May 1, 2002
Compiled and reported by Khali HendersonAccerra Debuts Agent Sales Program Accerra announced an agent program targeting independent sales representatives and systems integrators to sell its audio and webconferencing solutions for small- and medium-sized businesses at the PHONE+ Channel Partners Conference & Expo in late March. The company’s sales efforts will be entirely agent-based, says Daryl Horn, vice president of channel sales for Accerra. He says the company is raising money based on the model, which VCs find attractive because of its lower cost and mid-market focus.Uniquely, Accerra’s services delivered through an integrated communications platform that was developed for content-management functions that allow for storage and management of rich media. It features four components: Conference Saver, which allows users to broadcast, record and save any type of conference call for later playback. Web Meeting, which enables real-time meetings from the desktop that incorporate visual elements and broadcast audio via the Internet. Recording Studio, which allows users to record their own voice synchronized with the presentation of any file or document, including Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, web pages and image files. Communications Library, a secure repository for archiving conference calls, web meetings, documents and recorded presentation for on-demand viewing.Services are available as a subscription (unlimited usage) for a minimum term of three months, or on a trial basis for one-time events. Pricing includes set up, training and event monitoring. Pricing is $500 for five simultaneous users, $750 for 10 simultaneous users and $1,500 for 25 users. Each additional user after 25 users is $40 per month. Contracts are 90 days and month-to-month thereafter. Horn says commissions are 15 percent to 20 percent and go up based on volume commitment. In addition, under a second-quarter promotion, agents get 80 percent of the set-up fee, which is equal to one month’s service.Agents can access their own personalized Communications Website where they can use Accerra’s service to present solutions to their customers using web meetings and rich-media presentations.Speakspace Introduces Instant Meeting
Teleconferencing Services Via AgentsSpeakspace Inc. has rolled out web-based conferencing services for e-meetings and audioconferences, which are available for sale by agents.“This ultra-convenient service provides teleconferencing that allows you to hold a meeting at any time, without a reservation,” according to Tom Behan, president. “It’s simple, easy-to-use, has no monthly charges, and is priced 20-30 percent less than the major carrier services.” Speakspace services include an Instant Meetings Service. Using the web-based e-Scheduling interface, subscribers can use Instant Meeting’s features to initiate and control their conference. Speakspace also provides traditional conference call capabilities, digital recording plus other features. Agents market and sell the services while Speakspace handles billing, reservations and customer service issues. Commissions are up to 25 percent on flat-rate priced services. Volume discounts are available and there are not monthly sales minimums or quotas. Agents receive a dedicated account representative as well as implementation and sales training, and marketing collateral.Raindance Expands Channel Partner PlanAt the PHONE+ Channel Partners Conference & Expo, Raindance Communications Inc. introduced its expanded Raindance Channel Partner Program. The initiative is designed to help meet the growing market demand for the company’s conferencing solutions — Raindance Web and Phone Conferencing, and Raindance Web Conferencing Pro. To kick off the expanded channel program, 60 resellers and agents, including industry heavyweights such as InterAct Conferencing, Communication Management Services and MicroCorp, have committed their support.As part of the program, Raindance is offering training and certification and a new channel partner extranet that will house robust selling tools and support materials for authorized agents and resellers. Raindance channel partners also will benefit from dedicated channel sales and development managers, partner promotions and events, as well as global round-the-clock technical support. Raindance COO Jack Blount says channel sales generated 16.5 percent of the company’s revenue during in the last quarter. “We believe that by offering our channel partners additional support through this program, as well as making available unique benefits — such as the ability for authorized resellers to private-label Raindance services — will give our partners the competitive advantage in the marketplace and will allow that number to continue to grow,” he says.Interactive Technologies Rolls Out Channel Program for New Dial-a-Meeting Interactive Technologies, a service bureau providing branded interactive voice response and prepaid services to carriers, launched at the PHONE+ Channel Partners Conference & Expo a conferencing service called Dial-a-Meeting, which it will sell through resellers and agents.Targeted toward enterprises, Dial-a-Meeting is a reservationless audioconferencing service for up to 30 participants with a web-based interface for managing users, reporting and tracking usage. The GUI enables users to distribute permanent 800 numbers, permanent conference IDs and chosen host pass codes. System updates occur in real time for instant additions and modifications. In addition, a reporting structure enables users to track and monitor conferencing usage from the web in real time. Reports can be accessed remotely by authorized users and downloaded into virtually any digital format. Customer service is provided by Interactive Technologies from its 300-seat call center near Cincinnati. This 114,000 square-foot facility includes the company’s corporate headquarter, NOC and switching center, training center and fulfillment center.The retail Dial-a-Meeting service is priced at 10 cents per minute with no long-term commitments required. Agents earn commissions on usage. Interactive Technologies will bill on behalf of agent accounts greater than 100,000 minutes of use per month; otherwise, the agent must bill its own accounts.By leveraging its existing infrastructure platform, Interactive Technologies says it can offer the service to resellers at wholesale prices below market averages. Call detail records are available to resellers from the web in a delimited file suitable for import to a billing system. The web interface can be branded for the carrier. Web pages can be framed or skinned to facilitate integration.Expanets To Offer MeetingPlace Virtual Meeting ServicesIn mid-April, Latitude Communications Inc. announced Expanets will be a reseller partner, offering Latitude’s MeetingPlace conferencing services as part of a portfolio of integrated communications, data and web solutions to its client base of 550,000 small, medium-sized and multilocation businesses nationwide. Expanets delivers service though its team of 3,300 associates based in 150 offices nationwide. "Expanets has provided MeetingPlace solutions to clients in the Midwest since 1998, so we are familiar with their exceptional security, cost-efficiency and simple administration,” says Jim Walker, president and CEO, Expanets. “We also use these services ourselves, so it’s easy for us to educate our clients about the benefits of deploying MeetingPlace integrated voice and webconferencing technology.” Operating on the MeetingPlace M3 server built on Motorola’s cPCI telephony platform, MeetingPlace accommodates voice over IP and PSTN telephony. MeetingPlace, available as a hosted service or on-premises conferencing platform, integrates with standard communications infrastructures to enable people to share and edit live documents from any location. MeetingPlace is being integrated with the RADVISION via IP videoconferencing network infrastructure products to enable Latitude to offer videoconferencing as well as webconferencing and audioconferencing by fall.As part of the agreement with Expanets, Latitude will provide MeetingPlace sales, technical and implementation support, including its end-user training program, “MeetingPlace University.” Latitude’s develops a limited number of alliances with partners, including resellers such as Expanets and sales agents, that combine Latitude’s conferencing systems with their expertise in consulting, IP network planning, systems integration, training and technology. Other partners include Norstan and NETe2 Asia. Latitude has direct sales and support offices or distribution partners in the Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.InterAct Offers Online Account
Management Tools InterAct Conferencing launched its new online account management technology, iManage, at the PHONE+ Channel Partners Conference & Expo. iManage offers customers, resellers and agents the ability to view and modify their account information and track audio and webconferencing usage.iManage allows all individual meeting leaders to update contact and billing information, change their conferencing options and view their individual conferencing usage quickly and easily. Company administrators have the ability to view usage for all leaders in their company, group leaders in reports to track and compare conferencing usage, and view invoices online. Administrators can activate/deactivate users and add new leaders by going online and filling out the appropriate information.Agents and resellers have the ability to track their clients’ or subagents’ conferencing usage to identify increased or decreased usage and add accountability.InterCall Adds Wholesale Staff InterCall has expanded its wholesale staff by 50 percent to meet growing demand from its channel partners. The increases in headcount are primarily in the areas of reservations, implementations and billing. Brian
Martenson, director of InterCall Wholesale, explains, “With the amount of growth we’ve experienced, it’s critical that we keep pace with our customer’s demands. By increasing our staff levels, we’ll be able to continue to do that.” Founded in 1991, InterCall serves more than 200,000 individual conference leaders in more than 30,000 organizations. The company has more than 25 offices in the United States as well as sales and operations facilities worldwide.LeaderPhone Signs New Affiliates LeaderPhone, a web-based conference calling service launched in fall 2001, announced it has signed affiliate agreements with two Ohio business communications companies. Evergreen Communications in Strongsville, located southwest of Cleveland, and Data-Tel Communications Inc., a network communications provider in Dayton, will offer the LeaderPhone service to their approximately 12,000 customers throughout Ohio and other Midwestern cities.“The LeaderPhone system is very easy to use and it gives customers much more control over their conference calls,” said Frank Griffith, president of Evergreen. “This new service will help set my firm apart from competitors.”“We felt the ease of use, the features and the flexibility of LeaderPhone will give our customers added productivity,” said Paul Stoyanoff, president of Data-Tel.LeaderPhone costs as low as 16.8 cents per minute per leg (24 cents per minute base rate), far less than the typical 45 cents to 65 cents per minute charged by the major carriers for operator-assisted conference calls. LeaderPhone also employs one-second billing rather than rounding up to the nearest next minute. The system can access any phone, anywhere in the world. Up to 30 people at once can be on the call at any one time.VARs Sell Intel Communications Platform with WebEx Network WebEx Communications Inc. has teamed with Intel Corp. to deliver the multimedia web communications functionality of the WebEx global network for the new Intel Converged Communications Platform, which is being sold through Intel’s VAR and OEM channels.The Intel platform is a standards-based, application-ready platform that supports a broad range of compatible telephony and business applications, peripherals, and services on a single system. Catalyst Telecom, Intel’s distributor for the platform, is including a five-port 90-day WebEx Meeting Center subscription with every Intel Converged Communications Platform sold through its reseller network.Conference Group Adds Customizable Sites for Channel PartnersThe Conference Group (www.conferencegroup.com) announced in March at the PHONE+ Channel Partners Conference & Expo that it has upgraded its channel program by offering agents a turnkey, conference center home page from which to sell and manage the company’s conferencing services. The anticipated rollout date was April 15.Agents are supposed to be able to link their existing website to The Conference Group-created site (www.conferencegroup.com/cic/frame.html) and “wrap” in their own frames for a customized look and feel. From this page, an agent’s client or prospect can request more information on the conferencing services available, request an account and schedule a conference call or
webconference. The source of the request will be tracked to ensure proper payment of commissions.Agents always have had the ability to submit orders to The Conference Group online. Orders are accepted 24 hours a day and are processed the same business day. Once the account is established, The Conference Group sends an e-mail and hard copy welcome package.Premiere Conferencing Adds Reseller Program to Indirect Sales Channel Premiere Conferencing, a provider of automated audio and webconferencing services, has added a resale program to its indirect sales initiative. The initiative was launched during fall 2001 with an agency program. The program began in January and will be introduced officially this month at the ASCENT Spring Conference and Expo in Las Vegas.Ken
Velten, vice president of channel development, says the company already has signed up at least a half-dozen resellers.“The new program is part of an initiative to expand our sales channel,” Velton says, noting the company followed the direct sales model until last fall. The program was launched in response to requests from companies that wanted to own the customer or provide integrated billing in addition to selling Premiere Conferencing’s services and could not be accommodated under the agent program.As part of the program, Premiere Conferencing offers resellers services and equipment training, sales training, marketing programs and collateral development, customized CDR feeds, first- and second-level customer service, and management reporting. Resellers can co-brand Premiere Conferencing’s services, e.g., ABC ReadyConference, and operator assistance and customer service can be branded for the reseller.Velton says margins can range from 15 percent to 30 percent depending on the product sold and the price point set by the reseller. He also said that some of his resellers are bundling Premiere Conferencing’s services with other offers for sale at a premium.Octave Demos Improv for Pocket PC Octave Communications Inc. demonstrated the first wireless handheld application for launching a multiparty or conference call in March at the CTIA Wireless 2002. Octave Improv for the Pocket PC enables mobile professionals within enterprise organizations to call several people at once using the contact list and calendar stored in their handheld device. The technology demonstration, which uses Microsoft Windows Powered Pocket PC handheld devices, is integrated fully with the Microsoft Pocket Outlook contact list. Users simply click the check box next to the names of the contacts they wish to call. Then, by clicking the “CALL NOW” button, the wireless handheld device contacts the Octave Improv server, which instantly dials the selected contacts. The contacts automatically are joined together in a call. For scheduled conferences, the application will integrate with Microsoft Pocket Outlook calendar to enable for scheduled conferences with an appointment request sent out via Microsoft Outlook. “Mobile professionals need tools which improve their ability to collaborate in real-time without anchoring them to a particular location,” says Jeffrey Siegel, director, Enterprise Market Development, Microsoft Corp. “And wireless carriers are looking for innovative applications that allow them to create new revenue streams. Octave Improv builds on the convergence of voice and data integration inherent in Microsoft’s Pocket PC phone to create this next-generation application.” Octave Improv for the Pocket PC is a technology demonstration. The application is intended to be available primarily to wireless carriers through selected partners later this year. Eagle Teleconferencing Launches Video Eagle Teleconferencing Services Inc. has launched a videoconferencing service that allows agents and resellers to enable any DSL/T1 subscriber to conduct a videoconference through any videoconferencing end point.This subscription-based service is made possible by a multivendor system, including an IP-based gatekeeper, gateway and multiconference unit (MCU), Eagle installed on its network. End users connect to gatekeeper to access Eagle’s videoconferencing services, which are compatible with room-based and desktop endpoints as well as H.323 and H.320 protocols. Eagle’s gateway service allows users to bridge with the legacy ISDN-based systems with IP-based systems.Eagle videoconferencing services bridging up to 12 participants per call will be offered at no charge to the end users on a promotional basis (subject to availability) until September. Service agreements signed before the promotion ends will be priced at $300 per month for unlimited usage beginning in September.Agents are compensated based on their existing agreements to sell Eagle’s audioconferencing and webconferencing services. The rate is 20 percent. Resellers have the freedom to rebrand and rebill at their own rates. Eagle will assist all partners in sourcing end points for customers that don’t own them; margins are based on volume commitments. Gentner Ships V-There Video
Conferencing ProductsGentner Communications Corp. a division of ClearOne Communications Inc., is shipping its V-There set-top video conferencing product line, which includes the V-There 2000, V-There 2100 and the V-There 2200 products.Each V-There product combines integrated web browsing, Gentner’s proprietary AccuMic II audio technology, and dual monitor support for enhanced document sharing. Exclusive to V-There is its ability to share information such as Microsoft Office documents and web-based content among participants during a videoconference. In addition, XGA input simplifies the sharing of PC graphics and S-Video input and output delivers sharp video images.By integrating the AccuMic II, which is a standard V-There component, videoconference calls are supported with Gentner’s audioconferencing technology, which includes proprietary Distributed Echo Cancellation and noise cancellation features. V-There’s field-configurable Remote Camera System has the flexibility to create a variety of installation, setup and reconfiguration possibilities.Three products are offered in the V-There series:-There 2000 retails for $5,495 and is engineered for internet-based, or IP/H.323, videoconferencing in the local area network environment. V-There 2100 retails for $5,995 and combines IP and ISDN functionality. V-There 2200 retails for $7,695 and builds upon V-There 2100 with higher data transfer rates in ISDN mode.Gentner Communications
a division of ClearOne Communications Inc.
1825 Research Way
Salt Lake City, UT 84119
+1 801 975 7200 or +1 800 945 7730
www.gentner.comAlcatel Debuts Network Solution with Multiparty Conferencing Alcatel demonstrated multiparty conferencing capabilities deployed on top of the Alcatel next-generation solution platform during the March CEBIT. This solution, combining Alcatel 5020 Multimedia Softswitch and RADVISION Inc.’s viaIP Multipoint Conferencing Solution, enables service providers to deploy voice, video and data conferencing.The Alcatel 5020 Multimedia Softswitch allows service providers to host advanced voice, video and data services by allowing end users to access customized services on any terminal, at any time, from anywhere. This solution enables innovative new IP-centric terminals to connect with next-generation networks, providing support for enhanced features like computer-based point-and-click commands, built-in directory services and integrated data applications.RADVISION’s viaIP family of conferencing and collaboration solutions provides IP-centric voice, video and data conferencing using integrated multimedia gateways, multipoint conferencing, data collaboration, and gatekeeper intelligence in a single platform. Alcatel
54 Rue La Boétie
75008 Paris, France
+33 (0)1 40 76 10 10
www.alcatel.comCompunetix Adds Multibridge Q&A,
chat to CONTEXWeb Audioconferencing bridge vendor Compunetix Inc. has upgraded its CONTEXWeb solution, introducing several enhancements that offer additional convenience and control for users. Based on the CONTEX platform, CONTEXWeb features open architecture, flexible APIs, and example applications enabling service providers to design and implement custom web interfaces. CONTEXWeb’s new features include the ability to: Chat with other CONTEXWeb users in the same conference. Users may send messages to the whole conference, an individual or selected participants. View and control a conference question and answer session across multiple bridges using Multibridge Q&A.Compunetix Inc.
2420 Mosside Blvd.
Monroeville, PA 15146
+1 800 879 4266, or +1 412 373 8110
www.compunetix.comPolycom’s PathNavigator Simplifies Deployment, ManagementPolycom Inc. announced general availability of Polycom PathNavigator, a call-processing server application that simplifies the deployment, management and use of interactive video communications over IP and ISDN networks.PathNavigator runs on Windows NT or Windows 2000 servers and works in conjunction with Polycom’s Global Management System. The heart of PathNavigator is an Intelligent Network Routing Engine, which combines provisioning, gatekeeper functionality, addressing and routing functions into a single product for IP and ISDN video calls. It includes call-routing features such as least-cost routing and alternate routing to optimize calls for lowest cost and best quality, seamlessly to end users. Its policy-based call routing with network topology knowledge gives IT managers control over their video communications bandwidth and costs.PathNavigator is designed to interoperate with virtually any video endpoint, gateway, gatekeeper or MCU regardless of manufacturer. However, when using PathNavigator in conjunction with a Polycom MCU, iPower, ViewStation or ViaVideo, setup and multipoint communications work seamlessly. PathNavigator can register with third-party gatekeepers, such as the Cisco Multimedia Conference Manager
(MCM).PathNavigator is available for $9,999 to $49,999, depending on the number of concurrent users.PolyCom Inc.
1565 Barber Lane
Milpitas, CA 95035
+1 408 526 9000 or +1 800 POLYCOM
www.accerra.comExpanets www.expanets.comIntel Corp.
www.intercall.comLatitude Communications Inc.
www.radvision.comRaindance Communications Inc.
www.speakspace.comWebEx Communications Inc.
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