Captaris unifies across the enterprise

It may not have added any new elements, but Captaris Inc. has bundled several of its offerings along with announcing a monthly payment plan (MPP) aimed at the enterprise customers. The Kirkland, Wash.-based company is a provider of unified communications (UC) via its software products.

The new MPP offers three facets of the UC solution. This includes the Infinite Mobile Delivery that offers wireless access to both the desktop and corporate data, which also pushes information using Internet-enabled mobile phones, two way pagers or PDA devices, Another facet, RightFax, combines fax and e-mail and Internet technologies to provide e-document delivery. The final element offered, CallXpress, provides a single access point to messaging from the Internet, desktop or telephone. The hardware is also included, along with professional services for training of the organization’s IT staff.

The thrust behind the offering is to improve the choices mobile users have to getting at their data, a company spokesperson said.

“Adding all these together allows an individual who is on the road to have access to a document that is attached to an e-mail and then have that forwarded to any fax machine,” said Chris Davis, senior vice-president of global marketing at Captaris in Kirkland, Wash.

While North America does lag behind both Europe and Asia in its wireless adoption, the demand side of the equation is firmly in place. Users crave the freedom that UC offers. One such user – and Captaris Mobile Delivery customer – was impressed by the ease to get connected.

“I downloaded it and ran the install. It asked me where my server was and it was up and running. I had (access to) my e-mail, calendar and addresses…it offers everything that Microsoft Outlook 2000 offers (and) I deleted e-mails and made appointments,” said Tim Veninga, network administrator at Mesch, Clarke and Rothschild law firm in Tucson, Arizona. He and the firm’s lawyers currently use a Palm phone to obtain their information.

The concept of unified messaging or bundling is an idea that telcos latched on to years ago but neither the carriers or the enterprises have been able to “execute it right,” said Will Stofega, analyst residential telecom and small business at IDC in Framingham, Mass.

Captaris will find itself in a dogfight in the U.S. market with both Sprint, which offers an integrated office product, and Verizon Wireless. Verizon has embarked on an interesting path by offering to pay companies for their existing installed voice messaging systems and operating them. In exchange, the companies would agree to use and buy Verizon’s equipment, Stofega said.

On the whole, Stofega said unified communications is gaining some momentum in the industry but vendors don’t appear to be sure as to which services customers even want.

Here in Canada, both Sprint Canada and Telus have unified messaging services in place, but as one analyst said, demand from customers isn’t exactly going through the roof.

“I’m not sure about the uptake but there are solutions out there that are already available in the marketplace,” said Ron Gruia, program leader, enterprise communications solutions, at Frost & Sullivan in Toronto.

The unified suite is now available for enterprises that can support a minimum of 100 seats. The payment plan ranges from 12, 24 and 36 months starting at US$6 per user, per month. For details, visit the company online at