Interview

A ground up redesign

2 min read Cloud Unified Comms
Craig Howell, partner director, Xelion UK, talks to Comms Business about the new iteration of the company’s flagship telephony platform, as well as challenges and opportunities for Xelion‘s partners.

Xelion UK recently launched the latest iteration of its cloud telephony platform, with the release including a ‘ground up’ redesign, as well as new apps and functionalities designed to meet the needs of hybrid working end users.

Craig Howell, partner director, Xelion UK, said Xelion 8 includes “some cool features” that will “enable our partners to sell a more robust product in terms of ticking all the boxes for their customers”.

Educating end users

Howell spotlighted one area as both as challenge and an opportunity for the Channel. He explained, “The problem that a lot of partners have got is obviously we’ve got this big switch off coming, and I don’t think that businesses are reacting to that. A lot of them are still stuck in their ways. Many partners have a lot of customers [using a] traditional PBX [set up] that is paid for and not broken, so they are quite happy to keep it going. Yet the day it does go wrong, is the day there’s going to be massive upheaval. It’s vitally important that businesses understand what the roadmap looks like in moving from an on-premise solution to a cloud solution. That’s probably the biggest challenge our partners have got.”

Educating end-users will require efforts from across the industry, yet Howell is confident that those who are shown new possibilities will understand the benefits. He reflected on a conversation he had just had with a school. “I had a demo with a school this morning, they are using a system that was installed 12 years ago. They had a basic telephony system, and explaining to them how hosted has evolved over the years and showing our feature set was a massive eye opener to them.”

Howell explained that the school was impressed by new ways to solve common problems, with indications that certain features will help the school improve its operations.

A unified experience

Xelion 8 includes a video function that provides native collaborative working for up to 16 simultaneous participants, including a new desktop sharing function. Users can share documents, spreadsheets, graphics and other files with colleagues, with everyone able to annotate and work together on common tasks, providing a full unified communications experience.

The platform update provides the same user interface across different devices with different operating systems for the same user experience. The GUI has been redesigned with an intuitive, simple user interface for notebook, tablet or mobile, with no need to learn different protocols or navigation. The release includes a browser-based video function, so guests can join video conferences without needing to download an app or register an account.

Unique offerings

Howell added that the evolved Xelion platform means that a traditional reseller can transition into a virtual service provider. He explained, “We give ownership back to the resellers where they can leverage their own SIP trunk provider relationships by plugging any SIP trunk provider into [Xelion]. They can have various relationships with handset manufacturers or accessory manufacturers, and build a really unique offering based on their customer’s needs. This is a partnership where we grow together, with best fit products for their customers.”

Howell reflected on Xelion’s “conscious decision” to offers its partners a fully managed service in the UK. He explained, “We host everything for our partners. Our partners don’t have to worry about data centers or rack space costs or maintenance fees, or anything like that. We do everything for our partners and their customers.

“We had a demo with a prospect and that was one of the biggest things from the technical side: he no longer had to worry about the data center side of things, he could just get on with his work because we take care of all of that. When we push out updates, it’s instant. The updates are all pushed out instantly across the whole platform, so there’s never any issues of things not working due to a self-hosted partner not updating the servers.”

This feature appeared in our December 2021 print issue. You can read the magazine in full here.