Unify Launches Ansible, Now Known as Circuit
Circuit is available now in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany for $14.95 per user per month. Unify is offering a 60-day free trial, and officials said that those customers that sign up for an annual contract will get Circuit for free through March 31, 2015. Unify is bringing Circuit into a market that analysts have said is dominated by Cisco and Microsoft, with a broad array of other vendors—such as Avaya, ShoreTel, Mitel and Alcatel-Lucent—also competing. They all also are looking for ways to make their products easier to use on a wide range of devices. For example, ShoreTel in April is expected to launch a common platform for its cloud, on-premises and hybrid solutions. Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, believes it's the promise of a common UC platform that is fueling Mitel's unsolicited $540 million bid to buy ShoreTel. Hurley said Unify is expecting that Circuit will prove to be a differentiator to offerings from other rivals, which he referred to as "Frankenstein solutions" that have been "cobbled together" from acquisitions and then pushed out into the UC space. Circuit was released after several months of beta testing that included more than 1,000 subscribers, Hurley said. One of the things Unify heard from beta testers was the need for a new name. In science fiction, "ansible" refers to a device that offers instantaneous communication across vast distances. However, many beta testers didn't understand what the name meant, according to CEO Douglas.The name change from Ansible to Circuit is only the latest change Unify has undergone. A year ago, the company changed its name from Siemens Enterprise Communications, and two month later it brought Douglas on as CEO. Under Douglas, the company has begun a transformation away from being a device maker and toward being a software and services vendor, in line with the UC industry's trend toward mobile computing and the cloud. The transformation includes relying more on the channel rather than an internal direct sales force, with Unify officials announcing in June plans to cut its workforce in half, from about 7,700 to about 3,800, to adapt to the company's evolution.
"We spent too much time explaining what Ansible was … and when you have to explain it, you've already lost," he said.