XO puts cloud effort under relaunched Concentric brand

XO Communications' cloud-centric subsidiary Concentric Cloud Solutions may sound new, but the name dates back to the late 1990s as a fledgling web hosting company that eventually merged with Nextlink to form today's XO.

By giving the brand new life, the new unit hopes to take charge of the relatively untapped SMB cloud services market, offering a suite of virtualization, content acceleration, and interactive contact center solutions.

Led by XO alum Mike Toplisek, who is now the president of the new unit, Concentric will deliver its services via a mix of its own cloud technology and from partners such as Limelight Networks, LiveOps, and VCE. It will also be able to deliver its services over XO's existing IP/MPLS network.

Concentric will have a corporate office in Smyrna, Ga. in addition to development centers in Oregon and Texas.

Offered in an on-demand model, Concentric will serve up three key lines of business: content acceleration, cloud computing and cloud voice. In each of those domains there are various products that they will sell with a number of variations that can be used to meet a specific customer's needs.

Users can bundle any combination of these services.

Each of these lines of business will have their own dedicated sales teams that Peter Papavasiliou, VP of Marketing, Concentric Cloud Solutions, said will focus on selling services initially to XO's 90,000-plus customer base. Over time Concentric will target non-XO specific customers.

"Concentric essentially is an agile startup within a larger organization," he said. "Obviously, we're a division in XO, but we have autonomy to build the company as we see fit and in certain places we will leverage common resources like legal and human resources."

A key point of the best of breed partner portfolio is its Content Deliver Networks (CDN) services. Traditionally, CDN services that are offered by larger players like Akamai, Level 3, and Limelight were designed with larger businesses in mind.

"Limelight was focused on the higher end customers, but from a Concentric point of view we're focused on the SMB customer base," Papavasiliou said.  "We feel like the market has been pretty well underserved not only for CDN, but also for cloud-based voice and cloud-based data services."

Offered as a simple-to-understand bundle that leverages Limelight's technology, Papavasiliou said the CDN focus will help SMBs accelerate their web site performance without the need to go out and purchase and maintain hardware-based WAN Optimization products.

"We have an inside sales team that we built bundled solutions for so they can sell a site acceleration service or a video platform service," he said. "Concentric has a lot of interesting tools that can show a customer you can load their page in two seconds versus eight seconds."

Since Concentric's customer base touches various vertical segments, such as retail and healthcare, that have to abide by specific industry regulations, it plans to offer PCI and other compliance programs.

For more:
- see the release  

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