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Telstra-backed cloud call centre provider IPscape going global

Sydney-based IPscape, a provider of cloud-based call centre services, has set its sights on becoming a global player backed by Telstra which took a 31.3 percent stake in the company in June.

IPscape founder and CEO, Simon Burke, told journalists at a press briefing this week that the company already had users in 20 countries.

"We are on a mission and that is not just about being a leader in Australia, it is global...Our three year plan has us expanding significantly into Asia and Europe...We have offices in Australia and the UK and we will have our Singapore office established by the end of the month...

"Over the next couple of months there will be more about the sort of clients we are signing up. Telstra Global [which is selling IPscape services into Asia] will sign their first deal before Christmas."

Telstra Global - the international business arm of Telstra - announced in July its "global virtual contact centre (VCC) solution powered by IPscape," and revealed that Telstra's recently established venture capital subsidiary, Telstra Applications and Ventures Group (AVG) and taken a minority stake in the company.

Neither the shareholding nor the investment were revealed at the time. However Telstra's annual report shows it to be 31.3 percent. The value of the investment was not disclosed but Telstra said that AVG had invested a total of $10m in IPscape, restaurant reservation service Dimmi (23.4 percent) and digital signage software company Mandoe (25 percent).

Burke said that Telstra's involvement would be key to the company's expansion plans. "For a business [like IPscape] that has gone from startup to a leadership position where the brand is relatively unknown, having the credibility of someone like Telstra being a shareholder and them having someone on our board, and with all the due diligence Telstra has gone through in evaluating us and looking at our technology, it is a significant uplift for us in all sorts of ways."

Telstra Global's main focus is into Asia. "They would like us to go into the US but I'm not sure we are ready for that yet, and I'm not sure Telstra is either," Burke said.


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IPscape's plan is to go to market through carriers and in Europe it partners with BT, whose main focus to date has been the UK market.

"In January we will be going into Ireland with BT and we are formalising the alliance with BT for other countries," Burke said. He added that the company was not presently looking for other carrier partners.

According to Burke the key advantages of the IPscape product over conventional premises based call centre systems are its flexibility, pay for usage charging model and the control and reporting functionality it gives call centre managers.

"As companies grapple with what to do about customer service, cloud reshapes the whole commercial model. There is no upfront cost. You are paying for what you use. And with cloud, companies have real time insight into the customer interaction world...It gives the people running the contact centre the ability to be in charge of the technology they have the ability to adapt the technology to their needs.

Burke was dismissive of attempts by the major vendors of premises-based call centre systems to migrate their offerings into the cloud.

"They are trying to rebrand themselves as cloud but all that means is that the servers that used to sit in the premises are being moved to a data centre. That is a fake cloud. They cannot provide the same lever of agility. A true cloud technology is designed to be browser based."

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