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Startup Visenza targets SMB smartphones

Start-up focuses on wireless sync for small-business users

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After almost four months in beta trials, startup Visenza is preparing to come to market with a technology to connect small and medium-sized businesses and self-employed individuals with their corporate lives. Set to launch around Labor Day, the company’s wireless technology links independent smartphone users to a shared server for Microsoft Outlook or Entourage connectivity.

The market for small businesses, consultants and individual consumers has largely been overlooked by vendors targeting enterprises, according to Eric Bengston, founder and chief executive officer of Visenza. The technology has always been either too expensive or too complex. Yet Research in Motion estimates that out of more than 14 million BlackBerry users, 38% fall into the small-business category. In terms of new subscribers, about 50% that purchase Blackberrys are non-enterprise customers. As the line between smartphones and consumer phones continues to be blurred, Bengston saw an increasing need for the non-traditional enterprise user to stay connected as well.

“We’re focusing on a packaged solution that is available for small businesses and the consultant/consumer market,” he said. “We’re offering something that most people, our target consumer for the most part, either don’t know is available or know it’s available in a corporate environment but don’t know how to get it. Our goal is to make it simple and help people to really experience that freedom and increase productivity.”

Visenza connects these independent users to its own share-hosted server with technology that’s much the same as that used by large enterprises. As such, the functionality can be comparable for any type of user. SMBs and individuals can access their email through a Blackberry or iPhone starting this fall, using Outlook or Entourage or through Web Outlook access. This also gives them access to other Outlook features, including the calendar, global address book, out-of-office notices and sharing of notes and tasks. For small businesses, Visenza will offer packages of 10 to 100 mailboxes for bundled services. Right now its trial program includes a combination of 100 individuals and SMBs, including one Australian-based small business.

“It’s the same technology that large enterprises and corporations have been using for some time as far as a hosted exchange – the same thing as having an exchange server at a remote location – the Blackberry connectivity,” Bengston said. “We are providing that economy of scale by being able to provide the same level of service to individuals and SMBs that have had that same type of corporate email system for some time.”

With the iPhone 2.0, which has gotten a lot of attention for its enterprise features, ActiveSync already allows its users to connect their phones with their Exchange servers. However, Bengston pointed out that unless someone is working within a corporation that has an Exchange server with ActiveSync, the individual still won’t be able to access that server. That is where Vicenza – loosely translated to “without wires” – comes into play.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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