Achieving Modern Communications Mobility: Horizon’s Craig Drinkhall Explores Voice Connect
Horizon recently unveiled its latest tool for the evolving digital enterprise — Voice Connect. Driven by a rapidly changing business landscape, the launch of Voice Connect delivers a suite of cloud-based voice services that equip organizations with the communications and collaboration capabilities they need to empower distributed workforces.
To help explore the advantages of Voice Connect and how they support the larger mobility movement across today’s enterprise, we sat down with Craig Drinkhall, Horizon’s Director of Products and Sales Engineering.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Craig. What’s the story behind the launch of Voice Connect?
Craig Drinkhall (CD): Unified communications capabilities are vital for today’s enterprise because they enable collaborative team tasks to happen wherever the user goes. This is paramount as organizations move to remote working situations, as the modern employee becomes more mobile and as digital business looks for greater resilience and continuity.
Horizon has offered a unified communications product that requires a physical phone for some time now, but this launch is important because it expands upon that service in three crucial ways.
With Voice Connect, we’re rounding out our unified communications platform with software that allows for calls to be made over the internet. This can work on the employee’s PC or laptop, or they can take it with them on their mobile phone. Then comes the chat capability — this has become an integral part of day-to-day business communications. Finally, included in our deluxe package is a video collaboration tool.
There are a lot of options for collaboration tools on the market, why choose this one?
CD: The real benefit of Voice Connect for our customers is the integration — it’s about one-stop shopping. Everything works seamlessly together so that nobody has to miss a beat. Instead of trying to work across one video platform while chatting on a wholly different messaging system or any other mix, users can move seamlessly from voice to text to video with one simple click and always have everything at their fingertips.
This one-stop shopping is also highlighted in the way the service is provisioned. If Horizon is already building fiber into a customer’s premises for another service, like ethernet or internet, they’re well-positioned to utilize this voice service through their private network. For enterprises that want a turnkey, easily consumed package with everything included, Voice Connect is ideal.
Let’s talk about challenges — what new obstacles are organizations facing and how does cloud-based voice solve them?
CD: Capital spend is often a challenge, and with a tool like Voice Connect, organizations can bring down that expenditure while moving to a more predictable monthly charge. Inflexibility is also a major hurdle for many organizations nowadays, whether they’re still leveraging outdated communications lines or if they just haven’t found ways to optimize yet. Oftentimes with standard, non-cloud phone systems, you’re tied to wherever that system is. The catch is that now workforces aren’t always at their desk — or even in the office building where that phone resides.
Cloud gives voice, and the individuals that use it, crucial flexibility to maintain momentum and achieve goals no matter where they are. Enterprises also don’t have to lose the look or feel of a cohesive, unified workforce while having their capabilities move as they move.
What are some other benefits that teams can take advantage of through Voice Connect?
CD: When you dig deeper into the product offering, you start to see all the small but powerful ways this tool empowers both internal communications between teams and external communication with clients. Just as an example, sales individuals with the Voice Connect app don’t have to carry around a work phone and a personal phone if they don’t want to give out their private cell number. With the Voice Connect app, calls will go through their standard business line. There are a plethora of additional features that just make everyday tasks easier, removing friction where it may not even have been noticed before to achieve great results for teams.
Can you let us in on any success stories that this platform has created?
CD: Voice Connect was leveraged for our own sales team — we drink our own champagne, so to speak! Originally, incorporating this unified communications strategy internally was simply a way to help our sales team understand the tool so that they could demo it with customers.
However, as soon as the pandemic hit and we had to work from home, this empowered us to be ready to make that transition. Everyone had IP-based phones on their desks, and they had the app and additional collaboration tools ready to go. We went virtual without missing a beat. Furthermore, we weren’t just able to adjust in the face of disruption, but we’re well prepared for the future of business communications as well.
Now, closing thoughts. What else should we know about Horizon or Voice Connect?
CD: Many times when businesses are looking to integrate unified communications, a stand-alone cloud provider can be what comes to mind. This can mean dealing with a provider that is in another city or even another country. I think the aspect that people love about Horizon isn’t just that it fits in well with existing services we provide as an easy, seamless add-on, but that it’s offered with local customer care and support. A deeper relationship with the customer is important to us, and that can make all the difference as enterprises continue to form partnerships that help them evolve.