A chance reunion at this year's CeBIT IT trade fair in Sydney led to an alliance between one of Australia's biggest videoconferencing resellers and a global supplier of meeting services.
The reseller that was No. 28 in the inaugural CRN Fast50 list of Australia's fastest-growing resellers expanded strongly in the year since, opening a Gold Coast office and close to signing a deal on offices in Melbourne and Perth, said founder Tom Morgan (pictured). It will use ACT Conferencing's global-bridge footprint to mesh modern IP and older ISDN conferencing systems in 70 countries.
It is the first sale of the supplier's videoconferencing bridge service - which operates like the internet-era equivalent of a traditional human operator to connect meeting systems that otherwise couldn't talk to each other - to an Australian provider.
Reseller Morgan said it provided another service for eVideo's customers, many of whom may otherwise have issues connecting internet protocol and ISDN or audio systems. Even those who have upgraded to the latest IP technology may still have partners and suppliers on older systems with whom they need to converse, he said.
Morgan and ACT Conferencing's Asia-Pacific channel director Trevor Lewis have known each other for five years but the deal came to fruition after the exhibitors bumped into each other again at this year's trade show.
"[ACT Conferencing's] group director came in from London recently and we signed a contract," Morgan said.
"It's brilliant for customers because they just want a seamless, one-stop shop for their videoconferencing."
He said the supplier was "doing a major push worldwide in video, audio and web conferencing".
"We'll embrace the whole lot; everyone in 18 months will have a videophone on their desk and part of that is to have seamless connections - they don't want to worry about ISDN or IP, they can go to eVideo with the one solution."
Lewis said Morgan's business has "clearly come on an awful lot" since they first met, spurring the alliance.
"He's always looking for new products to sell and we started to look at a partnership from a collaboration perspective that ties in with our global strategy," Lewis said.
"For the last few years our focus has been on resellers. Over the last two years we've developed a good channel-partner offering."
Lewis said the non-exclusive agreement gave eVideo access to a partner portal and, importantly, the supplier manages billing.
"We run a wholesale model - I wholesale to eVideo and they sell at whatever margin they want to depending on who their customer is," he said.
"Everything will be branded as eVideo or eConnect - we'll provide all backoffice functions [such as] reservations and billing to cut down on the amount of work he does at his end to bill his customer. That's very appealing from a partner's perspective".
ACT Conferencing's headquarters is near Golden, Colorado, and it has offices in 10 locations including Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore and Britain. Services are delivered from four of those offices for around-the-clock access so, for instance, a customer in the Netherlands hooking up to Australia during our office hours could be serviced from Hong Kong, Lewis said.
To enter the CRN Fast50, log on to http://fast50.crn.com.au. Entries close on September 17.