by Rob Rinderman
NJTechWeekly.com contributor Rob Rinderman caught up with Jeff Miller, president and CEO of Bridgewater-based Synchronoss, shortly after his return from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which took place in early January.
An estimated global audience of 135,000 in-person attendees were at this year’s show, up from approximately 115,000 in 2023. Among the main themes of CES 2024 were artificial intelligence (AI), sustainability and inclusivity.
For those that have not yet had the pleasure of attending a past edition, CES features panels on hundreds of topics, as well as a myriad of tech-focused demonstrations, trade show booths and suites, networking parties, etc.
According to the official CES website, more than 1,400 startups had exhibition booths at Eureka Park (located at the Sands Convention Center, in Las Vegas), a subset of the more than 4,300 exhibiting companies from across the globe (150 countries represented). A staggering 2.5 million net square feet of space was used for exhibits, 15 percent above last year’s footprint.
Below are questions and answers from an email interview with Miller. The answers are mostly verbatim, with minor edits for enhanced clarity and brevity.
What is the Synchronoss Elevator Pitch?
We provide white-label cloud software solutions to our global telecom partners, enabling their customers to securely store, back up and manage their digital content. Synchronoss is a B2B commerce leader with strong partnerships across the global telecom sector, including Verizon, AT&T and SoftBank. Our innovative cloud products pave the way for engaging customer experiences that help carriers drive revenue growth and lower customer churn. We employ the latest machine learning and generative AI technologies to select, compile and present relevant, compelling flashbacks and curated highlights to end users, simplifying their access to, and editing of, their digital content. Overall, our platform provides flexibility and a unique carrier-branded experience, translating into higher customer satisfaction and loyalty for our partners.
What makes you unique compared with your peers? And whom do you consider to be your top competitors?
As I said, Synchronoss delivers cloud solutions on a white-label basis. We leverage our global platform to amplify the brand names and retentive value of our customers, known to subscribers as “AT&T Personal Cloud,” “Verizon Cloud” or as “Anshin Data Box” for SoftBank (in Japan). Our platform enables the capturing and sharing of digital content independently of Android or iOS operating systems, and provides the flexibility to access or store content from anywhere and from any device, including mobile devices, desktop or laptop computers or tablets. Additionally, unlike the cloud services of ecosystem providers, our cloud offerings are private by design, and will not leverage subscriber information or content for advertising or other monetization.
How did CES go? What were the main benefits of attending? Whom did you meet with in Las Vegas ?
We enjoyed a productive week at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, meeting with existing customers and partners like insurance provider Assurant and Verizon to chart the plan for 2024, plus we continued conversations with new prospects for our cloud solutions. We found key industry decision-makers on hand and discovered the latest innovations relevant to our business, making our involvement extremely worthwhile.
Were there any recent industry trends you heard about at CES that might impact your enterprise moving forward?
Throughout 2023, and notably at this year’s CES, artificial intelligence remained a centerpiece in presentations and industry discussions. We’ve been leveraging generative AI in our cloud platform through a feature we call “Genius,” which enables us to repair damaged photos, colorize black-and-white images and to transform a captured photo into a watercolor version of that image, creating an entirely new piece of art.
Is AI having a material impact on your business?
As mentioned, we invested years ago to capitalize on innovations in AI and machine learning, and we delivered it to customers last year through our Genius capabilities. We’ll be building upon this foundation in 2024 and well beyond, inviting users to better interact with their digital content or create something new entirely.
Discuss your personal/professional background and how it makes you an ideal leader of the company?
I’ve enjoyed a career spanning more than three decades developing and delivering advanced technology solutions, including messaging, video conferencing, smartphone and software solutions to enterprise and service-provider customers. Along this journey, I’ve been fortunate to build enduring customer relations across the globe that help support Synchronoss’ future growth. This experience has also instilled in me a keen appreciation for the power of building, developing and supporting a world-class team, such as the one we have at Synchronoss, with tremendous technical expertise, a deep understanding of global service providers and diverse guidance from our board.
What are specific benefits you derive from being based in the Garden State?
Synchronoss has called New Jersey our home for more than two decades, and we’ve been consistently able to attract and find key technical, sales, financial and leadership talent to evolve our business to change with the times and latest innovations. New Jersey is also home to our largest client, Verizon, so we’re able to maintain a [a finger on the] pulse of client needs and adapt our solutions to meet changing requirements. Additionally, New Jersey’s proximity to major tech hubs and industry clusters provides us with strategic advantages in terms of market insights and partnerships.
How many employees do you have and also how many are in New Jersey?
At the end of 2023, Synchronoss completed a significant transformation by finalizing the divestiture of our messaging and NetworkX businesses to Lumine Group, in Canada, resulting in our entering 2024 as a cloud-only business. Following the divestiture, Synchronoss has over 750 employees globally, with approximately 250 in New Jersey.
What are the pros and cons of being publicly traded?
As a public company, we’re able to attract a broad range of investors to enable our future growth and expansion. We are also able to attract high-caliber talent, which is assisted by our status as a public organization. However, the evolving landscape of regulatory and disclosure requirements is increasingly complex to navigate and demands significant annual costs to maintain our compliance.
What’s key to growth for Synchronoss as you enter 2024?
During 2023 we launched SoftBank’s Cloud offering, Anshin (“peace of mind”) Data Box in Japan, and we signed an extension to our commercial relationship with Verizon through 2030. As we step into 2024, our growth strategy will not only focus on continuing the adoption of our platform among these key clients, including long-term customers like AT&T, but also on[JG1] expanding into new channels for enhanced retail presence and visibility. This includes forming strategic partnerships to boost retail visibility and leveraging digital marketing techniques to attract a broader consumer base. These efforts are expected to complement our device setup strategies and contribute significantly to our growth and market presence in 2024 and beyond.
Rob Rinderman has been a trusted adviser and consultant to senior executives at public and private organizations for over 30 years. He advises companies and entrepreneurs on business development, strategic communications, marketing/social media, capital sourcing preparedness, turnkey-valuation-related services and other areas.