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Not every unified communications player is, or needs to be, the size and
scope of a Cisco or even an Avaya. A Dutch company called StartReady is looking
to break into the U.S.
market this year with a unified communications appliance that can be dropped
into a customer’s environment for a fraction of the cost of more complex
offerings from market leaders.

Founded two years ago in Amsterdam by two former Microsoft executives,
StartReady is applying the security appliance paradigm—think Sonicwall or
Fortinet—to the UC space and focusing its value proposition around fast
implementation time and simpler, reduced maintenance that can be done as a
service. The software inside the StartReady UC Appliance is based on
Microsoft’s UC portfolio, including Office Communications Server. The
StartReady team customizes the implementation and maintenance so that updates
and other changes can be done remotely.

“It’s an on-premises managed service,” said Lucas Wensing, CEO
of the company. “It can integrate more easily than other solutions, including
into the existing local telephony systems that users have.”

Wensing said the product is ideal for the channel because it has lowered the
barrier for configuration, taking away complexity for quick installation.

“Channel partners can do add-on services and make margin on the box transaction
and maintenance,” he said. StartReady will handle the patch management and
routine software updates remotely, but any other changes to the box can be done
by the partner, he added. One appliance can accommodate up to 750 users.

To date, StartReady has 35 customers in Europe, but is
currently building out its North American presence, with an initial emphasis on
the Boston regional area.