After more than doubling its reseller ranks in 2008, PBX-to-Skype gateway vendor VoSKY is encouraging VARs to embrace Skype or risk losing out on lucrative revenue streams.
The vendor recruited six distributors and 358 VARs worldwide last year, taking its total to 610. Seven resellers were added in the UK: Nap, Southern Cables, Telecom2k, ACT Communications, Abbitek, TSI, and Meridian Options.
Vice president of global marketing David Tang told CRN he had been hoping to add 200 VARs last year. “In 2009 we will continue to recruit, but we do not want to saturate the market,” he said.
“Our main focus will be to continue supporting partners. It is one thing to recruit them, but how do we get them to start making money for themselves and us? We will be providing more tools and training for VARs next year.”
Tang said VoSKY VARs enjoy margins of between 30 and 40 per cent and indicated the firm’s technology is now used by a number of Fortune 500 companies. The vendor launched a range of gateways targeted at the enterprise space last year, which Tang said had been a success.
“Because of the economic downturn, PBX upgrades have been delayed or even cancelled. VoSKY is a cost-effective alternative,” he said. “We have seen a lot of interest in the hospitality sector, mainly in Europe.”
Tang asserted that Skype is here to stay and channel firms would do well to incorporate it in their portfolio rather than remain wary of it.
“Resellers are seeing increasing demand from customers for Skype,” he said. “The critical decision is: do I jump on the Skype bandwagon or do I resist? It looks like we have been able to get many of them to jump on.”
Reseller Abbitek joined the VoSKY channel in 2008 and the West Sussex-based firm resells kit from a number of large telephony vendors, including Avaya, Nortel and Panasonic.
Managing director Keith Gardner told CRN that the recent work carried out by Skype to improve call quality would go a long way to dispelling VARs’ misgivings.
“From a reseller’s perspective, Skype is gathering momentum in the commercial world,” he said.
Gardner encouraged VARs to find a way to make money from the ubiquity of Skype. “It is so well known and so widely used in many organisations and we are starting to see interest from large multinationals.”
But John Massey, managing director of VAR Actimax, said Skype would remain a predominantly consumer proposition. “There is a commercial issue,” he said. “VoSKY has a good technical solution, but the cost of hardware is quite high and it might cost £2,500 to implement Skype.”
SIP trunks are more robust than PBX-to-Skype gateways and are a more attractive proposition for resellers, according to Massey.
“There is a technical worry that Skype is a domestic standard product at the moment,” he said.
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