Vision for the Future

Graham Fry

Comms Business Magazine talks to Graham Fry, Managing Director of Kingston, Surrey based reseller AVSNET about his business and how he has successfully diversified his applications and product portfolio to meet the challenges and opportunities of the day.

The Convergence Summit 2014 at Sandown Park Esher was the venue for our interview with Graham Fry, Managing Director of AVSNET. Graham was looking forward to appearing as a panellist in our Collaboration Applications in Action debate.

AVSNET was formed in 2005, has some 50 employees and has a turnover in the region of £12m. Coming from an audio visual sales and distribution background Graham Fry decided to launch his own AV Solutions company as a reseller.

“By 2010 the market had become very different; many telecoms based resellers had were getting engaged in our market successfully selling AV and UC applications so we had to respond to this challenge – which we did by diversifying ourselves in to unified communications and network services.

As a consequence we renamed the company AVSNET to reflect our new direction and to support this strategic change we acquired a small Cisco reseller who provided us with a significant boost in overall networking skills.

Video conferencing has been a catalyst for a lot of change and today AVSNET has a full portfolio of unified communications and collaboration applications which includes voice and networking services.

Our current suppliers include Polycom for whom we have been a Gold Partner for the last five years. We believe that the endpoint is the most important ‘badge’ to provide as it’s what people touch and feel.

Of course we are a Cisco reseller through distributors – Comstor for networking and Azlan for video.

Microsoft Lync is having an impact in the market – I would say it is on the agenda for around 80% of the people we talk to. Our role in this market has to become a supplier supporting the Lync endpoint wrap. What I mean by this is that AVSNET provides Lync optimised products such as Polycom handsets and Jabra and Plantronics headsets to help users more easily adopt the technology.”

Fry says that a lot have users have bought in to technology but are not getting the most from it.

“We need to make the user experience as simple and as easy as possible,” says Fry, adding, ‘By do this for our users we can drive demand for more uptake of the applications throughout their business.”

In terms of voice applications AVSNET has seen considerable recent success through their partnership with hosted telephony and network services provider AVC One.

“AVC has proved to be very creative as a partner when it comes to selling hosted telephony.

The partnership with AVC One works on several levels, not least of which is the fact that AVC has a European reach through their network capability which in turn enable us to address a far greater number of user applications where the reach of their networks extends beyond UK borders.

Secondly, AVC One has unique licence structure which enables us to become both creative and very competitive in the market.

If you add these benefits to the flexibility in their user billing platform, where we will shortly have our own white label platform, and the reciprocal partnership around the AVSNET video offering then we can foresee a very mutually profitable relationship on-going.

Looking to the future Fry is set on achieving growth for his company not only through direct sales but also via a growing channel business with resellers.

“We have a lot of complimentary skills to offer partners in the areas of audio visual, unified communications, networking and telephony – in fact a complete portfolio for them and their end users.