The Tech Revolution with PanTerra’s Artie Chang

Author: Scott Kinka

The Bridge Podcast - Artie Chang PanTerraOn this episode of The Bridge, I’m joined by Artie Chang, President and CEO of PanTerra Networks. We’re talking about running blindly into the tech revolution while still serving the needs of the people who aren’t maybe so revolutionary.

PanTerra is a business-class Unified Cloud Service Provider, seamlessly delivering unified communications, team collaboration, call center, file sync & share, and business analytics through Streams, its secure, all-in-one business communications cloud solution. By offering a fully customizable, unified UCaaS and CPaaS, HIPAA/HITECH secure, multi-service cloud solution, PanTerra can significantly reduce costs, simplify IT administration, increase security, and improve employee productivity.

During our conversation, we discussed coexisting with the “big guys,” remaining committed to your own niche innovation, how hybrid work is emerging as a tool in the workforce ecosystem (not just a reaction to the pandemic), and so much more about the tech revolution that shows no signs of stopping.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • How the communications landscape changed due to the pandemic; collaboration became a central feature.
  • Why voice used to be the main communication feature, now collaboration tools take precedence.
  • Why Artie sees a settling-out period post-revolution, with businesses evaluating solutions more thoughtfully.
  • How hybrid work environments can enhance productivity and work-life balance for employees.
  • Why there’s a focus on measuring productivity and work-life balance in hybrid work.
  • AI’s role in productivity and potential challenges.
  • Why government involvement in regulating AI raises mixed feelings.
  • Panterra Networks’ approach to AI: focus on enhancing customer Productivity and ease of use.
  • Recent changes and developments in Panterra’s offerings.
  • Video conferencing innovation and complexity and why Panterra’s focused on simplifying video conferencing solutions for mid-market customers.
  • Panterra’s emphasis on secure and compliant cloud phone systems.
  • AI’s robust implementation and the potential chaos due to lack of guardrails.
  • Promoting work-life balance to prevent burnout at Panterra.

The Bridge Podcast with Scott Kinka - Artie Chang PanterraABOUT ARTIE CHANG

Arthur Chang is a distinguished leader with an extensive background spanning over two decades in the hi-tech industry. As the CEO of PanTerra, his visionary leadership and strategic insights have been pivotal to the company’s trajectory.

Drawing on his experience as a serial entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, Arthur Chang has been an integral part of the success stories of numerous companies. His journey includes senior executive roles that have propelled growth and innovation. Before joining PanTerra Networks, Mr. Chang held the position of CEO at Cradle Technologies, where he led a multi-core multimedia DSP company to new heights. Prior to that, he held the CEO position at SoloPoint Communications, a prominent provider of telecommunications equipment to major industry players. During his tenure, Mr. Chang orchestrated the company’s expansion, culminating in a successful IPO.

With a foundation that includes executive management roles in diverse technology sectors such as telecommunications, storage, server, and remote access markets, Mr. Chang brings a holistic understanding of the industry. His career began at Bell Laboratories in Naperville, IL, where he laid the groundwork for his remarkable journey. Throughout his professional journey, he has collaborated closely with Silicon Valley venture capitalists, contributing as a consultant and analyst.

Arthur Chang’s expertise extends beyond leadership; he excels in areas such as talent acquisition, corporate strategy, and capital raising. With a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University, an M.S. degree in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Executive MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Mr. Chang possesses a formidable educational foundation.

Mr. Chang’s influence on corporate vision and product strategy is unparalleled, with a proven ability to guide businesses toward financial success. His prowess at fostering growth is complemented by his exceptional talent for recruiting top-tier executives and motivating them to excel. A seasoned entrepreneur well-versed in the startup ecosystem, Mr. Chang’s acumen is complemented by his experience in working closely with boards and investors.

CONTACT ARTIE

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scott:
Hi and welcome to The Bridge. My guest this week should be familiar to fans of the pod. Artie Chang, who is the CEO of Pantera Networks is with me. How are you Artie? It’s good to see you again.

Artie:
Good to see you, Scott.

scott:
When we last spoke, you told this great story about like all of your grown children coming and moving back into the house during the pandemic. Have you shed all of them? Are you back to empty nesting in the house there already?

Artie:
Well, when you have 10 kids, I don’t think you’re ever empty nest year anymore. And now what’s happened is I’ve moved from the phase of getting them all out to now celebrating more weddings and grandchildren.

scott:
Sure.

Artie:
So now a grandfather two times over and expecting a third one as a Halloween baby. And I have another wedding coming up and an engagement coming up. And so, you know, we just got six more to go.

scott:
So are the grandkids, the two now, the third coming, but the two, your grandfather twice over that this year, you didn’t have any grandkids when we spoke last?

Artie:
I don’t remember, did we speak a year ago?

scott:
Probably about a year, yeah.

Artie:
I had one grandchild, I just turned two.

scott:
Okay.

Artie:
And then, yes, I just had a grandchild on July 1st.

scott:
Oh, wow. Freshly

Artie:
And so.

scott:
minted grandfather two times over. Congratulations to that.

Artie:
They’re all boys. We can’t, they can’t seem to get a girl yet. The one who’s expecting coming is also a boy. So we’re waiting for our first granddaughter.

scott:
The name will continue at the very least already, right? You’ll, you’ll pass the time on.

Artie:
Well, there’s a billion of us Changs, so

scott:
Hahaha!

Artie:
I think I have to worry about passing the name on.

scott:
So, you know, when we spoke a year or so ago, you told obviously the Pantera story. I’ll give you the opportunity to give the, you know, to give us the pitch again. But we did talk quite a bit about the pandemic and kind of how you guys worked through it and the product and the whole nine yards. So I think what I’d love to focus on today is just kind of, you know, how you see the market having evolved from, you know, reactionary post pandemic to, you know, what customers really want today as they’re hardening their plans. So we’ll focus on that and I’ll ask you a couple of questions on that. But let me ask you, just to give for the listeners who maybe didn’t see the previous episode, can you just explain, you know, briefly Pantera networks for us?

Artie:
Yeah, Pantera is a very unique cloud communications company. We’re unique in the fact that we’re both a technology provider and a service provider, which means we develop the solutions that we deploy, and we actually deploy and support the solutions as a full-fledged service provider. The product we deliver is called Streams. It uniquely combines unified communications, full team collaborations. and content sharing into a single customizable end-to-end solution that’s delivered securely from the cloud. So we focus very specifically on mid-market enterprises. Our sweet spot is say 50 to a thousand users and we’re very passionate about what we do. I think that’s the other thing that I think you asked me last time what our superpower was and it’s

scott:
Mm-hmm.

Artie:
really passion. We have We have passion for our solutions that we create. We have passion for our partners. And most of all, we have passion for the customers that we try to create lifetime relationships with.

scott:
So it’s interesting, I mean, so much of communications today is a derivative of what happened to us in the pandemic. I mean, it’s funny, I’ve had many conversations. We’ve had all the major players in UCAS on the show since our last meeting. And for many of them, they all kind of agreed on one very simple fact that, where collab was sort of the… The collaboration aspects, right? The chat, the video meetings, the file sharing components where the add-on features to voice, you know, 2019 and before that. And then from 2020 on, voice is the add-on feature to the collaboration stack. I wonder how you feel about that statement. Can Kerr differ at all? What are your thoughts?

Artie:
Yeah, I think we’ve really gone through a, I would say, revolutionary change. I think it was so jarring and how it was forced upon the business world that it caused knee-jerk reactions from our customers and quite frankly, from us as service providers. Everybody jumped on this bandwagon of collaboration and remote work. I think as with all revolutions or extremely fast evolutions, there’s a settling out period, a period where people come kind of back to reality. We saw a lot of our customers knee-jerk into completely eliminating the evaluation process for picking service providers and technology and just

scott:
Mm-hmm.

Artie:
jumping on the bandwagon of industry giants that happened to be able to… provide some of the solution. And people are now going back to real evaluation of products and solutions that best fit their businesses. And I think we’re in that phase now where people are getting back to reality, getting back to reason, and realizing that remote work is just another tool in the workforce ecosystem. And the best example I can use of that is that even Zoom has now required their employees to come back to the workplace.

scott:
Mm-hmm.

Artie:
And if I survey sort of my 10 children who are all in professional careers, literally every one of them have some kind of hybrid work policy now. So maybe they’re required to come in three days a week. or they might be required to cover specific days a week. So I think what started as a jarring movement has now become more of a tool, just one tool in the ability to create hybrid work environments, which ultimately will increase productivity, I think, and make for a better work-life balance for employees.

scott:
Got it. Do you feel like when you meet with customers, they know what their hybrid work return plans are, or are these still in question?

Artie:
I think that they were knee-jerk reactions a year ago, even a year and a half ago. I think now what’s happening is people are putting statistics and metrics in place and are measuring what is necessary to maintain the highest level of productivity. I think that’s what Zoom did. You know, Zoom knee-jerk and said our product is perfect for everyone to work remotely. And after two and a half years of… everyone working remotely, they probably had a lot of measurements and determined that actual work productivity was not 100% better with 100% of people working remotely.

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
And we found it too, a hybrid model, I think is a better. The question is what ratio of hybrid, and I think that’s down to each company evaluating and taking the time to evaluate maximum productivity. For Pantera ourselves, What I chose as a metric is not just work productivity, but work-life balance productivity. So instead of, for example, forcing employees to travel or commute two hours a day, one hour to work, one hour back, and wasting two hours of their precious time with their families. You know, it was better and you get more long-term productivity out of your employees if you give them a work-life balance that’s maximized as opposed to purely a work maximization.

scott:
You know, it’s also going to, I think, threaten our ability to really understand productivity as AI, right? I mean, you know, I, people are beginning to produce, um, you know, we, we struggled with measuring productivity in purely hybrid environments, um, based on output versus, you know, work output as opposed to time in office, right? In a lot of ways. I mean. We still, I think many businesses struggle with the idea that, you know, it used to be that the person who was getting ahead was the first person to arrive in the last person to leave. And I think we’ve, we’re, we’ve agreed to try something else, but I don’t know that we know what the something else is yet. You know what I mean? And the challenge now that we’re going to have is, all right, we know is, is the person who produces more work in two hours with AI because they’re better with it or, you know, more capable or more attuned to using it. more productive than the person who works 10 hours, but produces less work than the other person? Like how’s that gonna come into our measurement around productivity in your mind?

Artie:
I think AI is an incredibly interesting topic. It’s another, I think, revolution. I think people will all acknowledge there’s an opportunity and a potential for it to be revolutionary.

scott:
Mm-hmm.

Artie:
But, and I think in the end, and I might be, I don’t know if I’m the minority or not, I think initially it’s a tool, just like unified communications is a tool. It’s a tool to be used. It can be manipulated and used for higher levels of productivity. It can be a tool that’s misused and abused as well. And we’ve seen several cases in the industry, the lawyer that took AI results straight off the bat without validating the references that it created, which were all false. So. It’s like any other tool. If I’m writing code and I want to create assembly language, I can hand code it, or I can use an assembler or a compiler. If the compiler is accurate and I can use it as a tool, then it saves me time

scott:
Mm-hmm.

Artie:
over hand compiling it. So AI is going to be a tool. I think where it gets really interesting is when AI becomes really powerful. and the guardrails or lack of guardrails can create macroeconomic, political, geopolitical havoc. So I think that’s a real concern. I think there are a lot of technology CEOs such as myself that sound that alarm and I do as well. So we just have to, we have to, it’s a tool until it gets abused. and become something greater than a tool for either good or bad.

scott:
Is it fair for me to ask your feeling on government involvement in regulating AI?

Artie:
You know, I have mixed feelings. I track this quite a bit. I really mixed feelings because you know, it’s so powerful. It’s like if you have some governments regulate it and other rogue governments that don’t regulate it, how is that going to work? So

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
you know, I leave it to those superintelligent, the father of AI. There’s going to have to be irrefutable or irreplaceable guardrails. created that can’t be essentially removed in my mind, or else AI has a real chance of becoming something that none of us want it to be.

scott:
Yeah. I’ve made the equation on the show a couple of times when we’ve gotten into AI discussions. This is very Asmavi and the immutable laws in iRobot are very much like kind of where we’re going now. I wonder who, to your point, who’s going to be the one to administrate it? It’s probably going to have to be the tech companies because comparing what individual governments are going to do is going to be very difficult. and limiting.

Artie:
The key word in your saying was immutable, because

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
if they’re not immutable, some rogue

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
tech company is going to immute them.

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
Or mute them, I guess is the word.

scott:
I’m with you. Well, I’m with you. And I’m sure you, like everybody, uh, you know, in tech has got some feeling for, for where and how AI fits into your long-term planning. Um, I want to get to chain changes you’ve made over the last year, but do you care to comment, is there anything, you know, how are you guys looking at AI, at least in terms of how it potentially becomes part of your product?

Artie:
Yeah, we’re certainly looking at it. We’re doing some evaluation and some prototyping. We certainly see the standard usages of virtual assistants, virtual receptionists as things that can be implemented with AI. But two areas that I’ll tell you that I have my keen eye on is using AI to much more effectively and efficiently implement administrative. tasks. So we’re working on an AI powered administrative portal for our system, which will allow administrators to much more quickly interact with the administrative portal in a natural language, natural voice methodology and simply

scott:
Mm-hmm.

Artie:
say, you know, I want to create a new location with 10 users in Omaha, Nebraska. and the system will literally do everything for them

scott:
Wow.

Artie:
and ask appropriate questions when it needs to. And then the same thing with our analytics portal. So imagine instead of having to have to statically create reports, being able to use natural language and natural voice to simply say, you know, show me the top 10 users with the longest queue times over the past month. And the AI analytics portal will just automatically create that. So we’re trying to look at where AI can again, our whole premise is don’t use technology or introduce technology for technology sake, but do it to actually improve the end customer’s productivity, efficiency. or ease of use.

scott:
Makes perfect sense. Well, let’s get back to, um, let’s jump back to what’s changed since we last met. I mean, you know, we, again, we were all coming at kind of coming on the back heels of the pandemic. And, you know, you shared a lot about improvements that you had made in your product at the time. Um, some of it was leaning into some features, supervisory features around video, uh, but let me just start by saying, you know, what’s, what’s new. Hit me with a top level on some of the things that you guys have pursued over the last 12 months.

Artie:
Yeah, I think from what we’re pursuing on a product side and solution side is to expand our solutions, to refine our solutions. I think it broadly falls into three different areas. The first area is our Connect video conferencing platform as we talked about last time, we continue to expand the feature set. We did talk about last time about supervisory mode, which is Essentially bringing over the ability to silently listen or join or even barge into a video call The same way you would do an audio call We’ve actually expanded that capability so that now a supervisor cannot only Supervise a monitor the monitor the host of a session, but he actually can bark supervisory mode anyone in that session that he has access control or supervisor remote capabilities. So if there’s a salesperson that’s actually the host of the meeting with an end customer, but the sales engineer is actually giving the presentation and the supervisor wants to be able to whisper in the sales engineers here to give them some coaching or text him privately, he can do that. So we’ve expanded that capability. We’re actually about to release full transcription, full captioning capability as well. So we’re continuing to expand the business tool set of Connect, the video conferencing platform that we have. The second area is that we’ve introduced and have deployed, fully deployed our Teams integration solution, which is really much more than just providing a connector solution to Teams where we would be the backend telephony. What we’ve heard time and time again, especially in the mid market, is that the Teams telephony backend is not as feature rich as they want, and is more cumbersome than they want. And so we’ve actually created a solution called Teams plus Streams, which is the best of both worlds. It’s the Teams user interface on the front end. but it’s all of the telephony features of streams in the backend. So all of the ring groups, hunk group features, all of the call recording features, dynamic call recording features, all of the auto tenant and IVR customizations and customized applications that you can create in our app designer. So you get the best of both worlds. You get the best of the Teams interface and you get the best of the telephony features of streams. And so that’s been a big win for us. And then the third area in order to expand our product set and provide more of a solution for our customers, we’ve actually signed an agreement with Five9s to sell and integrate the Five9s Contact Center solution into our streams solutions. So now you not only have UCAS solution. call center solutions, but also contact center solutions. And we’re finding that breadth of product and solution is a real plus and benefit to those mid-market customers we’re attacking.

scott:
Got it. Let me hit on a few things in each one of those. Let’s start on video conferencing. You know, you guys have really, it’s… understandably, because we’ve had the conversation, but if I’m a casual listener, I’m looking at it already and I’m going, it seems counterintuitive for a company, you know, Pantera network size to be developing video features when this is where this is the stuff of Microsoft and this is the stuff of Cisco. They’re spending their time there. Um, I wonder, you know, I guess my question is, have you found, is it your belief perhaps that You know, we’ve just kind of accepted the video that comes along with these collaboration solutions as good enough. And we’re really not innovating to the level that we historically had on video conferencing specific solutions.

Artie:
I don’t know if that’s my observation. I think my observation is the large companies, the Microsofts, the Ciscos of the world, are falling in the same pitfalls of their video conferencing platform that they have in many of their other solutions, which is gold plating, complexity for complexity’s sake. And that… was accelerated by the pandemic. So what happened is they were throwing every feature they could possibly think of. I was actually on a Teams call and I don’t wanna pick on any particular competitive product, but I, for the life of me, couldn’t figure out how to just even get like a grid layout. I figured it, you know, there was every other layout but a grid layout, which is what I actually wanted was a grid layout. And so the complexities of their products have come to the point where mid, especially mid-market customers, they’re looking actually for simplicity and ease of use and end-to-end solution. You know, they care more about an end-to-end secure solution than they do about, you know, 6,000 widgets in a

scott:
Got

Artie:
breakout room, which they’re not even using.

scott:
it. Okay. That’s fair. Although you have, you know, chosen to spend just, I was going to point out, this isn’t a question, it’s a statement. Time sort of developing a deeper feature set around this sort of supervisory interjection barge in modeling around the video conferencing solution that you have, because that, why, why do you think that’s something that, I mean, that sounds pretty unique to you guys, at least from my understanding.

Artie:
Yeah, it is unique to us and I’m not sure why that is, but it was a feature fully driven by our end customers. We weren’t actually going to deliver that capability, but time and time again, especially our call center customers and our higher end, larger customers, they basically drove us to that solution. So when we get customer driven feature sets, we look at them pretty hard. because that’s one of our benefits is that we can react fairly quickly to a feature requirement by an end customer.

scott:
Mm-hmm.

Artie:
And the breadth of that solution in terms of the impact over our customer base was virtually 100%. We ourselves, we do probably 25 to 50 supervised sales calls a day

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
with that solution. And we have already measured, we have measured. Results, measured analytical proven results where our close ratios went from more in the 30% to more in the 50% ratio.

scott:
because you’re able to do that supervisory look in on the video call.

Artie:
And we’re, because usually at this point, most closing calls with, especially with larger customers, 50 to 100, 200, 500 user customers, the end call, the last call or the last couple of calls are happening video.

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
And they have

scott:
It’s an interesting thought, right? Because you’re, you’re just accustomed to the phone system having those kind of barge and supervisory features, but customers don’t want to have phone calls with you anymore. They’re not buying with you that way. They’re buying with you. They’re buying from you when they see your face.

Artie:
Correct. And usually those C level people or high level people, you got them on that call once. You don’t get them on the call three times. There’s no follow up on those closing calls. So to be able to answer a question because the supervisor was able to provide that information

scott:
Mm-hmm.

Artie:
to whoever the presenter was in

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
real time or to be able to barge in and be able to you know answer the question as an expert. when the C-level person was asking for an expert’s answer, in real time, significantly improves the closing ratio.

scott:
Well, that’s a real interesting thought. Um, we’ll, we’ll just, we’ll leave that one as a takeaway, um, video conferencing solution that’s got, you know, close ability because it’s got a supervisory functions that makes sense. Tell me more about teams integration. I mean, you know, we, as I said, we’ve had all the UCAS platforms that are of substance, you know, on the show since our last year, you know, last meeting that you and I had and teams integration wasn’t something that you were as a platform were focused on. Um, last year, or perhaps I would imagine you were already building it, but it wasn’t part of the story yet. First off, I would say, you know, kind of why did you join them? Right? You know, what did you see in the market that said, hey, you know, we have our own platform that can stand on its own, but we should also have this. And then the second one is, you know, why engage in sort of a hybrid solution with you guys, then, you know, choosing… native teams approach.

Artie:
So I would say we didn’t join them. This is another example of how we took customer input or prospective customer

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
input. So it was really more an issue of, do we want to offer a solution that expands our market share, that actually expands our reach, and allows us to offer the Teams Plus Stream solution when we would not have even had the opportunity for that particular customer. So.

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
It was very much a prospective customer input. We also listened to a lot of our partners, such as Bridgepoint, that were saying that teams is here to stay and here are the deficits that we see with the team solution. And a lot of the competitors are not addressing those deficits in the telephony. They’re not offering a hybrid solution. They’re offering an either or, like our solution or their solution.

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
And so we said, okay so what do you want? What is the ideal? And they said well the ideal is to have a hybrid. And so that’s what we worked on was delivering a hybrid solution. So it allows us to get in there and I’ll give you a quick example of how that helps us. So first having the teams plus streams as I said expands market opportunity. So we get into opportunities where we didn’t even have the opportunity to quote or bid or compete in that particular deal. Having the Teams plus Streams allows us to differentiate against many of our competitors, but more importantly allows us to deliver the best solution to our end customer. And anecdotally, we’ve even had a few customers where we’ve sold the Teams plus Streams solution. And during the onboarding process, we have to actually introduce the Teams user interface to show them. what the backend telephony solutions are. And during that presentation of the streams interface, these customers have actually decided to go 100% streams

scott:
Mm-hmm.

Artie:
and actually kicked out the teams part of the solution. I think may have been for cost, may have been for complexity. And I’m not saying this is the majority by any stretch of the imagination, but we actually do have evidence in customers that say, Streams actually does everything we need teams to do. And so why are we really even trying to put the two together? So it’s really all about how can we solve the end customer solution as best as we can.

scott:
Sure. So, you know, without you, I mean, obviously you guys are partners and, you know, co-op petition at the same time. What are the areas where a team’s native voice solution falls down, at least with your prospects and customers, when they would want the hybrid solution? Like, what are the use cases? What are the things that… you know, you are amending into the solution that makes a Teams plus Streams solution viable to an end customer.

Artie:
I think that the biggest thing is when the customer is like already on some kind of hosted UCAS platform and Teams has come in and sold Teams and so now they’re getting off of the UCAS centric telephony centric

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
provider onto a Teams and then they get surprised at the primitive or basic nature of telephony features that the Teams fully Teams integrated telephony solution has. And so they say, well, wait, I’m used to having ring groups. I mean, there are no ring groups. I’m used to having hunt groups. There are no hunt groups. I’m used to having dynamic call recording and a portal for managing my call recording. And there are other features that are either limited or missing in the… Teams only telephony feature set. And so they either are missing those features because they had them before. And so they’re looking for them. And then when they see our Teams plus streams gives them exactly what they’re looking for. They get the, you know, usually the high level C level people have decided they want the Teams user interface but they don’t understand what it means with respect to the telephony backend. They just sort of say, make it work.

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
And so we give them that solution. We give them the make it work part.

scott:
Yeah. The execs want to go all teams until they realize that their assistant can’t answer their phone for them. And, and park call for them to be

Artie:
Right.

scott:
able to go. I got,

Artie:
Or

scott:
I get, I get

Artie:
for

scott:
that.

Artie:
the

scott:
Let me

Artie:
hunt

scott:
ask.

Artie:
group, that hunt group, sales hunt group doesn’t even work anymore.

scott:
Yeah, completely. Let me ask you about devices. Because I think there’s a couple schools of thought as we return to hybrid work, right? Yes, we’ve gotten very accustomed to working this way with a microphone in front of us and maybe a headset on. But there are businesses that have large investments in handsets, SIP handsets in the location. What is your strategy in that integration? Are those handsets registering to you and you’re doing a direct route to Microsoft or are you registering handsets to Microsoft and you’re just powering the back office?

Artie:
Yeah, no, they register to us. The DIDs register to us, and then we route them over

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
there. And we see one of the other benefits that we have in this environment is we support multiple locations per user. So they can actually have a home office location, a work office location, a mobile location, a hotel location. And That’s unusual. We’re one of the few providers that actually supports multiple devices in multiple locations.

scott:
Got it.

Artie:
So they can have an IP phone at home, an IP phone at work, an IP phone at a hotel location, maybe where they travel to a West Coast office. And that all can be within the Teams plus Streams user environment as well.

scott:
Got it. What happens if Teams, if those handsets are registered to you, what happens if Teams is having a bad day as Microsoft has been known to have? Are you able to, you’re operating next to it, so you’re still operating, you’re still taking in calls, you’re still bringing handsets?

Artie:
Well, remember, people who want Teams want it for the user interface, right? They’re opting not to use our user interface. They’re opting to use a Teams user interface. So if Teams goes down, your Teams user interface is going down.

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
So we do have our application, and some companies may choose to run them kind of both, one as a backup,

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
and that means training on the other user interface. So… You know, that’s not going to be the prevalent mode. The prevalent mode is they’re going to be pissed off because teams just went down.

scott:
Yeah. Got it. So do they, you know, but I mean, you, you still have the ability, I guess, those handsets are registering to you, not to Microsoft though,

Artie:
Right,

scott:
right?

Artie:
so

scott:
So

Artie:
they can

scott:
are you

Artie:
make

scott:
still

Artie:
a call,

scott:
able to support

Artie:
but they’re

scott:
dialing?

Artie:
not going to see it in their user interface, they’re

scott:
Got

Artie:
not going to see

scott:
it.

Artie:
presence, they’re not going to see messaging, they’re not going to see anything in their user interface, depending on how it went down. I

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
mean, if it went down not on their telephony part, if it went down on their presence engine or something like that,

scott:
Sure,

Artie:
maybe

scott:
sure, sure.

Artie:
more limited to the failure mechanism. But

scott:
Arty,

Artie:
other

scott:
I want

Artie:
than

scott:
to

Artie:
that,

scott:
ask you

Artie:
I think

scott:
just

Artie:
that’s a

scott:
one

Artie:
good point.

scott:
more question kind of about the business and what’s happening since then. When I was on the website, I saw kind of a call out to what you guys called secure and compliant cloud phone systems. And now that the COVID free pass is over, frankly, we meet with a lot of customers who are kind of getting back to… you know, doing the diligence to ensure that they’re compliant with their various regulatory concerns, generally in other PCI or HIPAA in some cases, you know, some other regulatory scenarios. You know, I’m curious what you mean when you say secure and compliant cloud phone systems, and what’s unique about that for

Artie:
Yeah,

scott:
you?

Artie:
I think one of the things being, having cloud as our DNA, not starting off on on-premise, but literally starting in the cloud, we took an end-to-end solutions approach to delivering the solution. And that really means, as a result, we take an end-to-end approach to security. So we’re not just securing the cloud service itself, but we’re securing end-to-end. So that means the connectivity between our service and your locations, be they remote locations, individual homes, office locations, and the devices and network that’s inside them. So we take an end-to-end approach. So everything is secure from the phone device, from the soft phone, from the PC or notebook that you’re interacting with, all the way through the connectivity. into our service and then back out. And that’s pretty unique to us. We do other things to really improve security. For example, I’m sure everyone is aware of that video bombing on video calls is still prevalent. If

scott:
Thank

Artie:
I

scott:
you.

Artie:
have a link, in fact, if I gave this link that you just gave me to it accidentally got out, people put it on the web, everybody would be joining this session. And passwords are only as good as you keep them secret. So if you gave somebody a link and said, here’s the password, by the way, to get into my link, and I took that whole email and put it out there, I can video bomb your session. With us, we actually implement full multi-factor authentication, even on the video conferencing sessions, on the Connect sessions. So I could give you the link. I could give you the password. You’re still not getting into my session, because it’s going to be multi-factor authenticated. So unless you have my email. unless you have my phone number or text message, you’re not getting into that session. So it’s an optional ability. So we always are looking at how to secure our tools and services to the highest degree to give our end customers confidence. So whether it’s being fully end to end HIPAA compliant, being fully PCI compliant, or whatever compliance we need, along with our ability to integrate our solution with… whatever security methodologies, active directory, whatever else they have and then customer might have, that’s always how we’re thinking about security.

scott:
Fantastic. All right. This has been really a great catch up conversation. I’m glad we really dug into it. I have, um, two fun questions to end with, and then I’m going to let you get back to your day. Uh, these are different fun questions than the fun questions I asked you last time we were together. Um,

Artie:
Oh my gosh.

scott:
the first one is, uh, I may have asked this, I’m not sure, but maybe your answer has changed, uh, but I don’t think that I did, I just did a shameless, some kind of prediction, 18 to 24 months. I. You just talked about AI, maybe that’s where it’s going to be, but what can you share with me about what you think is going to happen next?

Artie:
Yeah, I think, I don’t know if it’s shameless as opposed to concerning to me, but I think AI is going to have a strong blip of implementation and throwing stuff out there that we’re already seeing with ChatGPT and everybody and their brother’s uncle getting on the AI bandwagon. I think it’s going to show its potential. But I truly think over the next one to two years, the… political, economical, geopolitical. influences are going to cause AI to really go into chaos. Because I think it has, when you have something that has the power that AI potentially has without the proven ability to have guardrails, it’s almost like climate change. And I don’t want to get into that topic, but there’s a tipping point. hit past the tipping point without the guard rails, that’s gonna be a problem.

scott:
I’m with you. Great book, by the way, Tipping Point, which was the next question I had for you, which was, is there something that you are reading right now that you’d like to share with our, or have read in the past that you’d love to share with our listeners that is on Artie Chang’s end table?

Artie:
Yeah, I think you asked me this last time.

scott:
Did

Artie:
And

scott:
I?

Artie:
yeah, yeah. And unfortunately, this is the same answer, which is I’m not a big book reader. My eyes

scott:
Okay.

Artie:
are just not what they used to be.

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
So I’m a voracious news,

scott:
Okay.

Artie:
intake kind of person.

scott:
Yeah.

Artie:
And I would say, you know, I love challenges. So I would say what I’ve been doing is doing some running with my wife,

scott:
Mm-hmm.

Artie:
who have, we’ve completed together 95 marathons.

scott:
Get out of here.

Artie:
Well,

scott:
95.

Artie:
okay, 95. Okay, she’s done 91 and I’ve done four. Who wants to get to that detail? It’s just we both got 95.

scott:
Yeah, I hear you.

Artie:
So that’s a true statement, so I stand by it.

scott:
Okay, good, I love it. So you’re clearing your, what you’re recommending then is that, you know, maybe put down the book and clear your mind by getting a good run in.

Artie:
Yeah, I’m actually saying that I really promote this within the company that work is only part of life, work, and a balanced work life. And we really promote that. We really want to prevent burnout at Pantera. And it starts from the top. I live it that way. help you and your listeners and everyone else will also remember that, you know, life is all about experience and it’s not just about work. And, and we’re trying to provide tools that allow you to more productively create a work-life balance that’s productive in both sides of that equation.

scott:
Yeah. Sage words. And with that, and we’ll leave it at that. I don’t think we can improve upon that final statement. So, um, already, we will certainly make sure that folks know how to get a hold of Pantera networks. Um, and you’re obviously on LinkedIn as Arthur Chang. If someone wants to link in with you, we would recommend

Artie:
There you go.

scott:
that. Um, and, uh, you know, Pantera networks is that is Pantera networks.com, right? The full yeah, Pantera networks.com. Okay, well great. Well, listen, this was an amazing session. It was great to get caught back up with you. Congratulations on the new grandkids and more to come. And impending nuptials and all the other things that you have going on in your crazy life with 10 kids. It’s always good to see you and I appreciate you joining us today.

Artie:
Thanks so much for this. It’s really been great. This is a great podcast.

scott:
Fantastic, thanks so much Artie. Okay. Well, good stuff, sir. I’m gonna stop the recording.

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