Robert Messer, founder and president of ABP (News - Alert) International, Inc., knows as much about how to make more money selling IP communications products and services as anyone I know.
His own Dallas-based company ABP Technology, a distributor for high-end IT and telecom products, runs a show every year called “IP Sizzles” (formerly “VoIP Sizzles”), which focuses on reseller education, and Robert and I have served on many Internet Telephony Conference & Expo panels together.
Robert, a Harvard Business School graduate who took a memorable trip to Panama earlier this year – will have his company set up in booth 618 at this year’s ITEXPO (News - Alert), to be held Sept. 16 to 18 in Los Angeles.
During this year’s show, on Sept. 17, Robert will join me and three other speakers to lead “Making Money in IP Communications,” a 45-minute look at how to become successful when selling communications products and services. The market is filled with opportunity and pitfalls and navigating the field is something which requires experience and collaboration with peers. The session is widely hailed as a must-attend for those involved in communications sales to SMB or enterprise customers, including classic interconnects, data VARs, VADs and security resellers.
I’m expecting data and networking, telephony, wireless, security, fire and alarm resellers to swarm around ABP’s space on the floor. Robert told me in the following interview that ABP will showcase a new quality-of-service and redundant Internet appliance, as well as its trademark solution packages for resellers based in IP telephony, mobility solutions, high-end WiFi solutions and IP video surveillance.
RT: What has been your company’s biggest achievement in 2008 so far?
RM: ABP added an IP Video Surveillance product line providing resellers VoIP and IP Video solutions.
RT: What can we expect to see for from your company for the next 12 months?
RM: ABP is expanding, into wireless with high-end outdoor and indoor access solutions, as well further into the security and access control space and providing IP Resellers a complete range of solutions covering telephony, video surveillance and access control.
RT: How do you see the communications market evolving?
RM: IP Telephony is gradually replacing digital phones, and open standards based IP-PBX (News - Alert) systems are becoming the most popular solution in the SMB space. SIP trunks are gradually replacing lines for outbound calls and DIDs.
RT: How has Google (News - Alert) changed our markets?
RM: Google giveth and taketh. Resellers get leads from customers they have never heard from before, but we also see a phenomenon where customers think they can just Google things up and will know what to buy. Many people mistake information with knowledge, and information can take away a lot of value from the specialist and resellers. This enables direct marketing companies and low-value online channels to market products that should have been sold through specialized channels. In the end, users will have to learn that if they need support and help, they should buy from specialist.
RT: How about Apple?
RM: Not a player in telecommunications yet, but they have robust products. With the right software solutions, they could definitely become a player, especially with iPhone (News - Alert) integration.
RT: What mobile phone(s) do you use?
RM: iPhone and Blackberry.
RT: Who will win in an Apple/RIM war?
RM: Probably both. The nondescript, phone-only vendors will lose out the most.
RT: What do you think the communications market might look like in five years?
RM: We should have a consolidation in the open source IP-PBX space with two or three winners out of the current 40-plus vendors offering solutions. One of the larger carriers might embrace a SIP-centric solution and market it for all the right reasons. Follow-me, mobility with WiFi-cellular integration, unified messaging, integration to some vertical applications, and so on.
RT: What will attendees see in your booth at ITEXPO this September?
RM: ABP will be showing complete solution packages for resellers based for IP telephony, mobility solutions, high-end Wi-Fi solutions and IP video surveillance, as well as a new quality-of-service and redundant Internet appliance.
RT: What sorts of companies should come to your exhibit?
RM: Data and networking resellers, telephony resellers, wireless, security, fire and alarm resellers.
RT: Why should customers choose your company’s solutions?
RM: We offer best-of-breed solutions that have been tested along with pre-sales support and a comprehensive range of post-sales support options, depending on their needs.
ABP Tech is a platinum sponsor of Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year. ITEXPO will take place in Los Angeles, California, September 16-18, 2008, featuring three valuable days of exhibits, conferences, and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss. Don’t wait. Register now!
Rich Tehrani is President and Group Editor-in-Chief of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world’s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.
Edited by Michael Dinan