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March 2008 | Volume 11/ Number 3
The Zippy Files

Reflections on the Bus at ITEXPO East

For those of you who were fortunate enough to be there, ITEXPO East (January 23rd to 25th, 2008) in Miami Beach was a resounding success, perhaps the most-attended show TMC has ever done.

American expos are noted for their promotional items: deluxe pens, complimentary snacks and the occasional “booth babe” wanting to scan your ID card. Our show had the “Allworx bus” a Greyhound-sized behemoth on loan from Excel, a sumptuous vehicle equipped with leather chairs, wide screen TV, kitchen and/or wet bar, rest room, and whatever other comforts of home you can think of.

I naturally felt obligated to visit the multi-wheeled contraption, sitting in a comfy chair and savoring a can of cola. (Note to self: Hold next expo in a parking lot. Tell everybody to bring a bus.) Surely even the most famous rock band would be hard-pressed to top this fine example of mobile luxury. As I sat there I tried to ponder the spirits of Expos past, present and future, but my Dickensian attempts at reverie were placed on the back burner by a thorough enjoyment of my exquisite surroundings. The bus sure beat the multi-storey booths you encounter in European expos, with their electric elevators and well-stocked displays of hard liquor.

Allworx is one of those rare charmed companies that can’t help but do everything in a totally correct manner. They hire Spanish-speaking booth staff for a Miami show. They have a superb, clockwork-like organization. And most important of all, they have perhaps the greatest phone system that exists for small businesses.

Some years ago, my CPA asked me what kind of phone system he should buy for his burgeoning firm. The old joke in those days was, “Tell ‘em to buy a Toshiba,” since that was the most reliable and easiest-to-use phone system of its day. It was the Model T. You couldn’t go wrong by recommending it. So, I told my CPA to buy one. He and his staff did so. They loved it and they still use it to this day.

Today, when somebody in an SMB asks me what phone system to buy, I inevitably have a similar knee-jerk reaction. But this time I say, “Buy an Allworx.” Yes, I know, editors such as Yours Truly should generally refrain from making personal, celebrity endorsements (or in my case, minor celebrity endorsements), but I can’t help but feel that Allworx has risen to the same position that Toshiba enjoyed not too long ago. It’s the system that you can effortlessly and guiltlessly recommend, even if you happen to be distracted by simultaneously being drunk and standing in a hurricane.

The history of the telecom industry is rife with companies that were notorious, infamous and just plain non-famous: companies that raised a lot of marketing money and never delivered a usable product, and others that had a great product but didn’t know how to market it. In the case of Allworx, they can do both. Indeed, they can do everything, and well. So well, in fact, that at times it seems kind of eerie. But none of us, least of all the fortunate owners of Allworx systems, should question that traditional winning formula of technical expertise, a dynamic work ethic, marketing savvy, management know-how, and a pinch from Lady Luck.

And for a company like Allworx that’s on the move, what better exhibit than

a bus? IT

Richard Grigonis is Executive Editor of TMC’s IP Communications Group.

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