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December 19, 2008

TMC ITEXPO Spotlights Grandstream

By Rich Tehrani, President and Editor-in-Chief

Grandstream Networks, Inc. is an ISO 9001 certified manufacturer of next generation IP voice & video products for broadband networks. Grandstream's products deliver superb sound and picture quality, rich telephony features, full compliance with industry standards, and broad interoperability with most service providers and 3rd party SIP based VoIP products. Grandstream is consistently recognized in the VoIP industry for their innovation, affordability and superior value in their products.
Grandstream Networks is a private company headquartered in Brookline, MA with offices in Los Angeles, Dallas and China. As part of our ITEXPO, I had the chance to speak with Khris Kendrick, Grandstream, Sr. Director Business Development:
Rich Tehrani: Are you generally optimistic, Pessimistic or realistic?
Khris Kendrick: In general we are very optimistic. The timing is right for Grandstream to have an even more aggressive business model in today’s economy. Many of competitors are pessimistic or even laying off while Grandstream is growing.
RT: How many frequent flyer miles have you amassed?
KK: 40k or a little above. We prefer “Data Travel.”
RT: How surprised are you at the global financial situation?
KK: Market forces are cyclical. We are surprised at the depth of weakness in certain sectors. However, businesses still need to communicate and maintain infrastructure. Now companies are “Data traveling,” and when finances get cloudy, Grandstream stands out like beacon for communication affordability, for enterprises and the SMB alike.
RT: How is your company changing the way it does business as a result?
KK: As stated above during this economic downturn we are even more aggressive with our industry positioning, marketing and pricing.
RT: How have customers reacted to the slowing global markets?
KK: Our stocking distributors are being more cautious about bringing on additional inventories even though they are still selling our products vigorously. Perhaps this is the correlation with new customers asking for our product because they are very affordable. Therefore, we are seeing new end-users requesting our products.
RT: Do you see this time as an opportunity or a rough spot to get through quickly?
KK: We see this as an opportunity in the full sense of the word.
RT: What will companies need to do to survive this downturn?
KK: Well, step up the things that are in your control like quality, customer care, and customer training and get ready for things to turn around. Again we remain very optimistic about multimedia communications.
RT: How do your company’s’ products help customers in a slow market?
KK: We provide the means for “Data Travel” with our video phones and UC products which facilitate affordable real time communications (communications that can be rated in pennies a minute). We are a proponent of the paperless office and our devices use less energy than those of our competition.
RT: What do you feel is the strongest segment of the communications space? Technology?
KK: By far the video market has the strongest growth and pace. This is unusual because traditionally people in the work place don’t want to be seen. Now with new “See you, See me” products, like Skype (News - Alert), business folks are starting to adopt open standard video sharing and conferencing. The next generation of office worker will soon embrace this methodology of communication just as they have embraced MySpace and Facebook.
RT: Which would you rather be president of and why? Google (News - Alert), Yahoo, Microsoft, Cisco, the United States.
KK: United States, because anyone of the above businesses may have to ask for a bail out and then resign! The President of the United States is then only one in the list that cannot get bailed out only kicked out by the American people. I would rather face the American people than be begging for a hand outs from Congress for not having the foresight to change. 
RT: What does President Bush need to accomplish before he leaves office?
KK: Let everyone in the world know that his policy on AIDs actually worked and that his presidency has a silver lining. It’s too late for a Middle East peace treaty.
RT: What does an Obama administration need to do to help communications and technology become more pervasive?
KK: The Obama administration needs to challenge the American people and remain consistent with the messaging that led him to a victorious election. The Administration needs to setup DARPA type competitions for innovative technological ideas for alternative energy, ubiquitous communication and infrastructure. The internet was a product of DARPA, which is the “data travel” highway for our business today.
RT: Will this slowdown present an opportunity to reinvest in your company/market? If so, where will you invest?
KK: Yes it will, unified communications for multimedia (UCM), we will continuously produce affordable multimedia devices for the market in 2009 and beyond, stay tuned.
RT: Which country will present the largest opportunity for your company in 2009/10?
KK: The EMEA region was out pacing North America, but now we are in a dead zone between knowing what region will outpace the other.
RT: What device(s) do you use and wish you used?
KK: We use all Grandstream devices from video conferencing, paperless faxing, and SIP Trunking. To get the best rates from our mobile phones we hair pin through the PBX (News - Alert) for least cost routing through multiple ITSPs depending on where we want to terminate the call worldwide. Some of the devices we use are Microsoft mobile or Symbian these devices can register directly to the IP PBX as a PBX extension. I hope to try the G1 once there is a SIP developed for it.
RT: If Nokia, RIM, Google and Apple devices are stranded together on an island, who survives and why?
KK: You left out MS, is this because the other devices would have ganged up on it and kick it off the island for being belligerent? I am hedging my bets on Google G1. I think economies of scale will fuel complementary services that we haven’t seen or realized today, that said the G1 applications will penetrate faster than the iPhone (News - Alert) because it’s Linux based. But I believe Apple will be the dominant player for some time in the smart phone market. Its ease-of-use is unlike any other and it’s a status symbol. Lets not forget that a cell phone is the identify of person (like jewelry), their social class, their work habits, their social network! The G1 would be something found Batman’s utility belt, where the iPhone is something that Tina Fe would be seen using on “30 Rock”. So it’s really a battle of the classes “Big Bang (News - Alert) Theory Geek” or “30 Rock”.
RT: I understand you are exhibiting at ITEXPO which takes place Feb 2-4 2009 in Miami. What will you be showing there?
KK: We will be demonstrating new multimedia devices that complement our existing product line. Additionally, will be showcasing new accessories for our current product line.
RT: What sorts of companies/people should come to your exhibit?
KK: IT professionals, CIO, System Integrators, VoIP Architects, Service Providers and End Users who want to provide the most affordable solution for their businesses and customers.
RT: Why should customers choose your company’s solutions – and how do they justify the expense to management?
KK: Because we are the dominant player in the video phone market and we have the most affordable and feature rich product line available today.   Our IP-IPX is $599 and is a perfect fit for the 30 person company! That’s why we are doing so well during this recession and were ranked #109 on Deloitte and Touches Fast 500 list. Lastly longevity and staying power!
RT: I am a purchasing decision-maker, why do I need to speak with you before I buy?
KK: You don’t have to! We have plug and play devices! Our IP-PBX has one-button-provision for SIP Trunking Service Providers, our phones auto-provision on our IP-PBX! We try to take the rocket science and the science project out of setting up our gear. You don’t have to understand SIP or what it stands for to use our equipment. You just need to understand how to connect the dots. Grandstream plus a SIP Trunking provider, equals lower costs for communications. 
RT: What is your favorite part of your job?
KK: Innovating, new and creating exciting social networking devices that entice the business community and end-user. 
RT: What do you look forward to in the future and why?
KK: A faster internet and ubiquitous connectivity in the US! This will drive the VoIP business and answer the long withstanding question “Is VoIP ready to be your primary way of communicating?”

Rich Tehrani is President and Group Editor-in-Chief of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world�s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.

Edited by Jessica Kostek

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