Critical Links' EdgeBox Creates Ample Opportunities for Solution ProvidersBy Frank Ohlhorst | Print
By combining the best bits of open-source software into a VOIP appliance, Critical Links brings convergence to a new milestone and creates what may be the must-have appliance for most any SMB.
Solution providers are turning to recession-resistant technologies to weather the current economic storm. Technologies such as voice over IP, security and remote access are becoming the solutions of choice to create revenue in challenging times. But there are still significant challenges ahead for those solution providers, ranging from training to product selection to identifying target markets. In other words, it’s going to take a lot more than selling a better mouse trap to succeed today and tomorrow.
For solution providers pursuing the small and midsize business market, the challenges are even greater, competition is fierce, and products are many. Critical Links has some questions for those stressed solution providers—what if there were a product that could do it all and then some, without being hard to implement, support or sell? What if there were a product that worked as well for startups as it did for established businesses? What if that same product fit both horizontal and vertical markets? And finally, what if the product could work as part of an MSP solution, or as part of a premises solution or even be a sell-and-forget solution? Would solution providers be interested? Of course, the answer here is academic, hell, yes, solution providers would be interested.
Critical Links is offering the ultimate answer to all of those questions with the EdgeBox series of appliances, which defy traditional categorization. One might call the EdgeBox an office in a box, while another might claim the EdgeBox is the perfect add-on appliance for a small business, and neither would be wrong.
So, what exactly is the EdgeBox? The answer is not that simple. The EdgeBox is a storage, security, VOIP (PBX), remote access, VPN, unified communications, hosted application appliance that can be configured to do many additional tasks, easily and quickly.
The advantages to that customizable appliance are many. First off, solution providers can highlight the VOIP PBX functionality to sell the appliance into small businesses hungry for advance PBX features as well as for saving money on phone bills. Or solution providers can sell the appliance based on its unified communications capabilities, where it can be used to replace expensive Microsoft Exchange-based solutions. The list of scenarios goes on and on, which speaks volumes about the EdgeBox appliance flexibility and adaptability to the SMB market.
Vendors such as Cisco, Adtran, 3Com and others serving the SMB VOIP market, as well as traditional PBX vendors and some VOIP service providers, should be worried.