Back in the 60's when I was in elementary school we had Mr. Petro. Mr. Petro was the school's "maintanence man." His job, dirty, smelly, trashy and all was to keep the then 40 something year old brick and masonary school up and running. He fixed toilets, changed lightbulbs, moved desks, arranged for new chairs, replaced a broken window blind and made sure after we all left that the trash was out of the wastebaskets, the floors were clean and the windows spotless. He opened the doors in the morning and locked them up. He made sure the fire alarms rang, that clocks were on time and that the buzzers buzzed to let us all know when recess was starting, ending and more. He didn't do it all himself, but most of the time, he did.
What got me thinking about Mr. Petro, and Finletter Elementary School wasn't some deep seeded childhood memory. It was the recent news from one of the best kept secrest in Silicon Valley, 2600hz and their new develop it all API platform Kazoo that ties in nicely to their manage it all yourself telecom platform.
It's also easy to compare and think that 2600hz is a lot like Twilio, and they are, to a point, as they both are courting developers to build services on their cloud platforms. But unlike Twilo, 2600hz also seems to taking a page out of Ring.io's book (note I am a shareholder in Ring.io) in building a fully self-manageable PBX and end point control system that doesn't care what the endpoint is (mobile, sofphone, desk phone, tablet, etc.)
But back to Mr. Petro. He didn't build the school. Nor did he put the infrastructure in. The plumbing, the wires, the boilers, the toilets and the walls all were there long before him and are still there today, many years after him. So here's 2600 giving us all the "plumbing" and "wires" we need, basically replacing the telecom manager's need to do much more than, well, manager. No sourcing parts, pieces, code, integrators, or likely even suppliers. Now businesses can go to 2600hz's business portal, sign up to use their infrastructure the same way companies are using the Amazon cloud.
So why do I say they are challenging Twilio? Well Twilio wants to give devs the tools to do cool things that run across the Twilio infrastructure and use minutes, or pieces of minutes that Twilio buys at one price, sells at another, then works the reciprocal compensation in the middle to make more money. 2600hz will do the same thing, make money off of others usage, without having to worry about how much the business pays, because there's lots of money to be made in the middle.
Now how can this be better? Simple take what 2600hz has done, merge it in with Voxeo, IfByPhone and Twilio, and you have one big next generation communications company that provides services well beyond what Verizon, AT&T or BT offer today at a fraction of the costs. Toss in an uber-carrier like Level3 at the core, and you'll have an incredible carrier grade data network that was built for voice and video, run it on something like Joyent's cloud infrastructure, and front end it with a SalesForce or SugarCRM platform and you'll have the old line telcos worst nightmare.
Honestly, this is exactly what the consortim of cable companies should do to be real competitors to the telcos in the business market. Either them or West which has been buying up pieces to be the big dog behind a lot of what business is doing already.