Voice integrator grows distribution arm

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Voice and data specialist integrator VoIP has spawned a subsidiary distributor, VExpress, to meet demand nationally in the SME market for communications and security products.

The distributor will also service resellers needing engineering expertise through the parent company. VExpress is expected to play an active role and focus on engineering in low-end voice implementation and maintenance, rather than move boxes, said Mike Harte, CEO of both VoIP and VExpress.

?We are not a warehouse organisation, we are an engineering organisation,? he said.

The distribution arm was a logical extension of VoIP?s current services, said Harte, who described distribution as just another service, but one targeted at resellers instead of end users.

Instead of resellers investing in the back-office technical support systems and staff training in voice and security implementation, VExpress offers a range of technical services through the data and voice communications expertise of VoIP.

More traditional distribution services such as distribution sales and marketing support, leasing, project financing and logistics services are also available through VExpress, which has swallowed VoIP?s technical services division to boost its 42 technical staff.

Harte said that a partnership with VoIP gave resellers the ability to tackle accounts that would otherwise be beyond their technical capabilities.

Dealing primarily in Alcatel and related products, the company plans to focus on Alcatel?s OmniPCX Office package.

The conventional TDM PABX is a fairly straightforward installation for resellers and can be upgraded to handle voice-over-IP functions relatively easily, said Harte.

The OmniPCX ?is an unbelievably applicable product to the SME market? with an excellent price to performance ratio, said Harte. ?Alcatel has taken the performance of a PCBX, removed a zero in the price, and made it available for the SME market.?

Harte said he had mistakenly expected more demand for engineering expertise in resellers? larger enterprise accounts, provided through VoIP. Instead, the company had witnessed surprising growth in sales rather than services -- VExpress has already signed up more than 20 resellers.

All the same, Harte was confident that resellers would take advantage of the engineering skills available in the future, especially with the growth of the more technically demanding VoIP market.

?We know for a fact that there will be added complexities [requiring specialist expertise] because traditional voice resellers are not data resellers,? Harte said.

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