Every August, the best triathletes in the country congregate for the annual USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship. This year, the event was held in the ever-so-charming city of Omaha, Nebraska. That is particularly special to me because, in addition to having friends in Omaha, I was also honored to have earned an invitation to compete. Right about now I imagine you’re thinking one of two things. Either, “What in the world does this have to do with cloud communications?” Or the more common, “What in the world is wrong with you?” I’ll admit there’s nothing obvious about the link between competitive endurance sports and hosted telephony, but I assure you, the similarities are plenty. Before reviewing them, though, it’s also important to point out that, being a bit of a talker, I was impressed to see how many of the athletes I spoke to (and there were plenty, let me tell you) who were, like me, working remotely as part of their visit to the state known for its corn-husking. Interestingly, though, the pair share other commonalities along their respective paths, so as I wait in the Eppley Field Omaha Airport a mere 2 miles from the race course typing this, it seems like a fun comparison to draw.
Young and Scrappy
This doesn’t even remotely mirror how I’d describe my place in triathlon’s ranks, but it does describe both of the organizations to which I belong, specifically, USAT and VirtualPBX. VirtualPBX, I should not need to remind you, just celebrated our 20th Anniversary. And while in terms of the VoIP industry, that’s about as long as any company can have been in business, in the grand scheme of communications industries in general, it’s barely in its infancy. Plus, we have enough scrappy to spare! From our recent product of the year award for the VirtualPBX Desktop Softphone to the game-changing introduction of Dash and VPN for VoIP, we definitely like to rock the boat. Triathlon is also a young sport, relatively, in that it wasn’t even until the 1970’s that designing and competing in one ever occurred to anyone. Though the actual origin stories of the first triathlon ever tend to have some variations, considering that sports like soccer have roots dating back as far as 2,000 years back, you can hardly call it a tradition. Additionally, with triathlon now in the Olympics and Paralympics (the latter being won by an American woman in its Olympic debut!), it’s safe to say that it has earned its place in the pantheon of sport.
Each of these two seemingly separate worlds also have the fact that they are growing exponentially in popularity in common, too. VoIP and related unified communications services are expected to be a $140 billion market in the United States alone by the year 2021. Say what you want about it, but $140 billion is enough to make anyone pay attention. There is similar growth in triathlon, too. With thousands of events all over the world garnering entry fees as high as $1,000 in some instances, it’s no wonder that investment managers are looking into the world of endurance sports for their next big return. Plus, considering that other single event sports like cycling and running are seeing renaissances and booms in participation, it’s safe to say that the overall health of the endurance community is as good as the people who partake in it.
Whatever the similarities between triathlon and VoIP may be, however, one thing is decidedly not the same. I’m referring to speed, of course, or more accurately, my speed this weekend. There were a lot of records set and champions crowned over the weekend, but while VoIP continues to blaze its path at an accelerating rate, this VoIP representative won’t be representing Team USA anytime soon. All kidding aside, though, if it weren’t for the reliability of VirtualPBX’s Dash VoIP network and the flexibility of our remote working policies, I wouldn’t have been able to compete at all. For that, and for having concluded another safe and happy race weekend, I am very grateful. Until next time, let us know what kind of activities you would do if you could work from anywhere by sharing them on Twitter or Facebook, and remember that just getting out there means you’re lapping everyone on the couch!