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August 19, 2008

WBS Connect: Innovation is Key to Success in the IP Networking Industry

The U.S. may be in something of an economic downturn, but you’d never know it to look at the growth some communications technology market companies are experiencing. Successful companies like WBS Connect (News - Alert), a data networking solutions company based in Denver, Colorado, are staying ahead of the curve by using competitive pressure from giants like Google (News - Alert) to keep their eyes on the prize: innovation.
 
Founded in 2002, WBS Connect focuses specifically on custom-designing IP-based network solutions that are flexible and scalable.  I had a chance to ask Scott Charter, managing partner at WBS Connect, about what makes his company tick and how the communications technology industry looks from his viewpoint.
 
Charter will be at INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO West 2008 next month in Los Angeles, presenting a session titled “Not All Collocation is Created Equal.” As the title suggests, this session will present an insider’s guide to buying and selling data center/co-location space.
 
RT: What has been WBS Connect’s biggest achievement during 2008 so far?
SC: WBS Connect is making its mark in the technology industry and is proud to announce it was named the number one fastest growing private company in the Denver area by the Denver Business Journal. The DBJ recognizes companies based on their two-year revenue growth, and ranks them by percentage of growth. Between 2005 and 2007, WBS Connect achieved a revenue growth rate of 1055 percent, which is more than 320 percent higher than the second place finisher! This growth can be attributed to growing our customer base both nationally and globally. Over the past 12 months, WBS Connect has increased its customer base by an impressive 182 percent.
 
RT: What can we expect to see from WBS Connect during the next 12 months?
SC: WBS Connect continues to grow its product and service portfolio, adding several leading-edge technology options for customers in the coming months. 
 
Virtual In Person high definition video conferencing and telepresence service will allow life size, high quality communication options for increasing productivity and reducing travel costs.
 
Virtual Private Data Center (utility billed cloud computing) allows customers to focus on their core business, offloading the costs and hassle of purchasing and managing computing power resources.
 
DC2DC data center internetworking service provides point-to-point connectivity between data centers. The unlimited scalability is ideally suited for traffic aggregation, service providers, media and content providers.
 
RT: How do you see the communications market evolving?
SC: Continued consolidation is the primary factor I see occurring. Other trends will include greater adoption of mobile ecommerce applications and video.  
 
RT: What company made the biggest contribution to communications this year?
SC: Probably Google on two fronts. First, Google's chess moves in the 700 megahertz wireless spectrum licensing was huge. Even though it was not high bidder, Google’s actions to force open handsets will be seen as a major impact in years to come.  Second, the Android Project is having a major impact by forcing open standards. While many people are frustrated that Android handsets will not ship till the end of 2008 or early 2009, this project still has had more of an effect on the communications industry by a single company than anything else this year.
 
RT: How has Google changed the communications technology industry?
SC: Google has gone from being a company to cheer for to now being the 800 pound gorilla that many companies publicly (and privately) fear. We all are looking over our shoulder, hoping that Google does not decide to compete with our particular company or market niche.  My feelings on this are a mixture of envy and fear. However, instead of shrinking with fear, I suggest using this as a motivation to continue to be more nimble and see opportunity around every new Google press release.
 
RT: How about Apple?
SC: The Apple Effect is great for those of us that love everything Mac. With more and more adoption, it makes it easier to use Apple in business. The fact that Steve Jobs is a psycho to work for is too bad. Nobody should have to work in fear. This culture typically does not work long term. However, Jobs is a genius that has to be applauded for his vision and ability to execute. Apple does not have anywhere near the impact on our industry as does Google.  
 
RT: What mobile phone(s) do you use?
SC: I use the iPhone (News - Alert). My first iPhone was my best phone ever. My second iPhone seems to have some bugs. When I get a chance, it is time to take it in for a check-up. Shoot, I just dropped another call!  
 
RT: Who will win in an Apple/RIM war?
SC: No clear winner. As long as the battle continues, we all win, as the entire industry has to push the envelope on innovation.
 
RT: What do you think the communications market might look like in five years?
SC: We will see national adoption of WiFfi/WiMAX (News - Alert)/cellular hybrids (in North America, since we are slower than rest of world). You will be able to jump from your network to the next closest network as you move around your neighborhood.  
 
RT: What will attendees learn about in your session at ITEXPO (News - Alert) this September?
SC: ITEXPO attendees will learn about the 10 biggest mistakes we see occurring in the purchase of data center space. We are involved in colocation deals worldwide, with more than 25 different vendors. By having such a large pool of resources, it is easy to see patterns and pitfalls with data center designs and business rules. A careful buyer should look out for several key pitfalls.  
 
RT: What type of attendees do you think should come to your session?
SC: Any company that is less than thrilled with hosting its servers in anything more professional than a parent's basement should come to my session. If you are still in your parent’s basement, we can't help you, since your rent is cheap and you probably get access to their refrigerator.
 
RT: Why should customers choose your WBS Connect’s solutions?
SC: At WBS Connect we build intelligent network strategies by delivering seamless, secure and scalable data solutions, whether it’s simple Internet connectivity or a complete virtual data center. Our global infrastructure and partnerships allow us to be a single point of contact in providing end-to-end, customized, carrier-neutral solutions. Unlike other providers, we’ve invested the time, money and resources into building our own network infrastructure. We have a presence at 50-plus data centers and we have access to more than 70,000 network nodes worldwide. We offer a full range of technology solutions and in many cases can have customers up and running in a matter of days. 
 
RT: Please make one surprising prediction for 2009.
SC: High definition video conferencing adoption, as a way to lessen business travel, will spike by 100 percent.
 
Learn more about WBS Connect at Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year. ITEXPO will take place in Los Angeles, California, September 16-18, 2008, featuring three valuable days of exhibits, conferences, and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss. Visit WBS at booth #543 in the exhibit hall. Don’t wait. Register now!

Rich Tehrani is President and Group Editor-in-Chief of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world’s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.
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