What network challenges does the industry face as we head to the middle of 2018 and beyond?
With more competition on the "freeware" OTT applications is leading to greater compression of per-minute rates across the entire global voice market. Price compression within the voice telecommunications is impacting the margins to larger international wholesaler which has opened the market for National and Multi-national carriers to compete directly with the voice origination companies worldwide. 

The challenge; 
1) Wholesales, National Carriers and Multi-national carriers need to reduce the cost per port for their Softswitch solutions while keeping scalable, robust platforms.
2) To be better net-citizens, reduce centralized bandwidth consumption, and to maintain optimum call latency; carriers and wholesalers need to have rapidly scalable, cloud-based, media gateway solutions to ensure voice packets traverse directly between call origination and termination. This is the primary NFV (network function virtualization) that is logically required. 

Carriers that adopt a lower cost per port solution can compete directly for the voice origination business, offering a lower cost per minute solutions and as such, increase overall business profit. Integrating a proper NFV based media gateway solutions allows for carriers to build robust, meshed solutions for internal voice origination/termination that should reduce bandwidth dependency, as well as reduce over resource utilization on central office solutions (less resource utilization means cheaper hardware, and greater volumes of calls as only signaling needs to be processed). 

Fraud is also a prevalent factor in the international voice origination/termination market. By reducing the overall cost base for delivering calls - it also reduces the financial impact that fraud has.

What technologies do you see changing / shaping the industry and how?

Softswitch technologies have already shaped the industry for the international wholesale and retail voice markets. Now as Carriers see the financial opportunity to directly compete in the voice origination/termination markets worldwide, we expect to see a faster, more aggressive adoption of lower cost (high quality) Softswitch technologies. 

Cloud-based media gateway solutions (such as the Sippy Media Gateway) allow carriers to deploy media gateways virtually anywhere in the world that traffic is required. For example, during Asian New Year celebrations, a European carrier may wish to increase the total number of available ports in HK, then re-position these same ports across Asian and the Middle East for the EID celebrations. Having the flexibility and capability to do this on the fly, is something that will open up the market for everyone.

What impact will industry changes (you describe the industry change) have on digital transformation plans within organizations?
We are already developing and deploying solutions to reduce per-port costs, increase scalability, and virtualize media gateways. The next phase of Sippy Software, Inc. is to virtualize the billing DB to allow for greater network build flexibility - something we see as the requirement for all large carriers. We are also researching solutions to reduce the market base cost overall - something that will be for the benefit of all players.

How important is SDN for the industry and what is your company doing to implement and deploy this technology capability?
By virtual, Softswitch solutions and cloud based media gateway solutions are true software define networks. So, very important :)

What broad trends do you see in telecoms in the next 12 months?
Voice: more Carriers entering wholesale market selling termination on-line through VOIP portals
Wholesale (VoIP based) voice price compression
Data: upgrade of existing submarine cables (hardware) to increase capacity on existing links and ensure competitiveness against new, high bandwidth cables

What are new developments and initiatives that are exciting for your company in 2018?
Going head-to-head with more expensive Softswitch solutions and taking larger share of the carrier market.

What technologies or solutions inhibiting growth today and how do you see innovation adapting to solve that problem?
From the Softswitch market, the major market inhibitor is the price that competitive solution providers charge, falsely increasing costs per port to the extent that it prohibits carriers from entering a very lucrative market segment.

Why is ITW such an important industry event for you and your company?

We estimate that between 1500 and 2000 prospective leads attend ITW, as we open the carrier markets, this increases to approximately 3000 lead opportunities. 

Mr. Gavin M. McMillan leads the global sales and marketing strategy for Sippy Software, Inc., and is directly responsible for managing and growing multi-million dollar lines of business, overseeing measurement, reporting, and financing. Mr. McMillan has thirty years of business experience within the telecommunications industry, with roles that have included International Network Manager, Director of both Sales and Marketing, as well as President & Chief Executive Officer and, Corporate Finance officer as a director of publicly listed technology and global telecom companies. In addition to Sippy Software, Mr. McMillan also currently serves on the boards of several organizations, startups, and occasionally publically funded ventures, including as the Chief Financial Officer of Calyx Bio-Ventures Inc.