SoTel, Siemens Partner for UC Suite Distribution

Siemens Enterprise Communications Group and SoTel Communications partner to bring Siemens' HiPath OpenOffice ME IP-based unified communications solution to cost-conscious businesses.

SIP services provider SoTel Communications and Siemens Enterprise Communications Group announced a two-tier distribution agreement of the SEN Group's HiPath OpenOffice ME IP-based unified communications platform. HOOME is an all-in-one UC appliance that provides productivity, mobility and collaboration features to organizations of 20 to 150 workers.

The appliance includes OpenScape Office, a UC application suite built specifically for midmarket companies that offers features including presence awareness, conference management, Microsoft Outlook integration and mobility capabilities.

OpenScape Office combines calls, conferencing, faxes and messaging into a single portal with features such as conference calling, presence, call routing and mobility. It allows businesses to check the status of all their contacts, set up ad-hoc conference calls by dragging and dropping available contacts into the application, and leave messages for other colleagues to join when they become available.

In an effort to support its own sales staff in working more efficiently, streamline administration and prove product value, SoTel also selected HOOME to replace its existing Nortel communications infrastructure. SoTel Chief Marketing Officer John Reynolds said because the company's time division multiplexing (TDM) telephony solution from Nortel was approaching the end of its lifespan and the company recognized the value of SEN Group's SMB products, it made sense for SoTel to deploy HOOME in its own offices.

"We wanted to improve the way we communicated with each other at SoTel and externally with our customers, but we also wanted to be able to vouch for the value of HOOME when presenting it to our customers," Reynolds explained.

In addition to distribution of hardware and software products, SoTel is an Internet Telephony Services Provider (ITSP) offering SIP service products to replace traditional TDM local and long-distance services. Distribution is primarily through SIP service agents, who market SoTel SIP service products and receive residual compensation.

"Because we run HOOME in our own offices, we can tell potential customers first hand about the rich features and benefits of this product," Reynolds said. "Since deploying it, we have recognized pure efficiency gains by moving to UC, including utilizing presence information, intelligent call routing and drag-and-drop auto conferencing, which have helped us serve our customers quicker and better."

Reynolds points to one example of how the company is better serving its customers due to HOOME. A customer called an account representative on a Saturday looking to get two license cards delivered by Monday, and the system routed the message to the representative based on his personal settings, allowing him to get the request and overnight the cards in time to meet the customer's requirements. Reynolds describes it as "a $5,000 opportunity" that SoTel would have missed were it not for the appliance.

Michael Garland, vice president of channel management and development for SEN Group, said HOOME delivers superior UC tools and gives SMBs looking to take advantage of improved collaboration and productivity to help grow their businesses access to enterprise-grade functionality.

"By leveraging the two-tier distribution model with SoTel, the SEN Group expects to drive more value for the customer by focusing on providing high-quality solutions through partners that understand the needs of this specialized market and can deliver the right products and services," he said.