September 28, 2020
Member Spotlight: Meet Syniverse’s John McRae .
Wireless technologies—including everything from 5G and the IoT—are changing the way we work, learn, communicate and interact with our surroundings. Today’s emerging technologies are already presenting new business opportunities and services, and more is yet to come. Syniverse President of Carrier Business John McRae gave us a deep dive on wireless, and how his company is helping it evolve to meet the needs of businesses and customers.
Can you introduce yourself and explain your role at Syniverse?
I’m John McRae, president of Syniverse’s carrier business unit. Part of my job involves leading a fantastic group of 1,700 plus employees worldwide, and focusing on how Syniverse can add value and drive change and innovation for our customers and the mobile ecosystem, where we serve as a trusted intermediary.
How did Syniverse become involved in interoperability?
John McRae: Before Syniverse stepped in, if you were a mobile operator, you had to decide whether and how to connect to 900 operators around the world. Wouldn’t you rather connect to one operator and have a trusted intermediary who can then connect to everybody else for you?
This is why Syniverse is crucial to wireless communications. We drive efficiency into the industry, and that efficiency trickles down to operators, who then pass it along to their customers in the form of better quality and lower costs. One great example is the mobile phone: it’s one technology whose price has consistently gone down since its introduction. And I think that’s due to Syniverse’s cooperation with industry partners, wireless operators and groups like CTIA.
What do you see as the most exciting thing that's happening at Syniverse right now?
John McRae: We’re very excited about 5G and rich communication services (RCS). Syniverse has been focusing on 5G since the day we first helped launch the 4G network. When we focus on growing the ecosystem and adding more capabilities and use cases, we create a wireless wave that all companies in the industry can participate in. So that’s really been our focus as we’ve looked at 5G.
Syniverse connects billions of wireless devices and provides services in more than 200 countries. What will be the impact of 5G and IoT on those numbers?
John McRae: That’s exactly right. Our network has the greatest reach and volume you can imagine—5G and the IoT are only going to drive that even further. 5G brings high speed and low latency, enabling wireless users to connect everything from cars to smart cities. This means there will be more data, more connected devices and more reach. So the more we can focus on helping to grow that ecosystem by providing the support and technologies to help make things interoperable, the greater the value for our customers.
How do you see text messaging evolving to meet customer needs?
John McRae: Understanding text messaging is a major focus for Syniverse. One thing that is really exciting with text messaging is the communications platform as a service (CPaaS). CPaaS will be a crucial tool for businesses that want to be able to reach out and talk to their customers in a variety of different ways—from text and push notifications, to voice calls and emails. It allows businesses to meet their customers where they are, and communicate with them in the most effective way for that particular customer. I think on average, when a person receives a text, they will usually look at it within three minutes. From a marketing point of view, if I want to reach a customer, that’s a pretty good way to do it.
For people who are interested in pursuing a career in wireless, what is one piece of advice that you would give them?
John McRae: I guess the biggest thing I would say is this: “Buckle up.” It’s going to be a really exciting ride over the next five to ten years as we grow 5G and several other emerging technologies. We’re really excited because it’s going to be filled with new opportunities and challenges that are going to take a diverse set of technologies and mindsets to solve. New use cases that don’t yet exist are right beyond the horizon, and now is the perfect time to jump in.
What does CTIA membership mean for Syniverse?
John McRae: Our relationship with CTIA has existed for 30 years, and has been a critical part of Syniverse’s growth as a company. CTIA has helped guide us through the many changes that have happened in the industry. Our membership has really helped us play key roles in the evolution of our industry, including the jump from 3G to 4G, and now 4G to 5G. Furthermore, working with the industry helps Syniverse understand the solutions we need to bring to the market to drive that value to our customers and to the ecosystem as a whole. Here at Syniverse we’re proud to be members of CTIA.
This interview has been edited and condense for clarity.
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