and we are able to talk business in shorter time. Customer satisfaction has been our primary goal in any product that we launch and through BridgeVoice Pluto we have made sure our customers receive 24x7 platform support in multiple languages so the user is never left out in whatever time-zone they may be in.

Our aim is to bring constant innovation in technology so that we can present ourselves in the best of our capability to our customers and they in turn can offer even better services to their clients. The biggest challenge for the modern telcos is a holistic evolution while battling shrinking margins. We innovate with our technology keeping this constraint in mind, so the telcos, operators and enterprise are able to fetch maximum from their single investment in technology. Our products and solutions are designed to combine multiple features and offer limitless scalability to meet current and future growth requirements. While innovating and monetising technology for telecom networks, we take into account important aspects like security and user convenience. Our products are easy to deploy and operate with dexterity across industries while meeting the country and industry standards.