A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine told me that he was setting up a new Real Estate company here in Vancouver and already had hired 25 people. He needed a scalable phone system that would grow with him and would cost an arm and a leg in up-front capital costs. If anyone would have asked me 3-5 years ago I would have said there is no such thing. Today its a different story, or is it?
I had met a fellow a couple of years back at VON Canada who was running a very small SMB VoIP company called Shift Networks (traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol SHF) . Trent Johnsen struck me as a very capable and professional CEO. We had some great conversations about SIP, VoIP, Softphones, Presence et al. As it turns out Trent had a couple of tickets to the Jays game that night so we continued our conversation at the ball park. I had a blast! How refreshing it was to meet an executive in the industry who is all about business but yet still understands how to enjoy his work.
So when I was sourcing this SMB VoIP offering I right away thought of Trent. I found his company Shift Networks on the web. Shift has their HQ in Calgary and the website mentioned that they would have dial tone in Vancouver around this time. Before talking to Trent I had some good conversations with the sales and technical staff. It was starting to sound like this could be a good solution for my friends new company in Vancouver.
I called my contacts in the SIP feature server and softswitch world and soon found out that it was pretty slim pickings for hosted business-class VoIP here in Vancouver or in Canada for that matter.
I called Trent and we talked for some time about their current offering and where the company was headed. I came to the conclusion that they had done a great job in laying the initial groundwork for what could be the next Covad in Canada. Trent started talking about his plans for IP business applications and that really peaked my interest. From what I heard I would say that Shift is set to be a real contender in the SMB VoIP market giving Bell and Telus a run for their money, which shouldnt be too hard 😉 Shift already has people on the ground here in Vancouver and one of their first customers here could very well be a new real estate company. With Trent at the wheel you can bet that there will be some great apps coming down the pipe as well.
Shifts offering can grow and move with your company. If you are business owner and you are thinking of a new PBX or phone system take a look at Shift.