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Strong reseller turnout demonstrates demand for IP Telephony solutions.

IProvide, the AAPT division leading the company’s partnering push designed to target the Australian SMB sector recently held a series of reseller seminars in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. The seminars, touting the company’s new product offering, IProvide Office, were well attended in each location according to Managing Director Phil Sykes, demonstrating the level of interest in the bundled communications solution.

Although the product won’t officially launch for another couple of weeks, the AAPT team have been working hard on it for the past six months explained Sykes.

Aimed squarely at the small business end of the market with 5 to 20 employees, the IProvide Office solution is a whitelabel communications package for resellers, PBX installers and systems integrators.

The solution is a complete package including customer premise equipment to deliver all the fixed voice, VPN and Internet requirements of a small company backed by AAPT’s nationwide IP network.

“The big opportunity is in the SME space, everybody keeps talking about it, but the track record of most telco’s doesn’t match up to it. SME is an market that requires you to work through partners who understand each company’s needs and who already has their trust,” said Sykes.

He said the major telco’s had so far failed to deliver results in this space because; they “go in with a price sheet” and expect the SMB to work out what they need and how it will work.

The key point with IProvide Office is that AAPT has put in the work to make it easy for the channel to specify and deliver a complete bundled solution for communications over broadband, explained Sykes.

IProvide combines managed CPE, IP QoS and AAPT’s Carrier Grade Softswitching to deliver a full toll quality voice service compatible with standard analogue handsets and trunk lines. Ideally, but optionally, the service can also be bundled with VPN and Internet access provisioning.

“That’s the real point of difference,” said Sykes, “you can collapse all that down to one broadband link and connect voice, internet and multiple offices via VPN.

“Most carriers need a project team to put together that sort of system.

“It is a fairly sophisticated bundle we are offering, but it is technically possible because we are delivering that off a production line, that can take an order online and provision it very economically,” he said.

AAPT has put together a highly automated system which resellers and integrators can leverage to deliver a technically sophisticated solution with relatively little skill requirement.

A browser-based order entry system minimises confusion and maximises pre-configuration by having tightly defined product rules and customer requirement specifications. If the reseller doesn’t properly specify the customer configuration required things can go astray, so IProvide makes sure this is captured in a clean way. The system forces accurate capturing of the end customer needs, explained Sykes, but once that is done the reseller is free from further responsibility.

The automated system generates an order for a DSL link, configures the customer on the AAPT network and spits out the configuration requirements for the CPE equipment. AAPT’s own contractors then do the on-site installation and commissioning, leaving the integrator is left with two alternatives.

IProvide is offering resellers a choice of two business models when selling IProvide Office. First is a straight commission sell where they earn a payment for the sale and a trailing commission, but the customer is contracted directly to AAPT. Alternatively, resellers wanting a closer relationship to the deal can buy the service as a wholesale service and bill the customer in their own name.

Sykes said interest in the service has been “impressive” because it represents an opportunity to provide a sophisticated communications service to the SMB market. It has the ability to scale, provides operational efficiency in deployment and offers a deep and meaningful level of control to the customer’s communication infrastructure, he said.