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Kiwi info overload option

01 Jul 2012

A need for smarter tools to keep control of communications for his online health business has sparked a locally developed online communication and collaboration tool — and a new opportunity for Kiwi resellers.

Toby Ruckert, Unified Inbox chief executive and founder, says with the software due to launch in a few months, the company is seeking partners in the e-commerce space, SMB consultants, Software-as-a-Service companies and system integrators.

The system unites email from compatible webmail providers and company domains; social media including Facebook and Twitter; and other channels in a single ‘intelligent’ communication and collaboration hub, capable of identifying important communications and with the power to interrupt users based on the importance of those communications.

While Ruckert acknowledges that there are competing products in the market — most notably Gmail, which he sees as the primary competitor, and HootSuite in the social media space — he says none do what Unified Inbox does ‘across the board’.

Ruckert says the system offers potential in helping businesses cope with today’s increasing issue of information overload.

“Our threshold of concentration is getting less and less. There are so many interruptions nowadays that international research from Basex says it’s costing billions of dollars each year in productivity,” Ruckert says. “Unified Inbox allows you to manage that information flow much more effectively.”

Small and medium businesses will be a key target market locally for the software, which is currently in public beta with 2000 sign-offs in 72 countries.

“We do have several corporations who are very interested and we are having discussions with some in the United States and Europe, but by their nature, these will be long negotiations and integrations.

“With SMBs, they can get instant feedback and instant benefits.”

He says the system’s management of social media is a popular selling point for small businesses, who are often struggling to incorporate social media into their business. “With this, they can just log in and use it as if it was an email application. They don’t have to learn to use Facebook... I think that will be a popular point, along with the sheer convenience of not having to go somewhere to see what someone has written about the business — it’ll all be there in your inbox.”

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