Thursday, March 4, 2010

Aastra MX-ONE's Canadian Push Continues

Last month, I attended a briefing for Aastra's launch of MX-ONE in Canada. I know it seems strange that a Canadian vendor is just now bringing this solution to the home market, but things are a bit different up here. We don't get a lot of firsts, but we're still #1 in hockey, and hey, Canada won more gold medals than anybody in Vancouver - nothing wrong with that.

Anyhow, I don't have much news for you, but earlier this week I came back to visit Aastra for part 2. This time I got a full demo of MX-ONE, which is their enterprise class offering. As with all the telecom vendors, MX-ONE is much more than an IP PBX. It's full of all the requisite features to support Unified Communications and contact center applications. They showed me lots of multimedia examples, including wireless handoffs, calendaring integration and presence.

Not being an IT guy, this was nice to see, but I found the go-to-market, value proposition conversations more interesting. Probably the most important takeaway here builds on what we heard at the analyst briefing. Namely, their close working relationship with HP, and how MX-ONE offers a versatile and complete alternative to Cisco, as well as Avaya/Nortel. Those are really the major players that Aastra is up against, especially in terms of building their channels. Of course, there is Mitel, Shoretel, etc., but for MX-ONE in particular, they're aiming pretty high.

While the technology appears to be solid, and I'm sure the pricing is attractive, Aastra's biggest challenge will likely be brand recognition. I've long contended Aastra is the best kept secret in this space, and seems typical in so many ways of successful Canadian companies that don't get much attention elsewhere. This is especially strange for Aastra considering they are a profitable public company, rapidly closing in on $1 billion in sales. I don't know how you keep this under the radar much longer, but I don't need that external validation to know that Aastra has a good thing going here.

Just a couple of photos from my visit...

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