July of last year Kerio launched a new Asterisk-based distribution and now almost exactly one year later Kerio Operator 2.0 is being announced with support for integration with popular CRM solutions, including SugarCRM and Salesforce.com. Kerio Operator 2.0 now enables access to the Asterisk Management Interface (AMI). The open API allows 3rd party applications, like customer relationship management (CRM) systems and desktop-based dialers, to be integrated with Kerio Operator. CRM integration means sales professionals can dial their customers directly within their CRM interface, and their calls are automatically logged within the system.
I spoke with James Gudeli, vice president of business development, Kerio Technologies about this news. James told me that just one year later they now have approximately 60,000 deployments of their 4 products (Kerio Connect, Kerio Control, Kerio Operator, Kerio Workspace). I asked whether the CRM integration was for outbound (click-to-dial) and inbound dialing (screenpop CRM record based on CallerID) and he said that although the technology to do screenpop is there and they are working on screenpop-type integration, currently they are launching outbound integration with CRM systems.
“As an IT solutions provider with quite a few clients and potential customers, I need to make a lot of phone calls each day,” said Walter Huff, owner, Huff Technologies, a Kerio Preferred Partner in Jacksonville, Florida. “Kerio Operator 2.0, with its CRM integration tools, really speeds up that process and helps me get in touch with more leads.”
Kerio Operator 2.0 is available as a software appliance, with its own security-hardened operating system for deployments on custom hardware. Additionally, it comes in two hardware appliance configurations for customers who prefer rapid deployment. Additional new features include:
- Call Parking - Allows a user to put a call on hold at one telephone set and continue the conversation from any other telephone handset.
- Improved Extension Handling – If the same extension number is used on a desk phone and a smartphone, Kerio Operator can still provide each device with its own settings and they can be a members of ring group, call queues, or a call pickup room.
- Auto-provisioning - Automatic “plug-and-play” phone setup eliminates the hassle of configuring new phones to the network. Many popular phones are supported, including Cisco, Linksys, Polycom and Snom. They also just added support for Yealink phones.
They also added call recording and encrypted calls (TLS & SRTP).
The other interesting bit of news is the pricing has changed to be more competitive. In version v1.1, Kerio Operator 1.1 pricing started at $600 for a 5-user server license, where now in 2.0 it's only $150. The Kerio Operator Box 1210 appliance with a 20-user license in v1.1 was priced at $2,000 USD where now in v2.0 it's priced at $900. The Operator Box 3210 appliance with a 40-user license in v1.1 was priced at $3,000 USD and now in v2.0 it's $1,400. They did however bump up the cost slightly for additional user licenses. In v1.1 it was $24 each and now in v2.0 it's $30 each - $6 more.