Kerio Updates Open Source Operator Telephony Solution
Kerio Technologies has updated its Operator open source telephony software with a bevy of features that make it more attractive to sales and collaboration teams at a fraction of the cost of proprietary networks.
The march toward IT and voice convergence has left many a VAR by the roadside, unable to deal with the complexities of managing a voice network. IP telephony has helped close the gap, but often IP systems are too expensive for the likes of the SMB market.
Enter open source telephony, which runs on IT networks to enable traditional networking VARs to offer and manage voice services to their customers.
Operator 2.0 includes the Asterisk Management Interface, which enables integration of third-party applications such as customer relationship management systems. Version 2.0 also includes call parking, call recording and call encryption — all features available on big vendor IP telephony systems but at a fraction of the price, said James Gudeli, vice president of Business Development at Kerio.
“We hear from our partners that getting into voice is something most companies want to do in terms of IT. When we decided to go head to head with other vendors, we wanted a platform that could support lot of proprietary hardware. So we went with Asterisk,” Gudeli said.
Kerio Operator is priced at $30 per user, or $150 for a five-user license, which includes one year of version upgrades and one year of e-mail and telephone-based technical support. In addition, two versions of the Kerio Operator Box, an appliance-based solution that can be added to the customer’s network, are priced at $900 for the 1210 version, which scales to about 75 users, and $1,400 for the 3210 version, which scales to about 300 users.
Operator 2.0 is part of the Kerio family of communications and collaboration technologies, which aim to provide the functionality of the big vendors’ offerings at a fraction of the price. The family also includes Kerio Connect, which offers email, contact and calendar functionality; Kerio Control, offering UTM and network intelligence; and Kerio Workspace, which offers document management and collaboration.
“It’s a fairly complete product family of Internet-based technologies for collaboration and communication,” Gudeli said. “It’s similar to what Microsoft has done … but our focus has been on simplifying the process further and making it affordable for the SMB space.”
Kerio sees 95 percent of its sales go through the channel — which equates to about 60,000 installations yearly, mostly for SMBs. The company has a formal channel partner program, which includes the usual bells and whistles such as tiers, co-marketing, lead generation and more.
“Our channel focus has been fairly strong for about 10 years,” noted Andrew Staples, Kerio PR manager. “We’ve never hired a direct sales force — our inside sales force is designed to recruit new channel partners and support our existing ones.”