April 28, 2014 Issue
The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information
Consolidated Phone and IT Services for Businesses
Equiinet provides business phone (VoIP), internet, connectivity failover, URL filtering, caching, unified threat management, bandwidth optimization and on/offsite backup services to businesses over a broadband connection through a single device. Customers are supported by a 24/7 system monitoring and support providing peace of mind and maximizing performance to make full use of the internet.
was founded in 1998 in the UK
and merged with Ubiquita in the US January 2014 to form the new Equiinet, a
global company, with over 50,000 customers. Their headquarters are located
in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – April 28, 2014
Mr. Martin: It was the vision of cofounder, Dominic Marrocco, to develop a business based on the need to consolidate phone and IT services via a single platform TINA (Telephony Integrated Network Appliance) and provide TINA to businesses as a service. Consolidating many services would minimize the need for business to use multiple vendors and improve the quality of customer experience, thus allowing disruption to the current telecommunications business models. My background in running companies convinced me this was a good idea since I had faced the issues that our company could resolve relating to quality of service. The current vision has evolved but Dom had acquired a great deal of the technology when he recruited me.
CEOCFO: What is the basic problem that Equiinet can fix?
Mr. Martin: Equiinet provides business phone (VoIP) services, unified threat management, on and offsite backup, connectivity failover, caching as well as carrier (or broadband) services to small and medium sized businesses. What we do is consolidate these services into a single hybrid solution that is a combination of cloud and onsite applications at the EDGE. We deliver it as a service, considerably more efficiently, and with little or no CapX for equipment, thus eliminating the need for a large cash outlay, which is the traditional business model. The service includes monitoring and reduces the maintenance by the business owner since we actually own and manage the equipment offsite rather than the business owner purchasing equipment and finding someone to manage it.
CEOCFO: In an era where many are claiming there is no need for equipment and everything will be in the cloud why are you taking the hybrid approach and how do you know it is right?
Mr. Martin: When it comes to network infrastructure, while I agree ultimately that the most efficient way to provide computer capacity is in the cloud and provide transmission to those computing centers the same way we generate power today and transmit from power plants, I do not believe that the current network is robust enough to facilitate the demand. Today a very limited number of facilities and homes in the country are connected with fiber or high speed broadband. The cost required is tremendous and it will take a considerable amount of time for that to take place. Given that fact, an on-premise device that provides quality of service, which prioritizes the data delivered both to and off a customer’s location can deliver a higher quality of service vs. traditional hosted solutions alone. The current network just cannot support 100% cloud base computing in the near term. My philosophy is, by the time we can support 100% cloud in terms of network, meaning that we have fiber connected in every single facility, the data consumption will be so high we will probably still need some sort of on premise device providing quality of service or localized computing that will make more efficient use of the cloud, allowing the cloud to be delivered more effectively to the customer.
CEOCFO: At what point might a typical company look to Equiinet?
Mr. Martin: There are times, no doubt, in a company’s lifecycle when they are most efficient in terms of being able to sign up customers. If a new company is starting up or moving and must purchase either a PBX, backup services, a unified threat management device or any of those other gateway device they may need to run their business, it makes sense to choose Equiinet services. We are not only able to provide them a broadband connection, but we can also provide them our solution, which includes the functionality of all these devices. We have found that by including telephone service as part of our offering, anytime a customer needs to make a change or wants to make a change in their phone service as well as taking into consideration the quality of service issues that exists in hosted VoIP, then that time is ideal as well because it bolsters one of the services that we do provide, quality of service, a service that every customer understands.
Do people question the fact that you can do so much with one box?
CEOCFO: How do you reach potential clients and are there specific types of companies of focus?
Mr. Martin: We found that the best way to reach potential customers is through sales channel partnerships with telecommunications, managed service providers and other business service providers. While we consider voice a relatively small portion of the total services we provide, the advantage is the customer understands the pay model for voice services which allows us to bundle the other services into the same pay model. We have been very successful because we offer something that is considerably different than commoditized data, dial tones and hosted VOIP providers who offer almost all the same services. In terms of verticals, we have great success with restaurant and retail establishments because of the breadth of services we offer over an existing internet connection with automated connectivity failover. This is very important for them as they cannot afford to lose credit card processing capabilities. Other services we provide, such as call recording, makes us very attractive within professional verticals such as law and financial service firms. Medical and data critical industries find our unified management and customization of great value, for both securing the network as well as providing a better customer experience. We can actually assist a network to become PCI or HIPAA compliant. All businesses need what we do; it is a matter of which services may be most needed.
CEOCFO: Would you tell us about Ubiquita and the merging into Equiinet?
Mr. Martin: The original technology was a platform that was built by Equiinet. Ubiquita was formed to take advantage of that technology and layer in additional services in the global market outside of the UK. Originally the plan was to keep Equiinet potentially as an OEM or an equipment sales model, as opposed to service model, and then use Ubiquita as the service business. It became clear, especially in Western Europe, that the Equiinet brand was so strong that we could leverage that name along with the covenant strength of tens of thousands of UK deployments over a ten-year period in the US market. In essence, even though there was already similar ownership structure, we merged the two companies taking a single name. The merger has not changed anything operationally for either organization, other than centralizing the international headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada. As far as the way the businesses operate, it has allowed us some synergies in terms of customer services and development, since the same owners owned both firms.
CEOCFO: What is next for Equiinet?
The merger of Ubiquita and Equiinet to create the new Equiinet in January
2014 provided us a global footprint. We recently opened offices in Arizona,
Southern California and the Midwest. The international headquarters is Las
Vegas, Nevada and we also have offices in the UK. We now have some customers
in smaller markets on the east coast just because we have had customers here
that have taken us into their other locations back east. The UK market is
doing well because federal funding in the school system has opened back up
after sequestration, which took place several years ago. We also have
several international opportunities to provide solutions to existing service
providers. The technology and the way we deploy our platform is the future
for the industry. For example, today the typical Internet Service Provider
most likely has a video, telephone and has data or internet service. In ten
years those data services will be commoditized and the telephone services
will be provided by companies like us or hosted providers via VoIP. The
video product will be subscription based directly to the end user through
companies like Netflix, Hulu and Apple TV. ESPN will deliver content
directly to an end user on a subscription basis within ten years and you can
see the convergence of those two industries by what is happening with
Comcast and NBC; ultimately they want to control the content. We believe,
next for us, is providing a solution or platform that allows us to not only
deliver a significant number of services to our existing customer base, but
potentially providing a solution to the IP industry that allows them to
dramatically increase the revenue generated from their existing customer
base while more efficiently running the network as they can control the way
the data is deployed on their network. The Equiinet platform allows them to
be considerably stickier with their existing customer base and reduce the
threat of commoditization of their internet access product. If they don’t
make changes to their current business model, in ten years, it may be the
only product they will have for sale. We believe our current service
business model will continue to grow into a potential opportunity to be an
industry solution provider.
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