During the last week of March this year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic – or the world’s biggest remote working experience ever – the global use of Cloud Unified Communications technology exploded to unprecedented levels.
A case in point, Microsoft’s virtual communication platform Teams reported a high of 44 million daily users, adding up to more than 900 million meeting and call minutes. In Italy, one of the countries hardest hit by the virus, the increase in monthly users was 775%.
The software giant would never have been able to support this surge in users without the right technology partners. That’s where the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. comes in.
As the 2019 Microsoft Intelligent Communications partner of the year, its expertise was what allowed millions of Teams’ users worldwide to experience a smooth transition to working from home.
As Mark Alexander, CEO of the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. explains, “We are a global company, so our network is expansive and we could see the impact country by country, as the coronavirus spread throughout the world. We started planning, increasing bandwidth, circuit capacity and infrastructure very early.
“As a result, our capacity grew anywhere from 70–600%, with variations between countries and different types of services. Unlike a 15, 20 or 30% growth, which would have been digestible, this required a dramatic increase in all the components that go into delivering a cloud-based solution.”
He is specifically referring to the technology that is at the centre of many services offered by the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. – cloud unified communications (UC).
As the name implies, this involves using the cloud to transmit voice and video, with the main advantage being that all it requires to work successfully is the internet, and not any installation of hardware.
By demonstrating its ability to ride out a challenge such as COVID-19 with its UC solutions, the company has achieved the very milestone that compelled Mark to take on the role of CEO in July last year.
“I was attracted by the opportunity to leverage the strengths of the company and grow it in the UC world. UC is a high-growth segment and represents a dynamic area of the business,” he says.
Everything we do starts with our team and the level of service that we want to offer our clients.
Previously known as Arkadin, which had been a part of NTT Corporation’s subsidiary since 2014, the Cloud Communications division was realised on 1 October 2020. The new branding follows the founding of NTT Limited in July 2019, which brought together NTT Communications, Arkadin and 29 other technology providers to form a new US$11 billion (€9.6 billion) subsidiary of the Japanese telecommunications corporation.
Rather than just jumping on the bandwagon of whatever trend is gripping the market, the success of a multinational company such as NTT Ltd. relies on its capability to provide a standardised level of service worldwide.
Given that NTT Ltd. overall has presence in 57 countries and trade in 73 countries, achieving this is quite a feat. “I call it globalisation – or harmonising our processes and acting in a more cohesive fashion to consistently deliver a high-quality service,” Mark says.
The hosting of large digital events is when the enormous importance of this really comes to the fore. “We do a lot of digital events, especially in the pharmaceutical space where we may host as many as 40,000 participants and doctors from around the world,” Mark describes.
“And we want to deliver the exact same service and experience to everyone.” Indeed, this customer-centric approach is what drives NTT Ltd.’s research and development.
“We typically start with what the customer is demanding, and look at areas where we can integrate a technology better,” Mark explains.
“It could be on the front end where, for example, processes can be automated, or on the back end, where a customer may want to see quality metrics or automation on the cloud-based tools they are using. Sometimes, these functions are not delivered by the platforms our partners are providing, but we may be able to integrate elements of our network with elements of our partners’ platforms to give the customer a more universal end solution.”
Mark continues, “We have a lot of expertise. Everything we do starts with our team and the level of service that we want to offer our clients. Our goal is to empower our clients to communicate and collaborate seamlessly and securely, ensuring that they have the work-from-anywhere solutions that keep their employees connected and productive. “We will continue to invest and move into broader, newer areas of cloud-based communication technology that will keep adding value to our offerings.”