Agito's Latest Release Promises Business VoIP Calls Over 3G

PBX infrastructure

With the goal being to drastically reduce the cost of international cell phone calling for enterprises by making a mobile device essentially part of the PBX system, with similar features, Agito's products integrate with an enterprise's existing PBX infrastructure to enable voice calls over VoIP connections.

Its successive releases have enabled even more user flexibility, and the latest is no exception.

Agito last week debuted Agito Global Enterprise, a new package of unified communications products that includes version 4.0 of Agito's flagship RoamAnywhere Mobility Router.

The new version supports enterprise VoIP calls over 3G cellular networks, according to Agito. Anyone using an Agito-supported 3G mobile device, that is, can make VoIP calls over cellular data connections and bypass international roaming rates. Thanks to 4.0, users don't even need Wi-Fi phones anymore.

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So far, Agito is compatible with Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch, Nokia's E72 and a number of Research In Motion BlackBerry handsets, including BlackBerry Tour, BlackBerry Curve and BlackBerry Bold 9700.

"We're trying to focus on the cost savings, above all," said Pejman Rothan, Agito's co-founder and chief marketing officer. "This is the first enterprise solution for voice-over-3G, which is a phenomenal tool for travelers because they can bypass the roaming rates overseas. And it works with pretty much any PBX you can think of."

The RoamAnywhere v4.0 package, which will be available starting in March, comes in three series: the 2000 series (starting at $9,995 and intended for 25 to 100 users), the 4000 series ($26,995, intended for 100 to 1,000 users) and the new 6000 series ($34,995, capable of up to 10,000 users), the latter of which includes voice processing and encryption acceleration among other high-end features.

Agito is also for the first time offering RoamAnywhere packages under a subscription-based pricing model (starting at $4 per user, per month). Roshan admitted some users balk at the substantial capital investment, and countered that the subscription model can help RoamAnywhere be more of an operational expense.

Agito has also continued to offer high-volume discounts, but the overall message, Roshan said, is that the money enterprises save on international calling charges is well worth the investment.

"When you see it in action and can see it really working, this is the type of product that sells itself," he said. "I think resellers are starting to see that pretty quickly."

Agito was keen on building a channel-friendly reputation early, especially with carriers and high-profile integrators like Dimension Data.

A robust channel will be crucial, Roshan suggested, as the opportunity for mobility increases and Agito rivals like DiVitas -- as well as consumer VoIP products like Skype -- continue to push mobile devices as feature-rich extensions of what business users would find in the office.

Agito's channel management has also continued to expand. In December, the company named Donna Henderson, a 25-year AT&T veteran, as its vice president of strategic accounts, heading up the growth of Agito's carrier, agent and direct sales channels.

The company's message is resonating, say Agito's channel partners.

"When you look at some of the solutions Cisco or Avaya have out there, they still require an additional application, whereas Agito's has seamless integration to your existing PBX," said Gregory Schlabaugh, a commercial applications consultant with Anchorage-based carrier GCI. "A person wants to pick up a phone and make a call or receive an incoming call and not have to change the way they do that. They want to have everything be seamless and have all the technology magic happen behind the scenes. Agito is the only organization so far that I can tell can bring that experience to the end user."

When he gets pushback from potential customers, Schlabaugh said, it's usually around the initial capital expense of the Agito implementation, and said GCI is pleased Agito is working on different pricing models.

He also dismissed the notion that services like Agito's face competition from VoIP offerings like Skype and Google Voice, even as Skype and Google attempt to orient those services to enterprise use.

"You're still talking about using two different applications," he said. "You don't have that seamless integration to your PBX, even as a hosted IP-PBX. That's not an apples-to-apples comparison."

For some carriers and solution providers, Schlabaugh suggested, Agito's products would lend well to a hosted model -- something that's indeed on radar, according to Agito.

Roshan said Agito was continuing to explore additional pricing models for Agito products, and beginning to target the SMB segment with hosted VoIP cellular service using RoamAnywhere.

"They've been fairly persistent in their communications with us, and very active in trying to open new leads and opportunities in our area," Schlabaugh said of Agito's channel outreach. "The thing about us is we have a very small customer base compared to an AT&T, Verizon or Sprint. But they see that as a benefit, too, and they've been very involved and responsive."