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June 11, 2021 | Colleen Frye and Rich Freeman

5 Coming Vendor Announcements from ChannelPro’s Southwest SMB Forum

ConnectMeVoice, GreenLink Networks, ThreatLocker, US Signal, and Zomentum share sneak peeks at forthcoming news.

The expo hall at the latest ChannelPro SMB Forum event, which took place online and in Dallas this Wednesday, featured a collection of leading names in cybersecurity, managed services, distribution, and other categories, several of which shared news of forthcoming enhancements and product launches with ChannelPro. Here’s a roundup of what they revealed.

1. ConnectMeVoice Planning for Videoconferencing, Enhanced Training
On the heels of its new VoIP Cloud Connect UCaaS solution, delivered at year-end, ConnectMeVoice is planning to release a videoconferencing system in the third quarter, according to channel chief Frank Seltzer. 

The company is also in the process of revamping its knowledge base. “It’s going to have a lot more documentation on implementation for phone systems and making ordering phones a lot easier [for partners],” Seltzer says. “It is a white-label service, so we try to train them to be self-sufficient as much as we can, obviously we’re still there as backup support, but the knowledge base will definitely help with that.”

The VoIP and UCaaS provider accelerated its roadmap during the pandemic to meet the needs of a work-from-anywhere business environment. VoIP Cloud Connect is a UCaaS solution that links a mobile app with web phones and softphones to traditional physical desk phones. “It was always something we wanted to do, but we definitely revved up the gears to set us apart during the pandemic. … Having those options, having a web phone, having the hard phone, all this other stuff, it made it a lot easier for people to stay connected with their co-workers when they’re working from home.”

2. GreenLink Adding SMS, Fax Services, and More
GreenLink Networks, a VoIP and UCaaS provider, will launch an SMS text service in the next few weeks featuring a variety of collaboration and automation features, according to Jhovanny Rodriguez, the company’s vice president and co-founder. In addition to the ability to text a business’s main number, employees will be able to monitor and respond to that number as well as collaborate with their own personal numbers. The system will also support auto-response text messages for after business hours, so customers aren’t left waiting on a response. Cytracom added similar functionality to its UCaaS platform last month.

Next quarter, GreenLink is rolling out a hybrid fax service that will enable users to send a fax to a machine as well as the portal. For security purposes, many companies still want the ability to fax, Rodriguez says, but with the ATA device typically required by other VoIP services, “there’s an analog-to-digital conversion that happens multiple times in order for that fax to go out, so it becomes unreliable. So what we’ve done is partner with a company that is helping us develop the solution where the fax is digitized on the spot, so there’s no conversion in transit.” 

He adds, “You’re actually getting the best of both worlds for a fraction of the cost of an analog line.”

On the roadmap for next year are APIs, enhancements to the ticketing platform, and the creation of a slate of training and educational content for MSP partners, Rodriguez says. In addition, GreenLink plans to provide an option for MSPs to manage customer implementations. “Right now, GreenLink is the company that sets up everything for the partner and the customer, and then they manage it. So, we’re going to be allowing partners, if they want, to onboard the client from beginning to end.”

3. ThreatLocker Has Endpoint Firewall for Work-From-Home Employees Coming Soon
ThreatLocker is finalizing development of a software-based endpoint firewall.

Expected to ship in the third quarter of the year, the new offering will give businesses with work-from-home employees a much-needed extra layer of protection, according to Ryan Bowman, a sales engineer at ThreatLocker.

“You’re not behind that corporate firewall anymore, and you’re not going to deploy a hardware firewall to your employee’s houses,” he notes.

ThreatLocker’s family of security solutions for SMBs, which is sold exclusively through MSPs, already includes application whitelisting, application ringfencing, storage control, and privilege access management components. 

Like the last of those systems, called Elevation Control and shipped in January, the new firewall will probably be sold as a separately licensed add-on to ThreatLocker’s core application security offering.

4. US Signal Rolls Out Virtual Workspace
US Signal talked with ChannelPro SMB Forum attendees about the June 2nd launch of Virtual Workspace, a platform-as-a-service solution that enables MSPs to securely and cost-effectively deliver custom desktop environments to users on any endpoint. The turnkey offering includes the cloud-delivered desktop environment and all the applications, data storage, and other resources required for working anywhere, anytime. Managed backup, N-able RMM, managed firewall, and anti-virus are also included in the $35 per-seat monthly fee. 

According to Jerry Clark, director of cloud sales development for US Signal, MSPs have full visibility into the environment via the Virtual Workspace management portal. In addition to provisioning, deploying, managing, and optimizing resources, MSPs can determine which apps to make available, set policies for user access, and add or delete users as needed. 

“[MSPs] don’t have to log into VMware and build out a domain controller and build out all these servers. … MSPs could log in and deploy a 50-user network in 10 minutes,” explains Clark, who says that thousands of seats have already been pre-sold. 

Paul Van Hyfte, executive vice president of sales at US Signal, adds that Virtual Workspace is a mature offering based on technology that US Signal has been hosting for years but supplemented with NetApp’s Virtual Desktop Service (known as CloudJumper Cloud Workspace Management Suite prior to NetApp’s acquisition of CloudJumper last April).

“We’re just taking our support that we know and do well and we’re tacking it onto this service that’s already been running in our environment, creating an easy-to-understand and consumable product for the MSPs.”

In Q3, US Signal expects to roll out endpoint detection and response software and an enhanced security monitoring solution. An SD-WAN service is currently planned as a Q4 or early 2022 release, according to Van Hyfte.

5. Zomentum is Investing Recent Funding Rounds in Integrations
Zomentum is developing a wave of integrations that will dramatically expand the range of connections with third-party applications supported by its sales acceleration software for IT providers.

Those enhancements will be among the most tangible manifestations of how Zomentum is investing the multiple rounds of investment funds it’s raised in the last year. Those include a $13 million infusion in February and a $4.1 million round last July.

When the additional integrations begin arriving later this year, promises Ted Roller, Zomentum’s vice president of customer success, the list of tie-ins on Zomentum’s web page will “sort of light up like a Christmas tree. There are going to be more and more.”

Integrations are a crucial part of how Zomentum’s software streamlines the IT sales process. The system is designed to automate sales-related workflows as well as labor-intensive tasks like drafting proposals by coordinating closely with CRM, PSA, accounting, and other applications.

“We kind of have to be connected with everything,” Roller says.

At present, the lengthy roster of solutions Zomentum integrates with include PSA applications from ConnectWise, Datto, Kaseya, and Syncro; product catalogs and ordering systems from D&H, Ingram Micro, SYNNEX, and Tech Data; and Intuit’s QuickBooks accounting system, along with Microsoft Outlook and the email and calendar components of Google Workspace. Payments software maker ConnectBooster and Keap, the CRM vendor formerly known as Infusionsoft, are the most recent additions to that list.

Marketing automation products capable of feeding fresh leads to Zomentum will figure prominently in the new integrations now in development, Roller says. Increased interest in marketing applications as well as Zomentum’s own solution, he continues, reflect a growing emphasis on—and confidence with—sales and marketing within the SMB channel, which has traditionally found identifying prospects and closing deals to be unfamiliar challenges.

“There are a lot of MSPs who are getting to be much, much better marketers and much, much better salespeople,” Roller says. “If there weren’t, we wouldn’t be growing the way we are.”

Roller gives the MSP community’s greater maturity and the increasingly crowded market for managed services credit for that change. “MSPs have to compete at a higher level today than they did before. It can’t be just showing up and taking leads from your existing customers,” he says. “You have to make the market that you don’t know about yet aware of your services or somebody else is going to do it and you’re going to lose the opportunity to grow.”

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