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WPC 2012: Vendor News Roundup

A selection of new products and announcements from Microsoft's partners at this year's Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto.

This year's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference at Toronto, Canada was full of major Microsoft-related news, from an officially confirmed Windows 8 timetable to the unveiling of the Office 365 Open program. But plenty of Microsoft's partner companies that were in attendance at WPC had news of their own.

Below are just a few of the many vendor announcements from WPC. For a closer look at what partners were up to at the conference, check out our WPC 2012 Expo Hall Guide, which features in-depth interviews from executives of over 20 vendors showcasing their products at this year's conference.

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Unified communications (UC) and IP telephony company Aastra was at WPC to demo a pair of its Microsoft Lync-optimized IP phones. Both the lower-end (and lower-cost) 6721ip phone and the more feature-rich 6725ip phone are integrated with the desktop Lync client, Microsoft Communications Server and Outlook Calendar and contacts. Features include wideband audio, easy access to common calling functions and a color 3.5-inch LCD screen. [AASTRA ON THE WPC 2012 EXPO HALL GUIDE]

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Microsoft Dynamics partners Armanino Consulting and Axonom are teaming up to provide a unified ERP/CRM solution specifically for semiconductor and high-tech electronics manufacturers -- an industry first, the two companies said. The product is designed to automate the flow of business processes across multiple departments between ERP and CRM, and to help semiconductor and electronics companies simplify their supply chain management. The solution is Certified for Microsoft Dynamics, indicating that it has been tested to ensure a level of integration with Dynamics that meets Microsoft's standards.

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Cloud-based backup and recovery software provider Asigra minted a partnership with Parallels in February that gave the latter's partners access to Asigra's Cloud Backup offering. Asigra was in WPC this week to tout the partnership as well as Cloud Backup, which is aimed particularly at MSPs concerned with solutions for BYOD (bring-your-own-device) environments. Cloud Backup works for servers and PCs as well as mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, and can be deployed for multiple devices at once.

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For IT departments coping with BYOD ("Bring Your Own Device") environments, Azaleos launched its Mobile Device Management Service, which secures all mobile devices -- both company- and employee-owned -- within an enterprise. The service works on both public and private clouds or on-premises, is compatible with all major mobile device platforms, and costs $5 a user per month. It lets IT secure even devices that have been lost, jail-broken or offline, with provisions to protect against data leakage of sensitive data.

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Ensim, a provide of cloud management solutions, was in WPC to announce the launch of its Ensim Service Catalog Manager, which the company described as a "unified self-service IT portal that facilitates on-demand provisioning for private or hybrid cloud computing and works for all the services that are offered by enterprise IT departments and their partners." It limits what services are visible to end users to request based on existing authorization policies.

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Germinare announced the global availability of its Recovery as a Service (RaaS) offering myVault Email Archive, an e-mail archiving and recovery product that runs entirely on Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform. myVault Email Archive does not require any hardware and can be up and running in minutes, Germinare said, so partners can brand and sell it as part of their cloud offerings almost immediately. A free trial is available on the Windows Azure Marketplace. More of Germinare's RaaS products are expected to become available on Windows Azure by the end of this year.

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U.K.-based Mimecast, a provider of cloud-based security and e-mail archiving services for Exchange and Office 365, announced the launch of its North American Partner Program at WPC this week. Mimecast described the new program as the product of five years of brainstorming with its existing international partners, and said it plans to grow its U.S. channel revenue by 50 percent over the next two years. The new program will have four tiers -- Authorized, Business, Certified and Alliance -- and come with training opportunities, on-demand support, and consulting and marketing resources. [MIMECAST ON THE WPC 2012 EXPO HALL GUIDE]

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IT hosting company Peer 1 launched its SMART Partner Program back in April, but the company took to WPC this week to recruit partners. The new performance-based referral partner program rewards commissions on a monthly basis for the life of the contract. A second tier in the program, SMART +, is for higher-revenue partners whose commissions are "evergreen." There is no monthly revenue minimum. Partner benefits include easy-to-calculate commissions (SMART partners get 8 percent per month for the length of the contract while SMART + partners get 12 percent), invitations to regional partner events and dedicated representatives.

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RoseASP, a San Diego, Calif.-based provider of hosted Dynamics solutions, unveiled its on-demand Dynamics trial service called myERPcloud. Scheduled to launch this fall, myERPcloud is designed give organizations cloud-based 30-day trials of Dynamics ERP and Dynamics CRM at no cost. The service comes with preconfigured ERP demo environments, and users will receive a list of local Dynamics partners that details their specialties and products.

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IP communications company Sangoma was at WPC to demo the new NetBorder Lync Express, which combines Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Windows Server 2008 and Sangoma's own NetBorder Express VoIP gateway in one appliance that promises to streamline UC deployments. The product supports up to 100 users, but for larger companies Sangoma offers the NetBorder Express Kit, which users can install on any server. A Lync Express appliance enables PSTN connection via the included E1/T1/J1-compliant digital telephony span, and it also comes with four FXS line connections.

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Exchange hosting company SherWeb launched the SherWeb Cloud Service Distributor Program -- the only cloud distributor program of its kind, the company said. Under the program, resellers provide their clients with SherWeb's services but SherWeb would take the responsibility of providing clients with round-the-clock customer support. Resellers retain control of pricing and billing, as well as receive access to SherWeb's marketing and sales training resources.

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Collaboration solutions provider SMART Technologies took the wraps off its SMART Meeting Pro connector for Microsoft Lync, giving Lync Server 2010 users access to SMART's line of collaboration products. SMART Meeting Pro lets users boot Lync in as little as one minute. Using SMART's interactive, touch-enabled "whiteboards," users in different locations can share data, video or audio. They can also make simultaneous edits to documents on their whiteboards using the SMART Ink feature. SMART Meeting Pro is scheduled to become generally available in August. [SMART TECHNOLOGIES ON THE WPC 2012 EXPO HALL GUIDE]

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Cloud security company Trend Micro announced the revamp of both its North American partner program and its MSP program. Changes to the North American partner program, which is slated to go live in October, include a new partner portal and training program, as well as a certification program that is more focused on Trend Micro's virtualization and cloud security products and its Worry-Free product line. For MSPs, Trend Micro said it is padding its program with new tools like a Web-based management console and the self-provisioning Trend Micro Licensing Management Platform. The company is also giving MSPs the option of a pay-as-you-go purchasing and renewals.

In addition to partner-related news, Trend Micro also announced that its Trend Micro Worry Free Business Security Services will integrate with the forthcoming Windows Server 2012 Essentials, which Microsoft said on WPC Day 1 will become generally available in September. [TREND MICRO ON THE WPC 2012 EXPO HALL GUIDE]

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Microsoft Lync ISV Zeacom launched its Zeacom Communications Center (ZCC) Helpdesk for Lync this week. To improve helpdesk response times and efficiency, ZCC Helpdesk directs calls and e-mails to the helpdesk members with the appropriate skill levels, and only when they become available. Another feature prioritizes customer queries so that important calls and e-mails are answered ahead of others. ZCC Helpdesk lets administrators adjust the flow of queries based on criteria like workload and time of day. And integration between ZCC Helpdesk and Dynamics CRM facilitates contact management.

Also at WPC, Zeacom announced a partnership with unified communications systems integrator Ronco Communications. [ZEACOM ON THE WPC 2012 EXPO HALL GUIDE]

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