UXC Connect partners with Google

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UXC Connect partners with Google
UXC Connect's Steve Saunders and Frida Power

UXC Connect has signed up Google as part of its push into unified communications.

The Australian integrator, a division of $580 million-turnover publicly listed UXC Ltd, announced its partnership with Alcatel-Lucent to offer integrated telephony-as-a-service offering (iTaaS) in September.

Now UXC Connect has revealed it is partnering with Google. 

The deal, which has been in negotiations for months, will allow UXC Connect to offer Google services and hardware to customers looking to bundle unified comms with desktop apps.

Doug Farber, Asia-Pacific managing director of Google Enterprise, told CRN that the UXC Connect deal was Google's "first relationship of its kind in the telephony space".

"It is a really important channel deal for us. Every partner is critical for us: we have boutique partners, we have large partners and UXC has unique capabilities in a unique space," said Farber.

"The UXC deal is particularly about saying goodbye to desk phones. They have this fantastic ITaaS and we are talking about bundling that.

"We see the new UXC integration about moving office phones to the cloud; it is a great opportunity for Australian business to streamline their IT," added Farber.

The Google partnership was a talking point when it was revealed at a launch event back in September.

[Photos: Who was at the UXC launch event?]

At the launch, UXC Connect practice manager Steve Saunders revealed a starting price point for ITaaS of $12.50 per user per month for basic IP telephony, rising to $30 per user per month for a package that combines IP telephony, a Chromebook and Google Apps. Saunders said the package would be offered as a fixed-term, three-year contract.

Users can upgrade their package by choosing from the broader iTaaS stack, including mobile access on tablets and smartphones, conferencing, desktop access, fax and unified messaging.

"Applications can be turned on and off in a month. The bill could fluctuate every month," said UXC Connect hosted solutions manager Frida Power.

As an example of ITaaS, a customer could integrate IP telephony with Google Apps so that missed calls or texts were redirected into a user's Gmail inbox.

Another cost benefit for the customer would be calls automatically going over WAN rather than using the carrier.

Not just Google

Chief executive Ian Poole told CRN yesterday that UXC Connect's primary focus was ITaaS, rather than any one vendor or desktop bundle.

"We haven't had a partnership with Google before this, so the relationship with Google is very much around us working with them around partnering where we are selling UC-as a service. Where it makes sense, we will package it together."

"Our key charter is to sell ITaaS, to sell our UC-as-a-service. Where it makes sense, we'll offer that with Google Apps if a customer wants to go that way.

Poole said UXC remains agnostic, with the company partnering with Google in an effort to offer customers choice. 

"Customers don't need to go that way; our UC-as-a-service will work with anything. We are not only going with Google.

"We have a relationship with Microsoft, it is a strong relationship and we do a lot of work with Microsoft on the desktop."

Poole added that UXC Connect had no intention of selling Google Apps outside of ITaaS bundles.

He said the same vendor-agnostic approach applied to desktop and mobile hardware: UXC Connect can roll out Chromebooks, but also has alliances with the likes of Apple and Samsung.

ITaaS is based on Alcatel-Lucent – which pits it against competitive solutions from the likes of Telstra, Anittel, Amcom and NEC, all of which leverage Cisco's cloud platform.

Poole said that UXC Connect continues to work with Cisco for on-premise telephony. "We do a lot of work with Cisco in the network and collaboration suite."

UXC Connect targets medium to large enterprise accounts of 500 seats and above. Poole revealed that the company was in the process of building a channel to take ITaaS to smaller customers. 

[Related: UXC acquires $6m Melbourne firm]

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