This is one of those posts that many will respond to saying "oh but Google/Yahoo/Facebook/Symantec/AVG/Lavasoft has been doing that forever and for free – what’s so new about that?" Which is sort of a valid point and sort of not.

I live in two worlds – I’m an early adopter who uses bleeding-edge solutions, but I also work within organisations where Wiki has no other meaning than being the Maori word for "week", where blogs are nothing other than the surname of a fellow called Joe and where IMAP just means your fingers were cold when trying to type the word "map".

Yup – the fact of the matter is that Joe Public wants and arguably needs nicely managed, packaged and explained vanilla solutions.

Anyway – a couple of new products from Telecom piqued my interest.

Telecom Business Mail is MS Exchange and Outlook for the masses. It allows for mail, appointments and tasks to be accessed wherever and whenever. It leverages MS Outlook and subscription pricing (which, let’s face it, the majority of the population is comfortable with), has anti-spam/virus, handles the security side of things and comes with tech support which, tragic though it may sound, the majority of users still want. It costs users $10/month and is charged directly to their existing account.

Telecom Computer Care which is soon to be released is another one of those things that the digerati wished there was no need for but unfortunately there is*. Basically it’s virtual service tech combined with virtual sysadmin. Telecom deploys some fancy management software that, in the background, performs routine diagnostics and maintenance. It also has built in alerts and reports to let customers know of existing or rising issues. Once again the idea is nothing new – there are a multitude of (often free) applications which can do the same thing – but Joe Public doesn’t use them and is frightened by them.

All this stuff is pretty heartening for a SaaS junky. It shows that telcos can deploy SaaS solutions (other than their SaaS-like phone lines) ad bring them to the masses.

There’s also some really cool SME type stuff that I’ve heard we’ll see come out from the NZ Herald and Telecom in the next week or so – it’ll be interesting to look out for that.

* example – this morning one of my colleagues came to me with a networking issue. He was having trouble accessing some files on a remote machine. I asked him whether the remote machine was actually turned on – you can guess the answer 🙂

And now the all important disclosure part. Diversity Limited has in the past consulted to Telecom – not specifically about the things mentioned above but about more general issues. That consulting relationship has now finished. Telecom is going to be a headline sponsor of a new initiative being set up by Ben, but this is entirely independent and neutral and any comments I make about Telecom are genuine and honest – ’nuff said!

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

7 Comments
  • I can see both of these really taking off for Telecom, anything that can make users lives easier is good, whomever the supplier. One oversight though is on their "coming soon" page for Computer Care they mention "Our Computer Care service plans will start from just under $20 +GST per computer." but they don't specifically say whether it's a one-off charge or ongoing per month/bi-monthly etc. I imagine it will be $20 + gst per month per computer, but they should explicitly state that.

  • $20 a month I think Sam – and yep, once it launches I'm sure they'll have better details on pricing

  • So Telecom are reselling Verio's Easy Site builder, probably a good idea for them as it's cheaper than building their own solution. Will they be hosting the sites in the USA too? And the Computer Care plan sounds good but without any details it's still vapourware at the moment. How are Telecom proposing they integrate with the existing vendors, or are they trying to oust the existing vendors in favour of their Gen-i unit? Best bet would be to partner with existing vendors as they will be able to promote it to their customers as a trusted advisor.

  • @stuartm – hopefully someone from the mothership can fill us in on this…..

  • Hi it's the mothership here – sorry couldn't resist 🙂 Vic from Telecom here. Re question above about Computer Care, we have partnered with a local company in regards to this service. A key part of this is the remote monitoring software. And if something does go wrong, this same company provide a nationwide fieldforce of IT engineers to get out their fast and fix it. Full details will be put on the site at launch and at that stage we will be very visible about who our partner is. And yes pricing is monthly and we'll get that fix made to the website – thanks for alerting us.

  • Thanks for the update Vic – great to hear that you're following, and even better to see you get involved n the discussion – keep it up!

  • lance wiggs |

    1: $20 a month is a lot for the people that need this service, but there is a gap in the market. I've solved my computer servicing issues (family and friends) by having a "macs only" policy. It's astonishing how many people have switched. 2: I would never recommend that anyone is gets dependent on an ISP or Telco for their email delivery. Xtra's Yahoo migration is a case in point. There are plenty of independent email suppliers. 3: But most of all I wish Telecom would first start investing in and delivering decent and cost efficient infrastructure, and they have done that then come back and invest in these sorts of add-ons.

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