Business Monday

Telefonica USA links business to the world

The reception area at Telefonica USA’s headquarters,1111 Brickell Ave., Miami.
The reception area at Telefonica USA’s headquarters,1111 Brickell Ave., Miami. Telefonica

The company and its products: Miami-based Telefonica USA helps cattleman keep track of their herds and provides sophisticated data and voice communications services to banks, multinational companies and small businesses throughout the United States.

It also serves wholesale clients like mobile operators, content providers and Internet service providers.

Founded in 2000, Telefonica USA is part of the Telefonica Business Solutions group, which provides a wide range of advanced telecommunications services to businesses in Europe, Latin America and the U.S. A unit of Spain’s telecom giant, Telefónica S. A., the Miami operation has invested $9 million in recent years to expand its large data center in Doral and has built a highly skilled workforce of more than 200 in Miami, plus 100 more in the rest of the U.S.

The Miami unit was set up to provide business-to-businesses services to multinational firms and large companies based here, in Europe and Latin America that do business here and overseas, as well as with small and mid-sized concerns here.

“Although we have people in New York, San Francisco, Seattle and other part of the country, our headquarters is in Miami as it is the crossroad where the Latin American market meets the States,” said Ángel Barrio, the CEO of Telefonica USA, in response to questions emailed by the Miami Herald.

“We have many companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies served from here,” he said. The company provides a full range of advanced, integrated services including cloud computing, security, international voice, M2M (machine to machine connections), IoT (Internet of Things applications), Internet Protocol (IP), mobility, satellite services, and bandwidth capacity, he said.

Barrio provided an example of Telefonica’s innovative services: Last year, it signed an agreement with Cattle-Watch, experts in cattle and livestock management, which involves placing monitors on cattle. The devices transmit data on locations, feeding, disease, pasture quality and births for herds in remote areas.

Telefonica’s operations in Miami also include the U.S. base for its Telxius subsidiary, which operates telecommunications towers and undersea fiber optic cable.

Getting started: Telefonica USA set up its business solutions regional headquarters in Miami in 2000 to assist the company’s multinational and wholesale customers in the U.S., Latin America and other regions. It also built a state-of-the-art data center in Doral to serve the U.S. and Latin America. Parent company Telefónica S.A., based in Spain, started in 1924 as a telephone company.

The difference: “In addition to our network and services, our main asset is the expertise we bring to the table when talking about Latin America, Europe and the United States,” Barrio said. Telefonica’s advanced data center in Doral, with built in redundancies and backup systems, supports customers 24/7. It is directly connected to other Telefonica data centers in Spain and Brazil and provides full disaster recovery and business continuity solutions. “We don’t only bring you our 300 people in the U.S. We bring you our whole team, approximately 125,000 employees around the globe.”

Sales: Telefonica USA has seen “healthy growth in revenues over the past years,” Barrio said. “2016 in particular was a very successful year in year in terms of results in the U.S.”

Parent company Telefónica S.A. does not provide figures on the performance of Telefonica USA, but the corporation reported overall 2016 revenues of approximately $55 billion.

Competitors: Depending on the region, the firm competes with AT&T, América Móvil, Vodafone and other major telecoms.

Learning experience: “Every company makes mistakes, and the important thing is to learn quickly and adapt,” Barrio said. “I remember some not-so-wise decisions we took back in the .com bubble, but even those bad decisions led us to what we are today. Agility is the name of the game these days. If you’re going to fail, you’d better fail fast and learn fast from your errors.”

Outside view: Gartner Inc., the prestigious independent research and advisory firm, last year included Telefonica Business Solutions in its “visionary” category of mobility providers for the third year in a row. This category covers firms that, among other things, “have an early-mover advantage in providing project-based services such as consulting, development and integration,” and “maintain the potential to quickly become leaders,” Gartner said.

What customers say: Aasim Saied, chairman and CEO of Akyumen Technologies Corp., a California-based developer and builder of innovative mobile devices and software, works with Telefonica on business relations for devices, content distribution network (CDN) management and TokBox, a unit of Telefonica’s parent that operates a leading cloud platform. “Their services are top of the line and saved us time and money using their software and infrastructure,” Saied said. “We chose Telefonica USA because they are a forward-thinking telecom company. Their team is open-minded and will go the extra mile to help their clients achieve their goals. Of 30 carriers we have been in talks with, Telefonica ranks the highest in customer service and efficiency.”

Telefonica has been providing Miami-based TotalBank with advanced data center and communications services for five years, said Ariel Carrion, the bank’s senior vice president and director of information technology. “TotalBank was able to leverage Telefonica’s [data center] infrastructure to upgrade legacy technologies with data and voice communications services,” he said. “We have found that co-managed hosted services through Telefonica are a different model approach that gives us flexibility to adapt to business demands while having a scalable, outsourced model. Telefonica’s solutions are scalable and dynamic while still being cost-competitive with local providers.”

Challenges: Technology is helping to break down barriers as the U.S. and Latin American economies grow closer. “Never in history has it been so easy to set up a business that caters to millions of people distributed throughout many countries,” Barrio said. Telefonica is the telecommunications bridge linking the U.S., Europe Latin America and the rest of the world. “We keep reinventing ourselves every day to give our 350 million customers worldwide the best service available.”

Outlook: “Cloud without a doubt,” will be one of the strongest markets, Barrio said. “Telefonica USA is becoming a cloud center of excellence. With the launch of our Telefonica Open Cloud service node here in Miami we expect to play a significant role in the increasing adoption of cloud computing in Latin America by American companies.”

The writer can be reached at josephmannjr@gmail.com.

Business: Miami-based Telefonica USA is part of the Telefonica Business Solutions group, which provides a full range of advanced, integrated telecommunications services globally to multinational firms and other large enterprises, as well as to smaller businesses. Its business-to-business services include cloud computing, security, international voice, M2M (connecting machines to machines), Internet Protocol (IP), mobility, satellite services, and bandwidth capacity.

U.S. headquarters: 1111 Brickell Av., Miami, plus a high-tech data center in Doral.

Founded: 2000. Parent Telefónica S.A., a multinational telecommunications company based in Spain, was set up in Madrid in 1924.

CEO for the U.S.: Ángel Barrio, who is based in Miami.

Employees: Over 200 in Miami, plus another 100 direct employees in other U.S. offices.

Website: http://www.us.telefonica.com

Source: Telefonica USA

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