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January 21, 2009

U4EA Technologies Talks About ITEXPO, Obama and More

By Rich Tehrani, President and Editor-in-Chief

Jim Greenway (News - Alert), vice president of Worldwide Marketing at U4EA (News - Alert) Technologies, and Jeff Dixon, group chief strategy officer at U4EA Technologies, recently worked together to discuss some important issues such as deploying UC in the SMB/SME segment, the country’s new president and the companies roadmap for 2009.

U4EA Technologies is a leading provider of multi-service business gateways that enable service providers to deploy highly integrated, robust, and easy-to-manage IP communications solutions to SMB and enterprise customers. U4EA’s all-in-one customer premises devices, supported by the company’s revolutionary QoS (GoS) mechanisms, ensure the secure, reliable and cost-effective delivery of converged VoIP, data and video services.
Jim, you are on the schedule to present at the upcoming ITEXPO (News - Alert) (News - Alert). What can attendees expect to learn in your session at the event this February?
My session is about deploying UC in the SMB/SME segment, and I will cover how to upgrade your data network for voice and UC, with a special focus on how to optimize last mile access to the IP network. Topics include QoS, security and bandwidth needs, as well as how to serve mobile workers through integrated wireless premise solutions. The panel will also discuss topical issues such as the pace of migration to VoIP, impact of the recession, customer awareness, and training of dealers and resellers on these types of solutions.
Jeff,  when you look back on 2008, was it a good year for your company?
2008 was a huge growth year for U4EA. The company began the year with a single multi-service business gateway product, which supported up to 30 users, and a signaling gateway resulting from U4EA’s acquisition of J6 Technologies. During 2008, the company developed and rolled out an entire line of home office and multi-service business gateways serving the smallest SOHO user all the way up to the 250-person SMB or branch office. U4EA also acquired NextHop (News - Alert) (News - Alert), a supplier of Wireless 802.11 software, and – as a result – introduced a WLAN solution designed to meet SMB WiFi (News - Alert) demand.
In addition to building out its product line, U4EA added several key management positions, formed strategic partnerships with Polycom and Avaya (News - Alert), and expanded its channel through a half-dozen new distributor relationships, including NETXUSA and Interlink in the U.S. 2008 was a big building year for U4EA, positioning the company for rapid global growth in coverage and sales in 2009.

What was your firm’s biggest achievement last year?
U4EA’s biggest achievement in 2008 was completing our product portfolio in support of our corporate objective – that being, the delivery of affordable wired and wireless UC networking infrastructure so that SOHO and SMB business owners can deploy innovative VoIP, video and Communication Enabled Business Processes (CEBP) onto their existing LAN/WAN broadband networks.

What can we expect to see for from your company for the next 12 months?
In 2008, company focus was on product development. In 2009, focus will shift to market development activities that will lead to consumption and deployment of these products globally. This will position U4EA to capitalize on the emerging significant opportunity in the unified communications market.  The network requirements for UC include wireless, converged communications and full transition to IP networking. These are the core competencies that define U4EA.  U4EA will continue to expand its distribution network and will engage strategic partners to provide customers with integrated solutions that are easily deployed without the need for sophisticated IT support staff. U4EA intends to offer SOHO and SMB customers a one-stop turnkey UC solution shopping experience that offers guaranteed QoS, a competitive price point and ease of deployment and management.

Do you think a new administration in Washington, D.C. will be good for the communications industry? If so, how? If not, why not?
President-elect Barack Obama has indicated that broadband and national Internet access will be part of his plan to invest in national infrastructure to address the current economic crisis and high unemployment. Mr. Obama sees that a modern communications infrastructure is a priority. The fact that he has decided to appoint a chief technology officer, and that he is the first broadband-conscious president bodes well for our industry.  
In your view, please describe the future of the IP Communications industry?
The future of the IP communications industry is very bright. In fact, it has unstoppable momentum. The internet is global. Traffic continues to grow by orders of magnitude. More and more legacy traffic will convert to IP. Mobility is driving IP. It’s a common communications fabric, and nothing comes close to replacing it.

How do the current market conditions affect your potential customers? Do you think they will hold off on purchasing new solutions or do you think the economic conditions will spur them to make purchases that will allow them to be more competitive?
I would say it’s a mix of both. Companies will continue to do business.  Business owners and decision makers will need to get more from the IT infrastructure they have already invested in.  Business owners will have to be more innovative, competitive and cost conscious with their spending in 2009.  That’s where U4EA comes in. Our Wireless, QoS and bandwidth management solutions let companies make better utilization of their existing LAN/WAN bandwidth, while also taking advantage of UC applications like VoIP and Video to avoid travel costs and that will help the bottom line and the environment.

What sets your company’s solutions apart from the competition?
First and foremost, our QoS sets us apart from any competitors. It’s patented, offers nine application aware layers of QoS, and there is nothing else like it on the market.  Our secure and simple to set-up Wireless LAN offers the SOHO and SMB business owner an opportunity to install wireless mobility and applications that were previously only affordable and available to large Enterprise with mature IT support staff and infrastructure.  As unified communications evolves, U4EA will be the leading choice for integrated LAN/WAN wireless and boundary solutions.
Second, we have integrated other capabilities such as Security Firewall, Session Control and Application Aware (News - Alert) (News - Alert) routing, making our single-box solution unique and affordable.  We offer a product line that has tremendous span, serving the SoHo all the way to the carrier market, yet all solutions leverage one or more of our three core competencies, QoS, signaling and wireless. This integration will elevate U4EA and its product line.

If you had to make one bold prediction for 2009, what would it be?
As a small company, U4EA will leave the “bold predictions” for the larger well known suppliers. What we will do is to ensure and enable the smaller business owner to install new generation broadband network capabilities within their business, just like the “Big Guys” do.  U4EA believes in the momentum and undeniable preference for wireless and mobile solutions that provide end users with the freedom of choice to work from any location, at anytime, using the device that they prefer.  

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 Tim Gray


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