In the late 1990s, Patricia Mathis, founded a start-up in Chicago to develop the first voice-recognition- based Personal Assistant. As part of that project, she began exploring broader applications of emerging SIP-based platforms. XCastLabs’ CTO, Vladimir Smelyansky, was a key architect of those platforms and guided the introduction of the first soft switch into a major carrier. The core of the XCast Labs engineering team were the earliest leaders and pioneers in unified communications and SIP. Vlad Smelyansky re-assembled the most talented members of his team to form XCastLabs in the spring of 2002 and introduced what is now called “SIPTalk IP-PBX.” The first commercial installation occurred in July 2003. By early 2005, hundreds of companies were using XCast Hosted solutions. Today XCast Labs offers a full array of VoIP services to meet all market needs—serving virtually all vertical markets worldwide.
XCastLabs is an advanced SaaS (Software as a Service) provider of a comprehensive suite of software and hardware solutions delivering integrated IP-based services to our end-users. The services are delivered through their Digital Voice and Video (DV&V) platform, a fully Hosted, IP-based integrated solution that delivers Class 5 switching with MIR (Most Intelligent Routing), Video Telephony, IP-PBX, SIP Trunking and other advanced IP applications. XCast is an E911 and CALEA compliant carrier. As an early entrant into the SIP-based world, the XCastLabs team designed and developed every aspect of their technology solution in-house providing greater ability to address customers’ needs and requirements without dependency on outside vendors.
As pioneers in the early stages of SIP development, numerous aspects of XCast’s technology were so unique as to be patented.
“Our Direct RTP (Real-Time Protocol) technology for voice and video communications greatly increases call quality and reliability while significantly reducing latency and packet loss,” says Patricia. “The lack of third-party licensing fees allows XCast to have an unconventionally low cost of operations as well as uncommon flexibility introducing new features or services dictated by business needs.” Today there are a host of VoIP providers in the market, but very few, if any, can claim the company’s innovation history and production experience. XCast serves multiple markets for their “all in one” voice communications need and has a nationwide presence in both urban and rural locations, in every region and in every market segment and has an international footprint.
The XCast technology provides a unique PBX product solution that can be adapted across the spectrum of the SMB market. Their PBX and SIP trunking products is not a one size fits all solution. The core platform supports 2 extensions as easily as 500. An XCast account manager works directly with the client to design the PBX and extension features best suited for each need. A new customer’s administrator has access to a self-directed portal specific to their PBX which allows the administrator to manage the account. Each administrator has access to self-training as well as live training to ensure they are comfortable piloting their PBX. Of course, the XCast team is available to reach for support at any time once the account is launched. “Our platforms provide virtually any service that a small business might need to conduct their communications business. We also provide on-going technical support by our highly accessible Operations and Service teams. By and large we are a “plug-and-play” environment with very strong “ease of use” scores,” says Patricia. “We provide both automated and hands-on training for all our Resellers and support them in whatever ways they require. An important factor in our customer satisfaction recognition assessment is the complete accessibility of the XCast team.”
In an instance, when a national brand cable provider discovered they could not deliver their “triple play” solution in some areas of the country, they turned to XCast for a solution. They wanted to expand their footprint beyond their own broadband reach but discovered their own solution lacked the flexibility to accommodate requirements in some new territories. As their partner, XCast had to exactly replicate the feature functionality of their own incumbent system which they were retaining in some markets. These requirements demanded some product tailoring specifically for the customer’s environment and the company delivered the same—XCast’s culture is to respond to a problem and fix it even if outside their usual toolbox.
Towards the Future
Like other VoIP providers, the challenges customers face in 3Q20 are decidedly different from those of 1Q20. Since early March, all XCast employees throughout the country have worked remotely including XCast’s, customers who have made this transition without any disruption in their services or ability to serve customers without regard to their location or business sector. “We have over 125 Resellers and 75 independent agents who support thousands of customers around the world,” says Patricia. XCast also directly delivers communications services to many national retail and restaurant brands that have now been shuttered for many months.
As early innovators, XCast has long recognized the tension between conflicting strategies for product and feature development: “Build it and they shall come” versus “Let the market ask, then provide.” XCast also recognizes that every technology has a shelf-life, and no one really knows the expiration date on any given solution known today. “Our engineering team has frequently developed ground-breaking solutions that were not productized until the market was expressing some need,” says Patricia. “Despite our long history in innovations, XCast will continue to listen to our customers and our product development will always be guided by their needs.”