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Latest Information Technology Lets Small Businesses Communicate
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 05 June 2008
SotaComm Is Helping Smaller Firms Boost Productivity By Taking Advantage of the Same Open-Source Technology as Big Enterprises, Even If They Don’t Have Their Own IT Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (PRWEB), JUNE 5, 2008 – SotaComm LLC (www.sotacomm.com) today said it has begun providing communications and networking solutions to small and midsized businesses that are a radical improvement over anything previously available to these firms, based on open-source software and appliances from leading-edge technology vendors.  

“We’re a ‘new age’ kind of company that’s packaging advanced, low-cost products and services from a set of new, fast-growing tech firms. We partner with them to help them reach the market their technology most benefits: small business,” said Gary Doan, CEO and cofounder of SotaComm. “And we’ve started deploying these leading-edge solutions.” A key advantage for the company’s small business customers is they get advanced, value-added solutions with two levels of support from the commercial open source software vendor and SotaComm , which is especially critical if they do not have their own staff of IT professionals.

The Driving Trends
The adoption of open standards and the shift toward software-based appliance solutions are two major trends in enterprise IT that drove Doan and his partners to found SotaComm in early 2007. (Doan is a serial entrepreneur who has founded several other Minnesota-based technology firms. One of the company’s other cofounders is Tim Andersen, founder of Bailiwick Data Systems, Chaska, MN.)  SotaComm’s state-of-the-art, certified offerings deliver enhanced features, ease of use, and reliability for small and midsized organizations. Appliance solutions are better options for these firms, said Doan, not only because they cost less to acquire and operate, but because they change the way smart businesses utilize their communication network and provide them with distinct productivity benefits.

Three Areas of Focus
SotaComm provides three categories of state-of-the-art, easy-to-use small business solutions: (1) phone systems, (2) security gateways, and (3) routers and firewalls. The , ,(voice over Internet protocol) phone systems offered by the company have more features and innovations than traditional systems, and can save most businesses up to 60% of the cost of those proprietary systems, which until recently have been their only choice. A leading telecommunications research firm, ATLANTIC-ACM, has said the fastest growing demand segment for VOIP will be businesses with 11-100 employees, which will see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenues of 29.7% through 2012.  According to a May 2008 report by WinterGreen Research, IP phone systems have “gained widespread acceptance in the marketplace…and demand is continuing to increase.”

For IP phone systems, SotaComm partners with rapidly growing IP phone systems vendor Fonality. It resells that company’s hardware/software solutions, including its “PBXtra” product line. SotaComm also offers a called the “TB Pro” that is sold and serviced by SotaComm locally.  These IP phone system solutions allow small to midsized firms to compete on a level playing field with much larger companies by providing them with true enterprise-class PBX phone systems, at 40-80% of the cost of those systems.

SotaComm’s TB Pro is a private-label version of Fonality's “Trixbox Pro,” which incorporates PBXtra software and includes the very popular "Heads Up Display" (HUD), which is a powerful companion to the office phone that runs on each employee's personal computer.  It's a highly visual operator panel that allows "drag-and-drop" calling and transferring, as well as conference calling and is also a call center application.

"Once employees start using the Heads Up Display inside a company, they can’t do without it," said Doan. “It’s simple to use and a great productivity booster.”  The HUD feature is also standard on SotaComm’s TB Pro appliance. “We chose to partner with Fonality after evaluating several PBXs on the market and discovering they clearly had the best product out there,” said Doan. “They’re on a roll, having raised significant venture capital, and recent funding from Intel and Dell as well.  Not only have they won IP Telephony Magazine's ‘Best Product of the Year’ award three years running, but dozens of other awards as well, all while developing a customer base of more than 6000 companies worldwide.”

For security gateways, SotaComm has partnered with leading emerging vendor Untangle, which produces the world’s first commercial-grade open source solution for “unified threat management” – that is, blocking spam, spyware, viruses, adware, and unwanted content on the network, and providing a better alternative to costly, inflexible proprietary appliances (from such firms as SonicWALL and WatchGuard). The company, based in Silicon Valley and backed by two leading VC firms, already has more than 20,000 users of its open-source solutions.

In its third major area of focus, SotaComm provides router solutions from Vyatta, a company that has changed the networking world by commoditizing advanced router, firewall, and VPN (virtual private network) deployment in the same way that Linux commoditized the operating system market. Each month, more than 15,000 users worldwide turn to Vyatta's open-source networking platform in their search for an alternative to over-priced, inflexible products from proprietary vendors. In independent tests, Vyatta appliances outperformed comparable Cisco products at a costs savings of up to 75%. Vyatta is based in Silicon Valley and backed by several leading venture capital firms.

“These three technology partners – Fonality, Untangle, and Vyatta – are really hitting stride and gaining critical mass in the marketplace,” said SotaComm CEO Doan. “Their software and appliances have been tested hard and proven in the real world.  Having formed partnerships with these best-of-breed vendors, we’re enabling our small business customers to immediately take advantage of open source advances, and reap the very real financial benefits their big brethren are. And, best of all, we can provide true hands-on support and training for them.”

Doan continued: “SotaComm’s business is now about delivering appliances based on the platforms of leading vendors Fonality, Untangle, and Vyatta – all of which incorporate best-of-breed software. All our appliances are extremely easy-to-use, are rock solid and proven, and are backed by two levels of  support.”

Why Open Source?
SotaComm is showing its customers that open source is a better way to develop and deliver software.
It’s more transparent and holds vendors accountable to the community. Since it’s heavily standards-based, it gives customers flexibility and protection from vendor lock-in.  Further, it lets technology vendors leverage the expertise of the community to build better products, which can be more full-featured with open source software. Vendors can deliver an amazing amount of commercial-grade functionality for free, while also offering fully supported versions of these solutions at dramatically lower prices than can proprietary software vendors. And customers of SotaComm get the advantage of “dual-layer support” – not just the vendor’s, but local, personalized, hands-on support and training provided by SotaComm.
Fonality Wins 2008 Unified Communications Innovation Award From TMC Labs
Written by News Editor   
Thursday, 08 May 2008

Fonality Wins 2008 Unified Communications Innovation Award From TMC Labs

LOS ANGELES-(Business Wire)-May 7, 2008 - Fonality(R), the leading provider of open source phone systems, announced today that Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) named the Fonality application HUD(R) a 2008 TMC Labs Innovation Award winner presented by Unified Communications magazine. HUD (Heads Up Display) extends the enterprise functionality of Fonality's already low-cost and easy-to-use phone system for small and medium-sized businesses.

"HUD is clearly deserving of recognition for its out-of-box innovation helping to transform the unified communications industry. We're proud to reward Fonality for its hard work with a Unified Communications' TMC Labs Innovation Award," said TMC President Rich Tehrani.

The latest version of HUD features Fonality's unique presence-detection system, dubbed FindMe(R) with Boomerang(R) Mobile Integration. FindMe detects employee keyboard and mouse movements and makes call routing decisions according to where the system detects the individual's presence. Once calls have arrived to mobile devices, calls can be recorded on the mobile device or even "boomeranged" back to the office switch.

"HUD is changing the way people work," said Chris Lyman, Fonality CEO. "With a single click HUD workers are connected via desk phone, mobile phone, chat, email, or voicemail. We already have 100,000 users on HUD whose lives are being made easier by unified communications every day."

"Fonality has demonstrated a commitment to quality, and a commitment to the further development of the unified communications industry through PBXtra with HUD," said Tom Keating, CTO and TMC Labs Editorial Director at TMC. "Fonality deserves this great honor, and I look forward to seeing other innovative solutions from them as they continue to contribute to the future of unified communications industry."

The TMC Labs Innovation Awards honor products that demonstrate raw innovation, unique features, and significant contributions toward improving communications technology. The TMC Labs Innovation Awards are not granted only to the best-selling products, but instead to those demonstrating a significant contribution to the industry.

Fonality business phone systems are designed for modern workplaces and allow mobile employees to participate on the PBX wherever they work, be it in the office, at home, on the road, or on a mobile device. Fonality supports both VoIP calling and traditional phone lines, allowing a smooth transition for businesses upgrading their calling services. Fonality's patented Hybrid-Hosted(TM) architecture allows employee identity to be maintained as employees travel between work, home, and hotel. Fonality, when paired with the award-winning HUD presence software, provides a unified view of chat, email, and calling for all fixed and mobile workers.

2008 TMC Labs Innovation Award winners can be found in the May 2008 issue of Unified Communications magazine.

PBXtra "Takes the Crown," Beats Microsoft and All VoIP Players in Round-up
Written by News Editor   
Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Award-Winning Fonality System Scores Big in Industry Review


LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fonality announced today that its award-winning PBXtra® business phone system came out with top honors in a round-up of SMB VoIP products in this weeks Infoworld. PBXtra, a low-cost and easy-to-use business phone system for small and medium-sized businesses, beat out Microsoft Response Point and four other industry competitors with a low-cost combination of usability, unlimited extensions, good Outlook integration, and slick reporting.

The review praised PBXtra as value-laden and credited its scalability and user-friendly interface with making it easy to install, use and maintain. Fonalitys fanatical focus on delivering the right balance of rich, accessible functionality at affordable price points has made it the IP-PBX of choice for growing businesses. More than 5,000 companies in over 100 countries are now using Fonalitys business phone systems.

Time is money and people often overlook ease of use until after they have made their phone system purchase. This can end up being an expensive mistake, said Fonality CEO Chris Lyman. We work very hard to deliver a phone system that is feature-rich but installs without the complexities of open heart surgery. Were proud that Infoworld has recognized this one-two combo.

Fonality business phone systems are designed for modern workplaces and allow mobile employees to participate on the PBX wherever they work, be it in the office, at home, on the road, or on a mobile device. PBXtra supports both VoIP calling and traditional phone lines, allowing a smooth transition for businesses upgrading their calling services. Its patented Hybrid-Hosted® architecture allows employee identity to be maintained as employees travel between work, home, and hotel. PBXtra, when paired with the award-winning HUD® presence software, provides a unified view of chat, email, and calling for all fixed and mobile workers.

Vyatta Delivers 10X Price/Performance Advantage over Cisco 7200
Written by News Editor   
Thursday, 20 March 2008
Independent Test Shows Vyatta Open Networking Software on Intel-Based Server Outperforms Cisco 7200 Series at a Cost Savings of More than 75 Percent

San Mateo, CA – March 17, 2008 – Vyatta, the leader in Linux-based networking, today released third-party testing results that demonstrate conclusively Vyatta’s vast price/performance and scalability advantages over the Cisco 7200 Series routers. The test, commissioned by Vyatta and performed by The Tolly Group, focused on the key Internet routing protocol (BGP) and found that Vyatta achieved 2 to 3X higher performance at a cost savings of more than 75 percent -- resulting in a 10X price/performance advantage.

The complete report is available at http://www.vyatta.com. It highlights Vyatta’s superior scalability and performance and recognizes, among other things:

  • Vyatta is better positioned to manage Internet growth than the 7200
  • Vyatta achieved wire speed while the Cisco routers failed to do so
  • Vyatta’s solution costs $7,952 compared to Cisco’s price of $35,756

"This Tolly report shatters the 'myth of proprietary hardware' and proves the vastly superior performance and value that Vyatta unlocks by bringing multi-core x86 hardware to networking," said Kelly Herrell, CEO of Vyatta. "Vyatta's ability to offer such advanced BGP scalability comes at a critical time for customers. The Internet is outgrowing the 7200, and the newly-announced ASR offers limited scalability at an even higher price. With Vyatta, customers can choose a smarter route and scale their network requirements at a fraction of those proprietary costs. We are excited to once again prove the superior performance and scalability of Vyatta's open networking approach."

Superior Performance and Radically Better Pricing Using a 2.66 GHz quad-core IBM System X 3550 server and Vyatta software, available for 75 percent less than the cost of a proprietary Cisco 7200 router, The Tolly Group testing validated the substantial price/performance advantage of Vyatta over the Cisco 7200. Highlights from The Tolly Group report include:

  • Vyatta supports a BGP route table size of 4.5 million routes, 3X more than the Cisco 7204-G1 and 1.5X more than the 7204-G2.
  • Vyatta delivers a BGP convergence time that is more than 3X faster than the Cisco 7204-G1 and 2X faster than the 7204-G2.
  • Vyatta operates at Layer 3 wire speed across three Gigabit Ethernet ports in full mesh when forwarding 512-byte frames or higher, while Cisco routers failed to achieve wire speed.
  • The Vyatta/IBM x3550 combination cost $7,952 compared to $35,756 for Cisco 7204-G2 and $30,756 for the 7204-G1.

"The performance, stability and availability of our network is critical to not only our business, but to that of our customers. We reviewed a number of alternatives, notably Cisco, but ultimately opted for Vyatta as we could obtain comparable performance for a fraction of the price. That enabled us to opt for multiple units where we'd otherwise have had one, achieving our availability goals and superior scalability with unbeatable economics," said Simon Woodhead, managing director at Simwood eSMS Limited, a provider of wholesale VoIP services to carriers, corporates and ISPs. "Opting for the Vyatta support was certainly the right decision too. Our implementation pushed a few boundaries and 'stunned' is only word I can use to describe the attentiveness that Vyatta provided. Vyatta will be our standard choice for BGP router deployment moving forward."

Fonality’s PBXtra Wins PC Magazine Editors’ Choice
Written by News Editor   
Wednesday, 08 August 2007

Fonality’s PBXtra Wins PC Magazine Editors’ Choice Honor over Digium and
Other SMB Phone Systems

Award Recognizes Fonality for Ease of Use and Hybrid Hosted Architecture

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE) August 9, 2007 -- Fonality®, the leading maker of phone systems for small and medium-sized business, announced today that its award-winning PBXtraTM IP-PBX was named Editors’ Choice by PC Magazine in a roundup against competing open and closed source phone systems of similar price. PBXtra is a VoIP-capable phone system designed to be purchased, installed and managed by non-technical professionals. More than 2,000 companies with 45,000 phones in 37 countries have adopted PBXtra and placed more than 75 million VoIP and traditional calls.

PC Magazine praised PBXtra for its ease of use over competing products such as TalkSwitch’s  244vs and Digium’s Asterisk Appliance. According to the review, “Fonality’s PBXtra Standard, a PBX solution with all the basic features that a small or medium-size business needs, offers a number of unique features that simplify management, and a well-designed Web interface elegantly ties its many features together.” Of all of the products reviewed, PBXtra earned the highest rating.

“A PC Magazine Editors’ Choice is about as good as it gets when it comes to reviews,” said Fonality CEO Chris Lyman. “PC Magazine took special note of our patented hybrid-hosted architecture which is what has allowed us to gain such rapid direct adoption into the SMB.”

Fonality’s PBXtra business phone system delivers more functionality with significantly improved ease-of-use at 40 to 80 percent less than the cost of comparable systems from larger companies. Out of the box, PBXtra supports advanced auto-attendant features, telecommuters, branch offices, drag and drop call controls, conferencing and cross-office intercoms, as well as a host of other easy-to-use advanced features. Fonality and its partners provide 24/7 technical support and a patent-pending hybrid-hosted architecture ensures reliability by allowing real-time monitoring and remote system management.