REDCOM Laboratories, Inc., a vendor of various technologies for communications providers and an NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association associate member, recently completed an exciting acquisition of new employees and resources from IMSWorkX. NTCA’s Ashley Spinks took the opportunity to talk with REDCOM Marketing Manager Mike Gerenser about the company, its recent acquisition of IMSWorkX, and how REDCOM can serve rural broadband providers like those in NTCA’s membership.
First, I’m really interested in REDCOM being a woman-owned small business. How did REDCOM get started, and how does its 40-year history influence the current culture of the company, if at all?
REDCOM is currently led by President/Chief Executive Officer Dinah Gueldenpfennig Weisberg, the daughter of the founders Klaus and Brigitte Gueldenpfennig. The company was founded … [to meet] the needs of small service provider customers that were often neglected or ignored by rival incumbents … While the company continues to evolve, the underdog mentality from our roots is still an integral part of our DNA.
Dinah is very focused on building the right culture. … Indeed, here is an actual quote from Dinah herself that I got just last month. I think it really captures the essence of how she leads the company:
“Innovation is at the core of what we do. The challenge — and satisfaction — of solving unique customer problems is what energizes REDCOM each and every day. Innovation isn’t just about R&D, though. It can take many forms, but to me the people within an organization are the ultimate driver. Therefore, if you want to develop game-changing ideas that make the world a better place, take time to develop your culture and empower your team.”
For our ILEC members that may not be familiar with REDCOM, an associate member of NTCA, can you describe in layman’s terms the type of business you run?
I know every company says they are “customer focused” but at REDCOM we take it to the next level. We don’t see ourselves as a giant faceless corporation just looking to make a quick buck — instead, we prefer to position ourselves as trusted advisers, which I think our customers really appreciate. Service providers are not looking to be sold to — they get that from all angles all day long.
We differentiate ourselves by putting ourselves in the shoes of our customers and finding ways to help them solve tangible business problems. For small telcos, that means offering a way forward for an end-of-life switch, or even a way to cut down on crippling maintenance fees. And for service providers of all sizes, it means we can offer a range of flexible/customizable solutions to migrate from the AIN, converge IP/TDM services, or roll out Voice over LTE.
As a vendor, what do you see as your ultimate value to small, rural telecommunications providers like those in NTCA’s membership?
Ultimately, our value is a company based entirely in the United States … All of our engineering, development, sales, support and leadership teams are located in Victor, N.Y. This gives us greater control over our supply chain and product reliability, which ultimately allows us to respond much quicker to customer demands.
For small telcos, that means offering a way forward for an end-of-life switch, or even a way to cut down on crippling maintenance fees.
What does a typical day look like at REDCOM?
Nearly half of our company’s workforce is on the development/engineering side. These folks are constantly working on gathering customer input, developing new ideas, improving existing products and thoroughly testing everything for maximum reliability. Our sales and customer service teams spend a lot of time listening to customers so they can funnel ideas and requirements into the product roadmap. We’re kind of a flat organization, which is nice — it means our leadership team is actively engaged with all departments, and they’re always willing to roll up their sleeves and get involved in all aspects of the business. There’s no ivory tower here at REDCOM: Everyone can be an innovator, and everyone is thinking about the customer.
Let’s talk about the recent acquisition of IMSWorkX. How does this acquisition impact REDCOM?
REDCOM had a strong existing product portfolio of softswitches and call control platforms, but the acquisition of IMSWorkX immediately gives us a robust and proven package of software apps that enhance the service layer of the network. So now not only can we help service providers with core switching needs, but we can help them deploy a huge array of enhanced network services. Things like Intelligent Call Routing, call rating, network migration, and VoLTE. As part of the acquisition, the entire team from IMSWorkX has joined REDCOM, and because we have such a collaborative environment, our teams are already working together on integrating our solutions and developing a roadmap for the future. With our new solution portfolio, we can offer solutions to telcos of all sizes.
Robocalls and call completion are two issues that NTCA regularly lobbies on. Can you explain how REDCOM can help address those issues?
In December alone, it was estimated that nearly 5 billion auto-dialed calls were placed to consumers. That’s just crazy. It has to stop. Our new product set includes a Personalized Call Screening application that will allow carriers to offer a “robocall blocker” to their customers. …It’s very flexible, providing both service providers and subscribers with a number of tools to filter unwanted calls. We’re already getting a lot of traction from a number of service providers who are interested in the REDCOM solution.