Startup heralds birth of unified messaging

Startup heralds birth of unified messaging

Sydney-based startup Unified Systems Australia has announced the availability of a world-class unified messaging system and is on the lookout for interested resellers and retailers keen for new revenue streams.

The company is distributing a system developed in the US by Tornado which allows users to retrieve and send e-mails, voicemails, faxes, pager and SMS messages remotely, from one inbox via any Web-enabled PC, mobile phone or handheld device.

The system, re-branded in Australia as Mailone, allows users to listen to e-mails over the phone, hear voicemail through PCs, or even access fax information on their mobile phone. Focused on convenience, it groups all of a user's messaging requirements into one location.

At the start of this year, Unified Systems Australia managing director Richard Dufty had left Phoneware and was visiting trade shows in Asia and the US to try and figure out how to get unified messaging service off the ground in Australia. He soon discovered the Tornado unified messaging service, being sold in the US through large telcos such as Sprint, Verizon and Siemens.

Less than 12 months later, Dufty has formed a company that has signed the rights to the Tornado product in Australia. He also secured a venture capital investment from Advanced Communications Technologies (which now owns 51 per cent of Unified Messaging Australia), acquired voice and data network billing company Transmit, and hired a staff of 12.

Dufty quickly moved to sign up telco/ISP resellers in Australia to broaden the distribution of Mailone and has struck a three-year, multimillion-dollar deal to supply unified messaging to Canberra-based broadband provider TransACT Communications. TransACT will be the first reseller to offer the unified messaging service, in early 2002.

Unified Systems Australia continues to sign up such reseller partners, which tend to bundle the Mailone product with their own products. Apple Communications is bundling the product with the sale of its calling cards, and ISPs Go-Connect, Sun Telecom and RSL have also signed partner agreements.

Dufty said he is currently discussing selling a retail incarnation of the Mailone product through chains such as Harvey Norman and the Strathfield Group. "We are looking for more partners to resell the product," he said. "It promises some very healthy margins -- anywhere between 15 and 30 per cent".

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