Empowering Connections, Advancing an Industry

It was a day of milestones in Orlando at the inaugural Toll-Free User Summit.

More than 150 attendees from 70+ organizations gathered to discuss the future of our industry. And the headline was resoundingly clear: The opportunity for Toll-Free is vibrant and promising. You could sense it in the energy. And you could see it in all the new innovation and bold ideas that we shared at the event.

Toll-Free has evolved significantly. Today, there are more than 40 million numbers in use with a new code opening scheduled for 2017, and a major drive to expand Toll-Free to support data communication. Our core value as a trusted form of communication is more relevant than ever in a world that depends more than ever on connections.

We stand at the threshold of a new era for Toll-Free. And we’d like to think that through this Summit, we’ve taken some major steps forward. 

For one, we introduced our new name and brand identity – Somos. Yes, we have a new logo, new business cards, and a new Website. But more importantly, we have exciting plans to modernize our SMS/800 voice platform and to expand our Texting & Smart Services Registry to open new growth markets for our customers.

And the reason why we wanted to unveil Somos in front of our customers is because, as Somos, we want to create an industry forum for fresh ideas about connectivity. We want Somos to serve as a catalyst that brings our industry together to enable future innovation and growth.

To advance as an industry, we need to understand how major change is achieved in our world. So we invited Tom Koulopoulos, author of The Gen Z Effect, to deliver a timely keynote.

Tom shared a fundamentally important lesson: “You can’t use the patterns of the past to navigate the future.” As an industry, Toll-Free must create a new lens to see its future.

Tom challenged attendees to understand the behaviors that drive connectivity, because it’s in meeting people’s most important needs that we’ll discover our opportunity to transform. 

And he concluded that real change won’t happen unless an entire industry embraces it. It’s not about one or two companies developing the next killer app – it’s about an ecosystem that allows those killer apps to take root and redefine the value we all deliver.

At the Summit, we heard from the FCC and some of our industry’s top companies on what keeps them up at night and what they see as our the most promising opportunities for our industry’s future.  

Whether it’s working through the IP transition, redefining the value proposition for Toll-Free, expanding Toll-Free to support texting and multi-media communication and then selling that idea to millions of organizations, we can’t get there individually.

And that’s not just a sentiment. As Tom pointed out in his keynote, if you look at recent winners of the Nobel Prize in the physical sciences, you’ll see a striking pattern. The award traditionally was awarded to individuals. But now, it’s awarded just as often to teams.

Problems are solved in our age through collaboration.  And it’s why The Toll-Free User Summit was such as an important milestone for our industry.

Through our time collaborating at the Summit, we reflected on where our industry is headed. We learned about Somos and how we will reinvent the way we do business with our customers. We celebrated success and made new friends.

And while we each journeyed back on separate flights, we formed important bonds that will live beyond this event and deepen throughout the year.

These are the bonds that will unite us as an industry to chart our future together.   

Check back soon for detailed summaries of all the Toll-Free Summit presentations.

Michelle Larsen
Michelle Larsen
SVP & Chief Experience Officer

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