BICS moves full speed ahead with cloud comms

18 July 2019 | Natalie Bannerman

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As the proliferation of the cloud continues to rise, Divya Ghai Wakankar, head of cloud communications at BICS, speaks about the market at large and why she’s such a big promoter of women in STEM.

No stranger to the roaming and mobile side of our industry, BICS is quickly establishing a foothold in the cloud communications space. As a full-scale communications enabler, the company offers such services as Numbersas-a-Service, APIs and SIP trunking, to name a few.

Leading these developments is Divya Ghai Wakankar, head of cloud communications product management at BICS. Speaking to Wakankar on the latest range of cloud offerings from BICS she says that the company’s cloud products are very much geared towards digital service providers.

“We are targeting the digital service providers that are offering an UCaaS (Unified Communications as-a-service) or CaaS (Communications as-a-Service) solution to the market. In this area, I am leading the BICS portfolio, which we call cloud communications,” she explains.

With over 20 years of experience in the wireless and telecommunications sector, Wakankar has a wealth of knowledge on the cloud market and its developments. Speaking to her about the evolution of hybrid cloud, she says that we are just getting started.

“I think we have just initiated hybrid cloud,” she says. “Every organisation or enterprise is going through their digitalisation process and therefore going through their cloud journey now.”

According to Wakankar CTOs all over are reviewing their processes and digitising their components all while bringing down their total cost of ownership and being mindful of capital expenditure. As a result, hybrid cloud is the most effective way to do this while continuing on a path to having “one single approach across the entire organisation”.

Similarly, multi-cloud convergence is reaching a tipping point and the cloud is a major catalyst to how enterprises will do business in an evolving digital economy. 

But what factors determine what the right cloud is? Wakankar says this depends on your use case because not all clouds are created equal.

“I would say that there are 2 or 3 players that will be at the top if not more so because Alibaba is leading the way in certain parts of the world now,” she explains. “Ultimately if they offer the same kind of services, if they are on par with each other, then it be the CTOs strategy to use whichever one they’d like to go for if they have all the components they are looking for. But I think it will take time to converge all services into one cloud seeing as not all the offerings at the same level.”

Working so closely with enterprises Wakankar knows first-hand what the demands are of this unique stakeholder, which she says is simply the right connectivity to the right cloud.

“They are looking for connectivity to the likes of Microsoft, AWS and Google, as well as global connectivity for their Unified Communications services, which is replacing their old infrastructure for their new infrastructure from the cloud.”

Interestingly, Wakankar also sees a great number of synergies between the cloud and other emerging technologies like 5G, IoT and AI.

“You are definitely going to see a lot of collaboration in the future where IoT services and the cloud services will interact with each other,” she says. “There will be a type of solution package that we will come up with on the market because when you look at IoT-based requirements you have the need to consider cloud-based communications capabilities.”

As for AI and 5G, she adds that most cloud-based platforms are being built using AI even for things like call routing, voice recognition, while 5G is all about the data, and although the use cases are still being developed, “I’m sure there will be a lot of synergies between 5G and cloud,” she says.

Within BICS’ own family, Divya is a big promoter of women in STEM, speaking to her about gender parity and encouraging more young women to enter the field, I can hear she has a lot of passion for this subject.

“We don’t see enough female leaders in the industry today,” she says. “When I go to conferences to speak, I don’t see a lot of women speakers but I think it is changing a bit now.”

In her view, this changes when we start engaging with the next-generation of young women and encouraging them to get involved with STEM.

“I also think it happens with a bottom-up approach. We have to promote the management within every company; the CEO has to promote it,” she explains. “Explore what the gender balance is within the management team and make conscious decisions to bring in more female managers and senior leadership.”

The strategy, from Wakankar’s perspective, is focussed on two areas. The development of the BICS API journey, “We have transformed BICS to work in an agile manner, so that API is a key focus point for us,” she says.

As well as its SIP trunking capabilities. “We are enhancing our coverage in different regions to make sure that we are built to cater to our enterprise customers as they move ahead in their selection of a Unified Communications platform and the cloud.

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