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 π
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!