Cbeyond Kicks Interop Program Up a Notch

IT EXPO — Cbeyond Inc. (CBEY) announced Wednesday at the Internet Telephony Expo a new technology partner program that takes the service provider’s existing interoperability program to the next level.

The Cbeyond Platform Partner Program allows equipment manufacturers to choose their level of engagement with Cbeyond and having Cbeyond match that effort. The program has three partnership tiers, organized according to mutual marketing and technical support investment criteria, explained Brad Linden, vice president and general manager of the indirect channel for Cbeyond.

The first tier, Silver, is a standard interoperability agreement between the manufacturer and Cbeyond’s BeyondVoice with SIPconnect service. Gear makers pay $5,000 as a partial subsidy for the testing. Previously, Cbeyond has not changed manufacturers for testing. Manufacturers’ gear already certified is grandfathered, but any new models that are tested will fall under the new program.

The second tier, Gold, includes alignment of marketing and support between the two companies and a commitment of $25,000 in market development funds to be matched by Cbeyond. Interoperability testing fees are waived.

The third tier, Platinum, is similar to the Gold tier but with a $50,000 market development fund commitment from each partner.

The program first will be offered to current interoperable equipment manufacturers. The company claims to have 23 such partners. In late October, the program will be opened to other equipment manufacturers.

Interested parties can fill out an application at the Cbeyond Web site. Linden said those applications will be reviewed by marketing and product management. Accepted applications will begin a kickoff campaign within 30 days.

The program will emphasize joint marketing, including support for indirect sales channels for Cbeyond and its platform partners. The market development funds, Linden explained, will be allocated toward partner training and recruitment, spiffs and contests, demand generation and thought leadership (press releases and newsletters, etc.)

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