Wildix UC&C Summit

Wildix has broken into the UK scene with big ambitions. Reporting directly from their first global partner event in Barcelona, Comms Business went along to discover their channel philosophy alongside what new innovations they have coming to market in 2019.

Wildix CEO Steve Osler took to the stage to welcome partners and sponsors and wasted no time in verbally bashing several major competitive vendors and carriers in the market! “They may be big old companies but they have already failed. They have failed because they have no new ideas for development, for R&D, to solve the challenges of the future.”

A bit of a sweeping statement perhaps but keen to drive home the point Wildix had gone to the effort of hiring some ‘zombies’ for the day to scare the bejesus out us. These ‘Walking Dead Vendors’ represented some of the industry’s biggest names including Avaya and Mitel who collectively have a stranglehold on the market.

Osler wasn’t done, “Then you have these small VoIP type companies who may have good ideas but they are not skilled enough and they don’t have any structure to bring these ideas to life. However they still eat a slice of your cake. They need to sell with or without you (partners) because they need money. Then you have carriers who are approaching your end user customers, which is a complete dissemination of business, and are selling things cheap, but their products are cheap too. Carriers are not unified communications specialists. It’s obvious, would anyone buy a car made by France Telecom?”

If you don’t know what Wildix do exactly then you need to pay attention. Although relatively small, they have managed to develop a fully functioning PBX system based on WebRTC technology. It’s a wow solution with some powerful collaboration features, one UK partner said to me at the event “I’ve yet to find something it doesn’t do.”

The message is now clearer than ever from the Wildix camp. They have a product fit for the future, they are now trying to educate their partner ecosystem to enable them to sell it and crucially make money. The only way Steve Osler sees this happening is if partners transition into managed service providers.

“The Amazon Effect” – the CEO said – “produced the almost total loss of the man in middle in between supply and demand. This is why it is no longer sustainable to be pure resellers of other people’s products. Those who act as a simple intermediary, who still fights a price war that does not bring margins and therefore gains.”

Partners that sell VoIP in the UK, or anywhere else, will know the pain of that price degradation when in competitive bids for business.

Tongue in cheek?!

CTO Dimitri Osler apologised to the crowd for 15 mins of downtime over the WHOLE of 2018! I couldn’t tell if there was a wry smile being held back or he was serious. Either way, I wonder how many other vendors can say that?!

Punch-drunk on innovation the launches and new features hit me and my fellow journalists. Although the company is developing web-based software it still invests in its hardware for the short term. Wildix are now pushing people to using their own hardware for two very good reasons. Firstly, the system is designed to work best on Wildix hardware, the features are richer and the setup is easier. Secondly, Wildix offer a 5 year guarantee with everything they sell but with one caveat. If a customer leaves the partner that sold them the Wildix solution the warrantee becomes invalid making that customer far stickier for the partner.

Possibly the most significant launch for the Channel was the announcement Wildix are now providing local SIP breakout in 130+ countries. Yes, that is not a misprint!

Ian Rowan, UK Channel Sales Manager commented, “The local break out for SIP is huge for us. I don’t know of any other vendor that can provide this in the UK right now. That was driven by partners coming to Wildix and asking if we could do anything for those customers with international offices, we don’t want to be a SIP provider as such. Now it is easier than ever for a partner to provide that additional service to their customers. We will include calls to US, Europe and China too.”

On the transitioning business model Rowan stated, “Every extension a partner sells today is a capital expense. In a few years that could change to an OPEX expense, but it could be someone else’s. If you sell it as an OPEX, and do it correctly, that extension should never leave you. If you sell it as a capital expense there is always that possibility it could move away.”

The Launches

WizyConf – A professional and easy-to-use web conference based on the WebRTC and the Chrome OS operating system with two cameras, 4K Ultra HD, accompanied by a high-resolution PTZ camera with 12x optical zoom.

Wildix Management System 4.0 (64 BIT release) – A carrier grade platform capable of supporting 250k users!

Welcome Console – Desktop hardware with the receptionist in mind, more features including control of up to 60 internal numbers.

Wair-Med – Designed for the healthcare market this handset can be sterilised with its handy button design. A crucial feature for hospitals it has its ISO22196 (certificate for antibacterial products).

App upgrade – Aside from a new iteration of the Wildix App there is now an iWatch app available!

Verdict

Wildix currently have a brand recognition problem which is one reason, of many, they are 100% channel focused. However, they have developed some products which drop the jaw and are backing it up with training to help partners make sensible margins.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine