VoIP vendor Zultys Technologies has reversed its previous channel policy and begun building a distribution channel here, signing Melbourne's Polaris Communications as the first of what it expects will be a series of niche deals.
Around the time of Zultys' Australian launch about 18 months ago, the US vendor's president Iain Milnes said the company had no plans to open a distribution channel for either of the two offerings it had at the time.
However, Tony Warhurst, Zultys country manager for Australia, said that Zultys had signed Polaris Communications in May to push its handsets to Australian resellers. Zultys was also seeking more distributors here, he said.
Polaris could help get Zultys to the front of the line in upcoming deals with carriers, he said.
'We're growing. We've got over 21 resellers and with those in place, we've pretty much got a national coverage,' Warhurst said. 'And with the increase in sales and things like that, we're looking at putting in a distribution layer.'
Zultys had grown enough locally to approach distributors and offer business. However, the vendor would stick to niche players that could would keep the approach tightly focused, he said.
'This will allow us to take that step back and focus on the resellers again to close the business,' Warhurst said.
Patrick Ferriter, a US-based vice-president of product marketing at Zultys, said the new plan dovetailed with Zultys' current approach globally. 'We might use a very large company that covers the whole country, but not usually. We want to concentrate on vertical markets,' he said.
Zultys' products compete head on in the market with those of giant multinationals such as Avaya, Genesys and Cisco. However, Ferriter claimed Zultys' portfolio had advantages that pre-empted plans by its bigger rivals.
'The key point is the integration,' he said. '[For example] a key thing is that people are starting to buy all the AOL and Yahoo messaging more focused on the enterprise, but the problem is that it doesn't integrate with telephone systems.'
What IP telephony customers really wanted was to be able to integrate all that functionality provided over the internet and the telephone system so that information could be combined in ways that helped lift productivity, he said.
For example, a colleague could send an instant message to a business partner, and then leave the office. If the technologies were fully integrated, a reply coming back by instant messaging should be able to picked up by that staff member's phone and vice versa.
Ferriter said that Zultys had concentrated from the start on building open-standards-based offerings that could be used with any other vendors' products in a network and as a result, a lot of the integration of telephony with internet applications such as email had already been done, he said.
Ferriter said that ongoing partnerships with niche service providers would go on building that integrated functionality for specialised vertical needs. Zultys had been using SIP when its bigger rivals were still sceptical about the technology, he pointed out.
'The approach we have taken uses all the open stuff including VoiceXML and SIP. [Customers] don't have to go to a reseller and say, can you tie this particular thing together?' he said.