Johannesburg-based DataVoice – an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of interaction recording and management solutions – is looking at international expansion to offset the harsh realities of the local market and plans to continue to unlock growth by specifically bolstering its offering and capitalising on its existing relationship with major offshore partners in the radio communications industry.
MD Paul Fick says the company, which is wholly-owned by the Jasco Group, was repositioned last year to have its own identity and unique brand and has a strong growth strategy that should see it achieve much-improved levels of profitability.
However, while the bulk of this growth will come from abroad, DataVoice is not abandoning the South African market, explains Fick.
“It’s a push strategy. Expanding internationally is our big focus. It is a big market and we still have so much to achieve through our offshore partnerships. We need to take advantage of all opportunities,” he says.
The company performed successfully for many years in South Africa but has seen investment shrinking in the local contact centre industry since 2009.
“The local contact centre environment is in maintenance mode. Many smaller players are also adopting cloud solutions and many of them are sweating their assets and postponing investment decisions and capital projects,” says Fick.
“We’ve also seen growth in levels of outsourcing in this sector, so the local market is shrinking, and we are battling to achieve our growth objectives given this scenario.”
DataVoice have several large international partners that it will leverage to further penetrate offshore markets, with a specific focus on the radio communications industry to drive its short to medium term growth. DataVoice have also repositioned its local presence with some key partnerships that will be announced in the near future.
DataVoice’s recording solution is tightly integrated into the TETRA world and is mainly deployed by national emergency and security services.
Fick says that while DataVoice had developed the recording solution for voice and Short Data Service messages on the TETRA system, which includes logging handset locations, selling it offshore has not been a major focus over the past few years.
“But we are now looking to invest and work closely with our partner in this space. There is significant opportunity to further develop new business in global territories.”
This partnership has already seen DataVoice successfully penetrate a number of international markets, such as several countries in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in Eastern Europe, where it has concluded multimillion-rand contracts; however, the company is eyeing further opportunities in the rest of Europe, Singapore, Australasia and the Americas.
Fick says that DataVoice is ultimately planning to use this partnership to position itself for further investments and tie-ups with other international partners in non-competing markets built around its strong multimedia recording offering. He adds that the company’s international expansion push will be underpinned by agility, competitiveness and an ability to provide superior product features.
On the international front, Fick says DataVoice’s unique selling proposition is its ability to provide a robust emergency services solution, being price competitive and having the agility to meet specific client requirements at short notice.
“Many of our competitors are large and slow to change their products to meet their clients’ needs. Our focus is on customer-centricity. We have a proactive team that spends time understanding the needs of the customer, and then delivering on those needs quickly and efficiently,” he says.
Similarly, Fick explains that Datavoice also has a solid unique selling proposition in the South Africa market, with its products being purely South African and thus holding an edge over its competitors by not being subjected to exchange rates and meeting local content requirements on tenders.
However, he notes that one of the biggest challenges facing OEMs – with little investment being made in the business – is the ability to stay current. Fick says that DataVoice managed the transition from digital to IP voice technology and adds that the company’s solutions support the SIP (session initiation protocol) standard – the next big step in internet telephony.
He predicts that one of the most important future technology trends lies in mobility and the ability to record mobile devices, especially with the global decline in the use of fixed-line telephony. While DataVoice’s products are cloud-ready, the company is also working hard to better understand how to deliver these solutions.
“While TETRA is currently the De Facto standard for trunked radio systems, it will eventually change. When that happens, DataVoice will support future standards,” says Fick.
“Our solutions work with all technologies, legacy and modern. This means that we can do installations in mixed environments. Of course, we are concerned about new trends and are working hard to be constantly relevant in the market. We are continuously innovating and investing in the future. Our solutions will never become obsolete.”