Startup Tello emerged from stealth mode last month with a subscription-based hosted collaboration service that allows users to interact using voice, instant messaging and e-mail, as well as business applications such as ERP, spreadsheets and PowerPoint. While proprietary collaboration solutions such as IBM SameTime and Microsoft Live Communications Server are focused on internal communications, Tello enables cross-business communications because it’s built on open standards, said Tello CEO Doug Renert. “Tello connects and interoperates with VoIP systems, PBXes, mobile devices and fixed voice services, so you can have a contact list that shows availability, with click-to-connect capability,” he said.
Tello, San Mateo, Calif., is partnering with VoIP systems vendors such as Avaya, Cisco Systems, Digium and Nortel Networks and is in discussions with VAR partners of those vendors to explore additional avenues for driving adoption of Tello, Renert said. “VARs can sell the Tello service as an option to some of the systems they’re already installing,” he said. Scott Klemm, vice president of operations at Distributed Computing, an Avaya solution provider in Baltimore, said although his small-business customers like the idea of putting collaboration technology behind voice and data components, not all are equipped to handle the implementation. “The hosted service does remove the technological difficulty—that’s the difficult part for small businesses to manage,” he said.
Tello offers free desktop and mobile client applications that work on Windows-based PCs and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry devices. Tello Enterprise combines these clients and incorporates APIs to connect back end systems such as IP-PBX, CRM, and ERP to the Tello service, said Renert.
Available now, the Tello Enterprise service costs $30 per user per year.