Keeping Scattered University Students Connected During Global Pandemic: How Channel UC and Leading CSP Provide Teams Direct Routing to Students Stranded Across The Globe

As a result of COVID-19, businesses in all sectors globally have been forced to re-think, react and readjust their approach to day to day operations. It has been a case of sink or swim in many scenarios, but with the unforeseen evolution in Unified Communications, service providers have successfully equipped enterprises with communication tools, enabling users to collaborate and remain connected, regardless of their location.With thousands of people scattered across the globe, it was no longer a simple case of just upgrading to a NEW solution, but rather a case of identifying HOW we can equip customers with sufficient communication tools, catering for the architecture already in place.With the above in mind and as the demand to provide diverse and robust communication solutions soared rapidly, Channel UC introduced Teams Direct Routing to their bouquet of offerings.















We chatted to VTS IT, a leading CSP about their experience when providing Teams Direct Routing through Channel UC and how the solution has positively impacted the way their client operates.VTS IT has recently implemented a Teams Direct Routing solution for a client of theirs within the Education Sector. As a result of the pandemic and border closures, this institution was forced to shift solely to remote learning.


PAIN POINTS BEFORE THE DEPLOYMENT OF THE TEAMS DIRECT ROUTING SOLUTION:

“Our client, who operates in the Education Sector, was utilising a complex and outdated, self-hosting solution, which was complicated to administer. Having started to experience ongoing technical issues which were out of the control of both the technical team and service provider, frustration was increasing. Not only was the current solution a logistical and administrative nightmare, the solution had now been announced end of support. It was time to seek alternatives, which COVID-19 catapulted.”


WHAT CRITERIA DID THE SOLUTION NEED TO MEET IN ORDER TO BE SUCCESSFUL?

“The solution had to be robust, future-proof and stable without the requirement of additional hardware, whilst remaining price conscious. Ideally, the new solution would complement their existing suite of software, therefore providing their staff with the ability to seamlessly complete their duties and communicate remotely across the globe.”


WHAT EFFECT DID COVID 19 HAVE ON YOUR CLIENT? DID THIS AFFECT THE SOLUTION THAT DECIDED TO PUT FORWARD?

“With the closure of international borders, the client experienced a decline in enrolments. This forced the organisation to shift to remote learning in accordance with the Government restrictions in its response to the pandemic. This highlighted the importance of implementing a solution that provided reliable communications and contact whilst working from anywhere. A major request from the client was that the solution was to be provisioned and serviced remotely, with little to no interruption to organisation functionality.”


SERVICES CONSIDERED WHEN LOOKING TO PROVIDE A SOLUTION:

“The client explored several different options, including the use of a hosted PBX ,with the use of Softphone clients. Another option that was considered, was the ability to self-host a solution within their Azure Cloud.”


WHY DID YOU CHOOSE CHANNEL UC TEAMS DIRECT ROUTING?

“Having completed our due diligence, we felt that Teams Direct Routing from Channel UC was the appropriate solution to provide, given that the client was already utilising the Microsoft Office platform. We were able to remove the self-hosted hardware, and could seamlessly implement the solution with minimal impact on the organisation – all of which could be carried out remotely. The simplicity of the structure of the Channel UC Teams Direct Routing offering ensured that we remained competitively priced and assisted us in educating the customer about the solution available. Associating truly UNLIMITED call plans to the offering was ultimately a game changer.”


DEPLOYMENT OF THE SOLUTION AND AFTER-SALES SUPPORT:

“Channel UC understood our clients’ requirements and worked on a solution that would allow inter-tenant calling on their SBC. Channel UC was able to efficiently provision the services, which enabled us to commence the deployment of the clients’ tenancies and meet the required deadline. Channel UC’s support team were hands on to address queries and resolve issues that arose throughout the deployment.”



BENEFITS OF THE SOLUTION. HAS THE SOLUTION INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY AND REDUCED COSTS?

“The client has seen an internal shift towards the preference for this solution and has successfully driven positive changes to their systems and processes. This has resulted in increased team-orientated productivity, whilst seeing a reduction in the traditional fluctuation of monthly costs – the significance being a more predictable operational investment.”

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Differentiation for the Channel with Mia Distribution

Taking a unique approach to UCaaS for resellers

As the unified communication environment continues to transform and evolve, countless new companies are beginning to get involved in the environment. There’s an opportunity still in this growing market for anyone who can differentiate and offer real value to their customers. Mia Distribution aims to be one of those providers of truly lucrative experiences in the UC space.

Mia Distribution historically started off by supplying end-to-end UC hardware products to companies via the APAC reseller channel, with vendors like Cisco, Poly, Yealink, and Jabra. However, now, the organisation has moved into a new strategy for 2019, creating a brand-new voice enablement strategy for the reseller channel partners who want to offer their end-customers a more comprehensive UCaaS solution. The updated offering from Mia Distribution comes with everything from all-in-one cloud-based billing, to tier 1 carrier interconnect for SIP trunk and more. With their “Channel UC” solution and UCaaS platform, Eclipse (powered by Centile Telecom Applications), Mia Distribution hopes to deliver robust and world-renowned communication solutions.

I connected with the Sales and Product Manager of Mia Distribution, Matt Milne, to learn more about what Mia Distribution is doing to stand out with their UCaaS offering in the Australian marketplace.

Tell Us About Mia Distribution

As companies like Cisco continue to grow, there’s a good chance that we’ll see more small and agile service providers and distributors building out their own competitive solutions. Mia Distribution is just one of the companies entering the market this year. According to Matt, it’s a family-run offering that’s been running for about 8 years now, starting as a telephony distributor before building an end-to-end UCaaSoffering.

“We started to develop more value-added niche skills so that we could home in on something unique. We also have an open-standards approach which fits with any platform”

“The business is really growing with this flexibility, and we can connect with any customer – no matter how big or small.”

Mia Distribution has hundreds of active resellers in their community. Although the organisation came a long way working with and developing through BroadSoft, they knew that they needed to do something different if they wanted to compete, which is why they decided to move to Centile – an agile environment for offering UCaaS. With Centile supporting their Eclipse UCaaS solution, they can provide resellers with a carrier-grade platform that comes packed with value-added applications like contact centre, mobile app integration, and CRM support.

Mia still supports a lot of BroadSoft solutions, but they also found that it’s essential to have something unique to give their partners in the current environment. “With video conferencing from Zoom, Channel UC cloud-based billing, channel SIP, and full auto-provisioning functionality, we can give our resellers everything they need to become service providers in their own right. We’re taking away the complexity of a reliable UCaaS solution.”

How Are You Empowering your Channel Partner Resellers?

Through a selection of cloud-based billing platforms, unique value-added services, and carrier-grade SIP solutions, Mia Distribution aims to make sure that they’re not just a one-trick pony for their resellers. “There’s massive growth in UC throughout Australia now, which means that people can see a lot of value from the solutions that we offer. Mia can offer everything from all-you-can-eat SIP trunk packages to permanent SIP trunk rates and more.”

The focus that Mia has on channel enablement means that resellers can have more direct ownership over the contract that they build with their end users, which drives more power towards the business. What’s more, because Mia started off as a UC hardware distributor, they were able to create relationships with key vendor partners so that they can even offer OpEX-based leasing models on headsets and handsets. The close relationship that Mia has with vendors ensures that they can also speed up the certification processes on new devices.

Mia is making sure that resellers can offer best-in-class endpoints and UC solutions to its customers. The UC platform that they offer has also been thoroughly tested and is constantly supported by the Mia local support team. “Our team can handle all the porting for partners and the back-end infrastructure, while resellers get to choose the functionality and features that they want for their strategy. It’s a very popular model in Australia.”

Is the Eclipse Platform Available Now?

The Mia Distribution UCaaS offering through Centile is the “Eclipse” platform, which is available now, and according to Matt, has far exceeded the company’s expectations. “We’ve got two huge ISPs that are really helping us to scale, and we can provide support to resellers of any size – regardless of whether they’re large or small.”

According to Milne, today’s resellers are looking for alternatives to options like Cisco in the current marketplace, because they want to make sure that they have something that suits their own strategy for UCaaS. The existing Australian space is educating itself about hosted solutions, and they’re getting increasingly interested in the cloud. “The way that we created this platform was to start off by giving exclusivity to 3 larger partners in 2018. This year, we rolled out the commercial platform, which has accomplished amazing things already. It’s growing at about 45% per month – which is huge when you consider that Cisco and Microsoft are there in the background.”

Matt believes that the Mia Distribution offering provides a unique and compelling opportunity for UC endpoint vendors. They’ve been able to make it simpler for any channel partner to get started with one-touch provisioning and easy set-up. This means that channel partners can do amazing things with their offering from the ground up. “With our instant messaging, Zoom for video conferencing, cloud-based billing and carrier-grade SIP trunks, it’s a very compelling platform.”

Additionally, all the while, Mia Distribution is focused on staying agile within the Centile environment, so that it can continue to differentiate.

“The UC industry is an awesome place to be right now; we’ve found it to be an exciting and fast-growing space”

This article appeared on uctoday.com on 9 July 2019, written by Rob Scott

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