MyGlobalTalk Gets Mobile UC Capabilities

Parent company Geos Communications partners with Agito Networks to bring unified communications to its enterprise customers via smartphone.

By Adam Stone | Posted May 17, 2010
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VoIP service provider and content vendor Geos Communications has announced it is teaming with Agito Networks to improve the capabilities of its global phone service.

Founded in 2002, the South Lake, Texas company employs 80 people. It derives it revenues largely from its MyGlobalTalk phone service, and also through a rapidly expanding network of kiosks delivering movies, music, games, and other content.

In adopting the Agito RoamAnywhere Mobility Router’s capability to bring smooth cellular-to-WiFi handoffs of UC applications, the company is looking to woo business users with the promise of cost savings through enhanced service levels. "When you look at productivity, when you look at shareholder value, every time I drop a call it is expensive," said CEO Andy Berman.

Geos is branding its integrated Agito toolset as ROVE: Roam Often…Virtually Everywhere.

MyGlobalTalk users are charged per-minute rates as low as 1.9 cents depending on call location. For MyGlobalTalk ROVE, enterprises will pay a flat fee of $5 to $20 per user per month, depending on the number of users. MyGlobalTalk ROVE is not yet available to consumer customers.

Berman said he initially was attracted to Agito for its core technology: The ability to hand off calls seamlessly back and forth between cellular and Wi-Fi networks. Looking beyond this, he said he was impressed by the company’s breadth of platforms.

"What really caught my eye was their ability to do this in the Blackberry environment, because the majority of enterprises are using the Blackberry platform," he said. Geos can accommodate all major smart phones except Palm. With the continued rise of Blackberry in the enterprise space, Berman said a Blackberry-capable solution played to his own company’s growth plans, which are aimed at the corporate environment.

At the same time, Berman said he could serve his customers well by tapping into Agito’s ability to manipulate unified communications in the mobile realm, bringing conferencing, forwarding and other UC tools to the mobile user. "It’s just like having those same PBX features on my handset," Berman said.

This allows him to continue pitching customers on the basis of potential cost savings. "It means you don’t have to retrain somebody to use these tools, since it is just like taking your desk phone with you," he said.

Agito traditionally has marketed itself to potential buyers under its own brand name. Rarely has it pursued the kind of white-label deal it has struck with Geos. Agito Chief Marketing Officer Pej Roshan said further such agreements likely will be coming.

"I think it’s something you will see more of," he said. "The mobility market changes very, very rapidly and as we look at be able to reach the midmarket and even consumers with our solution, this is clearly a great way to go about it," he said.

Among potential partners, "there is significant interest in offering a solution like ours either as a dedicated service or as an add-on service in a hosted environment," he said.

In addition to its phone service, Geos depends on content distribution, a business line it has pursued heavily in Asia.

Berman said the company has just struck a number of deals with Chinese partners to install its own kiosks and set up cobranded kiosks. Partners include FunTalk (a retailer of wireless communications devices, accessories and content) and Guomei (an electronics retailer). The carrier China Unicom also has signed on.

Geos already operates kiosks in 15 Chinese cities and Berman said he expects the company to have 1,000 kiosks on the books by year’s end.

He said content distribution through kiosks will serve the needs of users who lack a broadband connection. In China, he said, only 200 million of the nation’s 700 million cellular users have any form of broadband access. Unable to download movies at home, he said, they will be ready and eager to access a kiosk.

"That access gap is really prominent when you look at this globally," he said.

Kiosks are key to Berman’s business strategy. He came on as CEO in mid-2009 following seven years of powerful R&D and paltry revenue. He’s charged with turning this research organization into a revenue generator and to do that, he needs to get product on the street.

"The one thing people miss is the value of distribution, whether it is traditional bricks and mortars or the Internet or kiosks. We have these great ideas, and now we need to leverage distribution around the soundness of those ideas."

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