After spending over three years creating its flagship product, a Toronto-based software developer is now looking to partner with value-added resellers interested in offering its solution to the Canadian market.
Since the company formed four years ago, Carmel Vision’s main focus has been to build its Virtual Filing Cabinet (VFC) infrastructure and prepare it for the market.
“The biggest challenge on the market today is not being able to access vital information like documents and e-mails related to particular documents quickly and easily,” said Dov Berliner, president of Carmel Vision. “We looked at it as one issue to tackle — how to manage and organize all the information on a computer into one easy-to-use system,” he said.
So Berliner and his team of developers came up with a centralized system for storing, indexing and retrieving all types of communication. The VFC, which was created using Microsoft’s .NET platform and C# programming language, is a contact and document management solution allowing users to view on a single screen a full history of correspondence associated with a person, a company, a work group or job.
These correspondences range from e-mail, phone conversations, faxes, file transfers over HTTP, Voice over IP (VoIP), instant messaging, document management, video conferencing, document and business card scanning.
“This solution uses one search engine so everything is organized in a single database,” said Berliner’s son, Tomer, Carmel Vision’s vice-president of technology. “In one click you get instant access to other communication activities no matter what they are.”
Dov Berliner wouldn’t give details of the pricing model, but said it is based on the number of VFC components the customer purchases.
On the server side, VFC is integrated with a number of Microsoft products including Windows Server 2003, Small Business Server, SQL Server, Exchange 2003, Live Communication and Share Point Portal Server. On the client side, the system is integrated with Windows XP, Office 2003 and MapPoint.
“This is a horizontal infrastructure that has all the core components,” said Tomer Berliner. “What we’re looking for are resellers that understand this technology, can grasp the concept and than be able to build their own component on top of it.”
He added that VARs are free to rebrand the tool and sell it under their own company name and logo. “VFC is fully customizable. Partners can sell it under their own look and feel,” he said.
Carmel Vision, said Dov Berliner, is seeking big and small VAR organizations. “We’re looking for sophisticated resellers that can take this product, sell it to customers, provide training and be the first line of support,” he said.
The system also includes a Web-based deployment tool allowing remote customer installations and software updates.
Another feature integrated into VFC is VoIP capability through Skype and Microsoft Live Communication client dialers. The option to record conversations and automatically file them under the associated contact in the contact management system is also available.
Aim Interactive, a Toronto-based solution provider, was one of the first to partner with Carmel’s VFC offering. Company president Garry Revesz said “when I saw this technology, all of a sudden the lights went on and I thought this is something we can mold into another application for our customers. We see it as a supplement to other solutions.”
Aim’s main area of focus is in customer relationship management (CRM), sales force automation and end-to-end business processes. “CRM is not for everybody. A lot of companies require a productivity tool to help them deal with daily business functions, activities, communications and documents,” said Revesz. “CRM has a very specific and structured role in an organization and a lot of companies don’t need that.”
Revesz said both companies worked closely together over the course of a year ironing out the tool’s components. “When I first saw the technology, it wasn’t ready for the market,” he said. “They’re a great development team but not a marketing team. We worked together and fed back to them after internal use, testing in-house to address the changes that were needed to be made, additional functionality for user friendliness.”
Now, he added, Aim is ready to market the solution its calling Virtual Smart Office (VSO) within the next month.
“This is not a vertical application so it applies to any kind of business or enterprise,” said Revesz. He added that Aim Interactive will also offer software developers kits and APIs (application interfaces) in conjunction with VSO as a way of integrating the tool to CRM applications.
“Sage’s Accpacc CRM, for instance, doesn’t include a file transfer feature,” he said. “We can now integrate VSO into those environments.”
Carmel Vision is continuing to build new features on top of VFC. “In the future, you will be able to do searches using voice and we will be adding that,” said Dov Berliner.
For now the technology is available for desktop and notebook computers only but he added, later this year, the company will also integrate the application into Windows CE for mobile devices.