The BEST Convergence Summit Ever!

The BEST Convergence Summit Ever!

For Rocom’s Richard Carter and Paul Burn the Gala Dinner was also a time to talk business.

At 4pm on Wednesday 7th September the doors closed on what was without doubt the best ever Convergence Summit exhibition and conference.

Over 1200 senior Channel personnel descended on Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire for the biggest “coming together” of convergence players the UK has ever seen.

The seminar sessions which were hosted by high profile speakers from companies such as Datamonitor, MZA, Cisco and BT offered standing room only to late comers, proving that a need for information on convergence has never been greater.

 

Miles Bossom, Event Director commented “the buzz around the show was amazing from the minute the doors opened to the minute they closed. On both days the attendance beat previous records and according to our exhibitors “a lot of business was done”.

 

Debates:

It was no coincidence that Comms Business Magazine had scheduled an article on the subject of hosted IP PBX applications this month. With a raft of exhibitors at the Convergence Summit showing their product offerings in this market it also made eminent sense to get a discussion going about the overall channel propositions available.

With standing room only at the back of the hall, resellers packed in to hear the panel members; George Zaremba – MD, AlwaysOn VPN, Sue Davidson, Senior Vice President, Viatel, Huib Coopmans from MCI and David Millett – of Avaya, chew on the questions posed by editor Ian Hunter.

Is the technology robust enough? “Its carrier class – will that do?” Commented Sue Davidson. But what is the reseller proposition? “It’s a migration process and its about building service revenue streams” seemed to be the consensus but the overall message is that resellers need to watch the space very closely and research who they are going to partner with.

In the second panel debate TeleWare’s Lesley Hansen castigated the whole channel supplier and vendor chain when asked to comment on how good a job they were making of promoting convergence applications in general and mobility solutions in particular.

TeleWare had in fact a fantastic show; they signed a strategic partnership with Global Crossing at the show, signed up a number of resellers including John Sargood’s Rise Voice and Data and Edge Solutions, extended the hosted solutions agreement with HashNine to cover new services and identified fourteen other resellers that wanted to take discussions to the next level.

Hansen commented, “Apart from all this TeleWare felt that the pitch session they carried out and participation in conference program helped to make the event a success and very worthwhile.”

TeleWare has already confirmed that they will be back to the Summit in 2006

 
Jim Robertson shows David Dyer of Siemens around the MTV Telecom stand
 

Taking Advantage:

Never one to miss an obvious opportunity, Ali Zartash-Lloyd, Sales & Marketing Director at Samsung Telecom had arranged for his channel partners to receive a full briefing on the new Samsung 7000 series communications platform which was shown for the first time at the Summit.

Lloyd told Comms Business Magazine that the 7200 model is available now whilst the larger 7400 will come to market in Q1 2006. “The 7000 series addresses new markets and brings with it a number of built in data applications. Our channel partners received the news of the product very positively and I see the sweet spot for the product being in the 35 to 85 user market, although we are targeting businesses employing from twenty to 150 people.”

Lloyd went on to say OfficeServ 7200 marks a significant milestone in the development of Samsung’s portfolio. “This state of the art solution will be welcomed by voice resellers looking to tap further into the enormous potential of the data side of the converged market. By deploying both a firewall and an intrusion detection/prevention system (IDS) the OfficeServ 7200 is particularly strong on network security. The IDS not only monitors network traffic but reports attempted security breaches to the network manager by way of an alarm. 7200 of course also provides all of the telephony features and rich functionality necessary for mobility solutions and home working that resellers have come to expect from Samsung’s OfficeServ suite. It offers huge opportunities for Samsung resellers to enter lucrative new markets, allowing both data and voice specialist resellers to diversify into the brave new world of convergence.”

 

Opportunity Gateway

A long time supporter of the Convergence Summit, QuesCom, a provider of GSM gateways for IP and ISDN environments, showcased the features of its new mobility software suite for QuesCom 400. Speaking at the show Country Manager Teddy Theanne told Comms Business Magazine the new software allows companies to integrate corporate fixed-lines and mobile phones and to benefit from a range of services designed to bring value and efficiency to corporate communications. “The suite allows calls to be made and received in a mobile environment as if in a virtual office and provides the same call features on mobile phones as a fixed line extension. It also extends unified messaging features to mobile users and improves cost optimisation for mobile originated calls. Mobile VPN agreements with mobile network operators can be leveraged and further drop telecom costs.

“The Convergence Summit provided an excellent opportunity for us to reach more resellers than ever before. Customers will be able to benefit from cost-effective and flexible solutions that deliver immediate savings of up to 90% on corporate phone bills. This is achieved by calls being routed automatically to VoIP or mobile providers with the best rates – a great selling point for resellers that are trying to persuade their customers to migrate to a VoIP environment.”

QuesCom also used the Convergence Summit to highlight its channel accreditation program, which makes it even easier for resellers to take advantage of the company’s

James Emm of Platinum Sponsor Oak Telecom – a master of all he surveyed
unique and highly competitive solutions. “The program underscores QuesCom’s commitment to provide its channel partners with healthy margins and immediate, tangible business benefits to their customers. Resellers can, therefore, focus completely on meeting their own sales targets and building sustainable relationships with their customers” concluded Theanne.

 

Debut:

Making their first appearance at a Summit, Virtual Access launched their Business VoIP Management to ensure QoS for Service Providers.

Nigel Ifill, Sales Director Virtual Access commented: “Poor QoS has long been a contributing factor to the poor take-up of VoIP by businesses and we have invested significant R & D resources to address this problem. Our Clearway technology controls converged voice and data jitter and latency both upstream and downstream, even for service providers who rely on the BT IP stream and have no QoS at the core.”

The Virtual Access Business VoIP Management system is centrally configured and managed. No support staff are involved in commissioning the technology allowing the service provider’s staff to work directly on real customer issues.

New Hosted IP Telephony provider HIPCOM made sure they got noticed at this year’s show by bringing the King himself along to raise their profile. Elvis spent time with exhibitors and visitors alike, posing for photographs and helping to make sure that everyone who attended now knows the HIPCOM name. Tony Brook, HIPCOM MD explains why:

“At a time where there are a number of Hosted IP Telephony companies coming into the marketplace we know that it will be hard for prospective resellers to differentiate one from another. We are the only Broadsoft distributor in the UK and the only company that can provide partners with the means to set up a Hosted IP Telephony service using their own platform if required. Add to that our fully brandable Atreus provisioning portal and we really do stand out from the competition – so we wanted to make sure that no-one went away from the show without being aware of our presence. We chose Elvis as he has obvious associations with our name and we’re pleased to say that he certainly helped us to achieve our aims.

The Convergence Summit was an excellent show for us at this time, with a significant number of high quality partner leads being generated for HIPCOM. We felt that the audience were genuinely interested in what was on offer and the organisation of the whole event was extremely professional. We have already signed up for next year”.

 

Eddie Fox of Trust Distribution explains how it all works
 

Tri-Line Triumph at Summit

Kay Tobin, Commercial Director of London-based call-logging specialists Tri-Line says they were swamped with enquiries and expect to achieve over £50,000 worth of new business as a result of the “incredible” interest shown in its popular ‘TIM Professional’ call-logging product.

“Tri-Line is currently signing up ten new resellers every month and has already been nominated for a string of top awards for its unique call-logging and management solution, which is now Europe’s fastest-selling CTI product. We are making some very positive waves in the industry and, seeing ‘TIM Professional’ in action at the show, I can see why,” said one Midlands-based telecoms reseller. The response from voice and data resellers has been fantastic. We have scores of leads to follow up and expect these to turn into tens of thousands of pounds in new business. The incredible demand for ‘TIM Professional’ confirms our belief in the product and highlights our growing leadership in this sector of the CTI market.”

 
Andrew Dickenson

Own Label

Andrew Dickenson of Griffin Internet told us that resellers are very keen to sell their own branded DSL and ‘own’ the customer themselves in the face of likely competition from carriers selling centrex and hosted PBX solutions. “Griffin is a wholesale broadband supplier with some 600 resellers. We have been established for more than ten years and are now a major UK provider of high-quality, business-grade Internet Services. In an environment of continuous technical and commercial innovation, campaigns, products and managed services are developed for and by Griffin’s Partner Network. Among the facilities uniquely available to partners is MOPS – the world’s most advanced “one-touch” broadband provisioning system.”

Griffin works with IT resellers across the country to provide them with the Internet services they need to ensure their business customers get the quality of provision they deserve. Our new product, MOPS, enables our partners to access BT products directly. This means that they keep control of the process: there are no

delays in dealing with a third-party company and they don’t risk exposing customer details to a potential competitor. We are confident that it beats any anything available anywhere in the UK market today.”
 
Timing is Everything

Phill McGowan of New Media Software said he was at the Summit to talk to resellers – pure and simple. “With Rocom being at the Summit for the first time it has been an added bonus for us as we have just announced a deal with them whereby Rocom will bundle our CTI applications with all the Panasonic systems they are selling – a deal we hope to expand throughout their entire portfolio.

This follows a similar arrangement we put in place with Crane a short while ago where they are bundling a five user package of our Adaptive CTI with each LG IP LDK they provide to their channel partners. These are moves which have seen our product sales double over the last six months.”

 
 
All the education seminars and the pitch sessions were well attended   Just Married? Suzy & Tony Lewis
 
Launch Pad

Mark Sensier, Managing Director at T-Liaison told Comms Business Magazine he is set to launch a range of broadband services with a view to encouraging new and existing resellers to move in to IP services provision. “We are offering broadband where we can guarantee the quality of voice over the service. With the rush towards hosted IP PBX applications we see a link missing in the chain – a broadband service with guaranteed levels of service. We are offering these products to the channel as a line replacement service so that resellers can build their confidence in what VoIP will provide for their customers.”

Sensier recalled a conversation he had had with a reseller on his stand earlier in the day who told that his company was nervous about getting VoIP. He had an ISDN30 with all channels being used for inbound and outbound calls but was thinking about downsizing that pipe to have fewer channel dedicated to inbound and using VoIP for outbound. To me this makes a lot of sense and indicates a migratory way forward that many companies will come to see as being a sensible approach. People want a reassurance that something they are familiar with is in place should there be a problem but at the same time want to make effective use of the opportunity that VoIP affords them for reducing their call costs.”

 
Swamped  
Tony Church, Managing Director of software distributor CommSoft told Comms Business Magazine that half of the 12 staff on his stand lost their voicing from talking to quality solution providers. “As unbelievable as this may seem I was left speechless myself by the end of the day. Looking through the amount of dealers and OEMS who have requested to join the CommSoft Think IT programme, there were times on both days and even with a double stand, the 12 staff still struggled to deal with all the visitors. There were also times when we caused a people jam in the walk ways as no more interested parties could get on to our stand. I would comfortably forecast a return on investment in excess of 1000% for CommSoft over the next 6 months.”
Finally – 2006 Newly appointed Teleware Sales Director Pete Orr with Stratergy Director Steve Howarth signed the hosted IP PBX contract with Global Crossings

Please note that Convergence Summit 2006 is heading to a new venue – Sandown Park in Esher, Surrey. The date for those already with 2006 diaries is 10-11 th October 2006 – see www.convergencesummit.co.uk.

 
 
 
Quotes

“Once again the Convergence Summit has been a great opportunity for Oak to meet resellers and Partners. We had an excellent show with a number of interesting meetings taking place. We have already booked for next year!” – James Emm, joint CEO, Oak Telecom

“An exhibitor list packed with heavy hitters coupled with busy aisles and topped off with a superb event in the evening. Just what our industry needs. Who says that exhibitions are a thing of the past! Long live the Convergence Summit!” – David Miller, Marketing Manager, PSU I.T. Voice & Data Limited.

“I’ve really enjoyed the Convergence Summit. It’s great to see that there is a buzz back in the channel” – Clive Sawkins, Cisco Systems

 
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