by John Dumbleton, CMO, Clearspan
In the late 70’s, a small group of telecom innovators received funding from Exxon to create a new telecommunications company called Intecom. Over the next 4 decades, the company was acquired five times, each time helping its new parent company claim their respective stake of the telecommunication market. From the technology acquired by Cisco that resulted in the SCC protocol and Cisco Call Manager, to the creation of PointSpan that helped organizations evolve from TDM to VoIP, their creativity yielded the innovations that mattered most. In 2007, as a subsidiary of Aastra, the company created Clearspan to deliver scalable, cloud-based carrier grade communication solutions for large organizations and service providers.
Two acquisitions later, a unique opportunity presented itself. Mitel, having acquired Aastra in 2014, was acquired by private equity firm Searchlight Capital Partners in 2018. Recognizing Clearspan’s rich history of innovation and focused target market, Searchlight determined Clearspan would best serve the interests of its customers (and the firm’s investors!) as a stand-alone company. In July 2020, a 40-year-old startup called Clearspan LLC was launched.
The Clearspan journey as a subsidiary operating under a larger parent companies came with both advantages and challenges. At the start, its larger parent companies delivered the financial stability and brand recognition that delivered the clout required to engage the world’s largest organizations and services providers. However, with small and mid-sized companies driving the early market adoption of cloud communications, its parent companies rightfully focused its investments into these market segments. Although Clearspan continued to deliver on its promise of scalable, cloud-based carrier grade communication solutions for large organizations, its pace of innovation was overcome by the velocity of change in the market.
As a newly independent company no longer siloed and no longer competing for resources, Clearspan quickly went to work in late 2020. In addition to standing up the front-office and back-office infrastructure to function as an independent company, we rapidly went to work to modernize our current solution while simultaneously redefining our vision of the future of communications for large organizations and service providers. While challenging at times, nine months later we are fully- functioning as a standalone company, added over 10 new solutions/features that have closed obvious gaps to our existing solution, and have commenced the development of our next generation solution. Suffice it to say that we all felt like the Cat in the Hat – balancing on a ball, spinning plates, balancing rakes – but in our case no plates were broken, no mess was made, and the fish was never out of water!
It’s now time for the fun stuff!
The global pandemic forced everyone’s eyes to open to the power of modern communication and collaboration solutions. It was, ironically, THE compelling event for the UCaaS market – and we believe the way in which we work has forever changed. Today, there are a variety of cloud based solutions readily available, but all were engineered and optimized for the SME market. Redefining the future of communications for large, complex organizations requires something more – something that is easily integrated, customizable, brandable, and ready to embrace whatever comes next. Here at Clearspan we are internally calling that “something” Project Dynamik.
During the first 6 months of our independence, we’ve shared Project Dynamik with customers and partners to gather valuable feedback. Based on the support and validation received, we know we are onto something and momentum is growing. Why is Dynamik resonating? Why is this exciting for the Internet2 community? In the simplest terms, today’s cloud communication and collaboration offerings are commoditized, offering limited customizable components that inhibit innovation – kind of like the Model T, “any color you want so long as its black!” Although easily consumable, these off the shelf solutions in no way consider the long-term, evolving requirements of large complex organizations. By contrast, Project Dynamik not only delivers the expected commodity pieces to the jigsaw but also enables the creation of a new bespoke puzzle.
Project Dynamik consists of five core pillars of innovation:
Project Dynamik breaks away from the commodity, off-the-shelf methods of doing business. Clearspan has long considered innovation partnerships close to our fundamental ethos and it is our intention to maintain these values. The Internet2 community is a perfect innovation partner for Clearspan who thrive on deep technology collaborations and solving hard problems that other solutions vendors avoid.
We look forward to working together to deliver the future of communications!