Unify Broadens Pricing Options to Drive Circuit Adoption

The company is offering three new packages to make the year-old collaboration platform more attractive to startups and smaller businesses.


Unify officials are offering new pricing options for its year-old Circuit collaboration platform in hopes of driving adoption of the technology.

Unify had offered two alternatives for Circuit—a 30-day trial and the Enterprise paid option of $14.95 per seat per month. Starting this week, the company is offering three new pricing packages aimed at startups, smaller companies and midsize businesses. Unify officials said the new options come in response to customer demand.

Among the alternatives is the Free package, which supports up to 100 users with 1GB of storage and three integrations. The Free offering comes with no commitment and no cost, and is aimed at small teams that have an immediate and short-term collaboration need, according to Unify officials. The Team package targets startups, non-profits and smaller businesses that need collaboration technology that supports virtual teams and can be used with little or no IT intervention. The Team offering will cost $3.95 per seat per month, can support up to six users per conference call and offers up to 5GB of storage.

The Professional package is aimed at small and midsize businesses that want to put the Circuit collaboration solution on top of communications infrastructures they might already have. It supports unlimited numbers of users, can be customized and comes with 10GB of storage. Pricing for the Professional offering is $6.95 per seat per month.

"Circuit hasn't only transformed our own communications but how we do business," Uwe Hermanns, global head of product marketing in collaboration at Unify, said in a statement. "We know businesses have no time to wait for upgrades and installations that require rip-and-replace models. At the speed of today's on-demand economy, seamless digital communication and collaboration is the lifeblood to all business."

The new pricing options come just more than a year after Unify launched Circuit, a unified communications (UC) platform that was once known as Project Ansible. Circuit offers a broad array of collaboration capabilities, from audio and video conferences to contextual search, content sharing and storage, and support for such mobile platforms as Apple's iOS and devices running Google's Android and Chrome operating systems.

They also come at a time of change in the highly competitive UC, video conferencing and collaboration markets, with both established players and smaller startups offering cloud- and software-based solutions to address demands arising from such trends as bring your own device (BYOD), an increasingly mobile workforce and cloud computing. Most recently, Cisco Systems on Nov. 20 announced it is buying Acano for $700 million to help it build out its capabilities in providing video conferencing technology for smaller "huddle rooms."

Vendors, such as ShoreTel with its Connect solution, are pushing to create a common platform to support both their on-premise and cloud-based offerings.

According to Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, Unify officials have done a good job innovating the Circuit platform, and the new pricing models are part of a period of change for the company that could help it expand Circuit's reach. Tech vendor Atos earlier this month announced its intention to buy Unify from the Gores Group and Siemens, and the company's size and scale could help drive Circuit into new markets.

In addition, the new pricing options address challenges Unify officials saw in driving adoption of Circuit, Kerravala wrote in a post on the No Jitter blog site. Only having the trial and Enterprise options "was problematic," he wrote. "For one, post-trial conversion rates were low, lead times for converting customers were long, and many customers viewed the 'entry-level' price point as too high. In other words, the pricing plan was limiting Unify's ability to seed the market with Circuit deployments."

The new pricing options open will make Circuit more attractive to businesses that might have been scared away by the Enterprise package price.

Kerravala also noted Unify is improving its go-to-market efforts to capture more potential customers, particularly among service providers and channel partners.