Canadian News Items - Voxilla to Re-sell Polycom, and Cable Telephony Gaining Momentum

Two quick items of note today for the Canadian IP communications market.

First, Voxilla has just announced being a certified reseller of Polycom's products. The "aha" here is that they are the first distributor to have this status whose business is solely focused on VoIP, and whose channel is essentially Internet-based.

This is good news for Voxilla, as it moves them up the food chain from being a pure sales channel. They have invested in developing the product expertise needed to be a certified reseller, which should open the door to bigger sales opprotunities. For now, they will be carrying Polycom's line of Soundpoint IP phones, as well as their Soundstation IP conference phone.

This is also a good sign that the IP ecosystem is maturing. When a major vendor like Polycom certifies Voxilla as a reseller, it's a nice credibility boost for VoIP distributors to be bona fide channels. It validates them as being "value-added", and it also validates the Internet itself as a credible route to market. Looks like a win-win to me. Furthermore, since Voxilla is a hybrid distributor/publisher, they are in a great position to support Polycom with the written word in addition to their technical staff.

So, what's the Canadian angle? Thought you'd never ask. This is really more of a U.S. story - true - but it has a Canadian flavor. I recently posted that Voxilla has opened a Canadian operation in B.C., as they've noted strong demand here for VoIP products. Good for them, and good for Canada. Our IP ecosystem needs this kind of support, and now with Polycom, let's hope it continues to grow.

The second item is about VoIP cable telephony. Now that all 4 major MSOs are in the market, the papers have been talking about their collective progress. So far, Shaw and Videotron have made the most noise by far, with about 65,000 subscribers between them. That's a pretty good take rate considering their footprints, and the fact that both have only been available in a handful of urban markets.

Rogers is the biggest player, but just launched this month, so their impact really won't be felt until later this year. Cogeco is the other major MSO, and they operate in both Ontario and Quebec. On yesterday's conference call, they only announced a handful of customers, and gave every indication that VoIP is not their main priority. They're only investing $5 million in Capex, and expect no more than 8,000 VoIP subs by year end. Not an ambitious target, and I really don't see them being much of a driver in this space. So for me, Cogeco's news basically told me not to spend too much time following them, and to focus more on what the other MSOs are doing. And that's what I'll be doing.