Metaswitch launches mobile business communication platform MaX

Metaswitch has launched a new product offering called MaX by Metaswitch, which enables mobile network operators (MNOs) to deliver multi-persona and group collaboration services to businesses and consumers.

Metaswitch, the the cloud native communications software provider, is a 35 old company, said Shubh Agarwal, VP of Strategic Marketing at Metaswitch, exclusively to Capacity. “We provide cloud native software to the likes of AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone and Orange we basically sell software to them so that they can offer services to their customers”

As an offering MaX (which stands for mobile experience) builds on carrier-grade network voice, reach and reliability, in addition it delivers multi-persona call capabilities through the mobile native dialler, which is powered by network-based intelligence capabilities that simplify the handling of multiple business and personal identities.

“It’s exciting to see true innovation in mobile services that are designed specifically to benefit mobile network operators and our customers. Our trial is confirming that MaX is delivering some uniquely compelling capabilities that fundamentally expand an operator’s value proposition.” said Rico Chemnitz, CTO at Hutchison Three Austria, senior head of infrastructure services & NW virtualization.

MaX is in trials with a number of mobile operators specifically in Asia, Europe and North America Three Austria being one of them, according to Agarwal, and it can be deployed in three versions:

The first is MaX Business which allows the employees of micro and small businesses with different mobile devices to interact with customers using one common business number and to instantly collaborate internally via business information feeds and channels.

MaX Family allows families to create a familiar “fixed line” experience across any number of different mobile devices, complete with private message and collaboration feeds and the ability to create disposable numbers and temporary identities. 

And lastly there’s MaX Prosumer which allows individuals who are using multiple phones or SIM cards to be served by MNO’s using a multi-persona solution across one or more personal devices.

“we really believe that because of OTT attacking the communications space and the massive digitisation that the enterprise space is going to go through, especially in the 5G space, has really forced operators to say  I have network capabilities, how do I leverage this to create value?,” continued Agarwal.

“Mobile network operators are looking for new and innovative solutions that meet the growing needs of the cord-cutting family, multiple-mobile carrying individuals and small businesses. Likewise, they are looking for service innovations that deliver returns on their IMS and VoLTE investments. MaX by Metaswitch has our inner-nerds overly-excited – what’s not to like about virtualizing personas on the native-dialer with AI-enabled management across personal and business identities? Combine these with group communications and collaboration, and you not only have a next-gen consumer and business experience, but more importantly, you also have a carrier service positioned for toe-to-toe competition against the growing raft of over-the-top (OTT) services knocking at every user’s front door, ” explained Bill Haskins, UC analyst at Wainhouse Research.

Metaswitch identified a number of drivers for the adoption of a solution such as MaX. In a recent survey conducted by them Metaswitch found that 56% of business users using mobile as their primary device are seeking a solution powered by MaX, while 63% prefer to buy such a service from their mobile operator. Of that 63%, 71% indicated willingness to buy such services over freemium, OTT offerings (Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp etc).

“We feel that there is a fundamental need for a new set of business services for people who are exclusively on mobile. And by targeting this new market we believe there is untapped revenues that operators can maximise on. The biggest driver is that these businesses have ditched the desktop phone, 60% of people we surveyed want to use their mobile phones to do business. All in all, the market is really underserved.” added Agarwal.

“We developed MaX by Metaswitch from the ground up for mobile network operators, recognizing the pain points of millions of users worldwide who are simply seeking a better mobile experience,” said Ian Maclean, CMO at Metaswitch. “Until now, these users have been forced to rely on over-the-top applications, none of which provide the functionality that MaX offers and all of which bypass the mobile operator’s core voice network. Mobile operators now can provide compelling new alternatives to OTT applications with a platform that serves ongoing innovation and revenue generation.”

When questioned on whether or not the popularity and predicted widespread deployment of Rich Communication Services (RCS) has affected MaX as a service offering Agarwal replied: “RCS is a consumer niche, messaging app, its value proposition is that it’s going to be universal and anyone in the world can use it assuming it’s launched in the right manner. MaX is for the business user, we’re deliver MaX at the consumer. The consumer or end user of the business, is still on voice and messaging.”

But he adds that Metaswitch are more than willing to support it, but its priority is to connect businesses with its customers. “

Where it does come into play is when the end user has RCS, we absolutely will support RCS in the way in which customers wish to have it, explained Agarwal. “MaX is the backend for businesses to be able to communicate with customers, I don’t care where those customers are. We’re also looking into Facebook Chat and LimeChat, our goal is to help businesses reach its customers I don’t care where those customers are, I what us to support all the channels.”

Another hot button topic we spoke about was 5G and despite it being hailed as major disrupter in the mobile industry, Agarwal said it won’t affect Metaswitch’s MaX.

“There’s no impact on the voice call in 5G, IMS is still the methodology for delivering voice services. IMS is the technology for 4G and 5G so that will have no impact on the voice services here. As for SMS it’s already defined in its relation to IMS, which is RCS again so really the whole real time communication core has been left untouched in 5G.”

And for security, Agarwal believes it’s safer than its alternatives because of its ability to protect the privacy of its business users.

 “It’s all about privacy, said Agarwal. “Let’s say you have a personal number, what we’re doing is adding a multi-persona on top of your native dialler. So you can have 5 numbers on top of your native dialler and you can share those numbers to protect your privacy. And that is one of the basic elements of privacy and security we enable because you’re no longer obliged to give away your private personal number.”

He adds that Metaswitch has created an internal collaboration feed for businesses to share information internally.

“Today what’s happening is companies are using the likes of Whatsapp and when employee are no longer part of the company still having access to all the company information. MaX is one of our key differentiators and compliments the Unified Communications (UC) space we’re currently in, concluded Agarwal.