Channel Hears New Pitch for Unified Communications

Objectworld updates UC Server and steps up channel recruitment efforts by targeting Microsoft VARs active in the SMB space

Software vendor Objectworld Communications Corp. has updated its key UC server product and stepped up its commitment to channel partners who target small business users.

Company executives said UC Server Standard Edition, which runs on Windows platforms, now supports a broader range of PBX systems from vendors such as Avaya, Nortel, Cisco, NEC, Mitel and others. The new update, Version 4.3, should make it easier for resellers to offer SMB customers a broader range of telecom solutions and help ease their transition from legacy PBX systems to IP networks.

"The product now supports 98 percent of the PBXs out there," said Dave Schenkel, Objectworld's CTO. "This puts unified communications at a very affordable price."

At the same time, the company is seeking to attract more traditional IT solution providers to its more telecom-oriented solution provider reseller base of about 150.

"The product runs on any Microsoft platform, so it is important for us to reach the Microsoft solution providers that understand the value of unified communications," said Vincent Guihan, director of sales and marketing communications. "The Microsoft channel is a huge opportunity."

Guihan said the company intends to actively recruit into its training program VARs that have networking expertise and some familiarity with network trunk provisioning. Status as a certified Microsoft solution provider is not a prerequisite, he added.

"The channel is extremely important," Guihan said. "It is our key growth area. We are focusing on the reseller channel."

Telecom has in general been an area of growing interest for the channel, especially those resellers able to leverage their existing networking expertise into emerging vertical markets such as IP telephony or VoIP. However, it can be challenging for some VARs to make this transition, and they generally seek support from vendors or distributors to help smooth the path.

Schenkel noted that with a product such as UC Server Standard Edition, channel partners are able to offer small and medium businesses a less expensive, more flexible alternative to replacing expensive PBX systems. The product runs over existing PBXs, which means expensive new hardware isn't needed, and allows a later transition to an IP telephony or VoIP solution if needed by moving to UC Server SIP edition. That allows VARs to present a strong ROI case for the product.

Executives said future enhancements to its UC Server product will include support for Windows Server 2008 and interoperability with Grandstream Networks desktop phones. Currently, the product supports Polycom and Snom desktop telephones.

Daniel Janer, sales vice president for Objectworld reseller Teoma Systems, said the updated version of UC Server provides more flexibility for business customers.

TAGS: Windows,Microsoft,server,support,networking,SMB,IT,Windows Server 2008,marketing,Cisco,CA,unified communications,NEC,OS,VoIP,desktop,VAR,PBX,Nortel,distributor

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