The big talk at CTIA is the pending acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T. Most of the discussion is about the impact on consumer choice, hardware suppliers, and wireless technologies. But there’s another dimension. T-Mobile has a robust set of programs for channel partners, resellers, affiliates, and retailers. What will happen to those programs and the participants? If AT&T’s past approach is any indication then it is likely that many will be consolidated into AT&T programs, some will be discontinued, and many participants will be groomed out. “Groomed out” is a euphemism for “left out”. It should be clear that if your business currently generates significant revenue from selling telecommunications services that industry consolidation is probably not a good thing. You’ll have fewer options of services to sell; customers will have fewer choices to navigate; carriers will have fewer competitors so commissions are likely to decline; and product and service innovation is likely to slow. So what should you do? Wake up and smell the coffee!Continue to sell telecom service if you must but see it for what it is – a means to an end. That end is the applications that users run over those telecom services. Leading consumer applications are largely free and advertising-supported and the ones that cost money are sold directly through app stores (if I can use that term generically and not get sued [http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-apple-amazon-20110323,0,5609580.story]) controlled by the dominant players. But business applications – particularly applications for small and medium-sized businesses – represent a massive and available opportunity. If you currently sell T-Mobile devices and services to businesspeople and businesses then you should immediately begin investigating applications, like InPhonex’s Televate, that you could start offering to your customers. That way if in a few months you get a “Dear John” letter from AT&T it won’t be such a blow.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I spent this afternoon walking around CTIA. It’s a big show – hundreds of booths ranging from a half-acre dedicated to Samsung’s Galaxy Tab to small booths offering rhinestone-studded phone covers. But what struck me was how few exhibitors were focused on businesses – businesses that don’t sell mobile phones or services that is. It seems that Apple’s “enterprise strategy” of viewing businesses as just groups of consumers has become the conventional wisdom. I couldn’t find any exhibitors touting devices and applications that help businesses outside of telecom solve problems, improve employee productivity, or satisfy customers.My initial response when I realized this was discouragement. I had hoped to see the latest and greatest innovative mobile business tools. But then I realized what an opportunity this is. The mobile industry is focused on creating amazing devices, faster networks, and easier-to-use operating systems, browsers, and media players. But they’re leaving it to companies like InPhonex to offer the mobile business applications desired by accountants, contractors, dentists, lawyers, retailers, and other businesses large and small. They’re willing to lay the foundation upon which we can deliver high-margin mobile business applications. I can hardly wait to see how great Televate will look on a Galaxy Tab.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Feature-Rich Televate Business Phone System from InPhonex Gives SMBs Powerful, Cloud-Based Business Communications
Now Generally Available, Service Offers Hosted PBX / IVR / CRM Combo with Full Functionality via Desktop and Mobile Interfaces
MIAMI -- To enhance collaboration and communications for small and medium-sized businesses, InPhonex today announced the general availability of Televate, a cloud-based telephony system that combines the business-communications capabilities of a hosted PBX, hosted IVR and hosted CRM.
Televate, to be sold through channel partners, is designed to help SMBs appear larger than they actually are and ramp up productivity to compete more effectively.
The service works anywhere inside or outside the office, enabling SMBs to support global operations and customer bases. Unlike other cloud-based telephony solutions, Televate empowers every employee with full call-center functionality, including CRM integration, content-rich screen pops, and caller and customer history.
Features of Televate include:
- A cloud-based core application – a business phone system with multiple virtual extensions, so users can access the entire system online anytime from anywhere.
- A desktop application that creates a single company database to manage all inbound and outbound contacts.
- A mobile application that delivers complete communication and collaboration capabilities.
- Support for multiple phones, including InPhonex Plug & Ring desk and conference phones, as well as Android smart phones.
- Local and toll-free phone numbers that are activated instantly and can be used for phone and fax. Unlimited calling and faxing are supported in North America, and toll-free or local main company numbers are available in 75 countries.
- All traditional PBX functions, including voice mail, e-mail delivery, advanced call management, auto receptionist and company directory for every user on the system.
- Integration with leading business and social applications, including Salesforce.com, SAP, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
- One low monthly price, with no setup fees or contracts. Users can be added any time.
"Televate answers the question, 'What does a small business need to really elevate its capabilities for competitive gain?' " said Matt Bramson, Chief Marketing Officer of InPhonex. "We have learned that a phone system alone isn't enough. Televate puts the phone system at the heart of a set of valuable tools, including full call-center functionality for every member of a small-business team."
The Televate offering stems from a strategic agreement between InPhonex and Ringio in which the Ringio cloud-based rich-calling application is fully integrated with the InPhonex platform to create a complete solution for business users and tremendous opportunity for channel partners.
InPhonex is seeking additional channel partners to market Televate. Benefits of working with InPhonex include ability to expand market opportunity, close sales quickly, increase revenue immediately, and manage customers' phone systems from anywhere. Information about becoming a channel partner can be found at http://business.inphonex.com/channelpartners/.
For more information about Televate, please visit http://business.inphonex.com/.
InPhonex provides channel partners and service-provider customers with an agile suite of carrier-grade telephony services for SMBs, enterprises and residential customers. Leveraging its flexible telephony platform, InPhonex provides channel-focused offerings including Televate, a complete cloud-based managed telephony system for SMBs; Teletrunk, an IP phone system for enterprises and SMBs; and Telecall, a replacement service for residential phone lines. Miami-based InPhonex also develops custom solutions sold directly to established service providers. For more information, visit www.inphonex.com.