Westcon sends VARs to SIP School

DeskphoneDistributor Westcon Group has expanded its relationship with The SIP School to North America, meeting what the company describes as a rapidly growing demand for education about the telephony technology.

Westcon launched the partnership with the UK-based online education organization last year in SIP School’s homeland, and soft-launched in North America three week ago, according to Robert Reams, senior manager of partner enablement for Westcon Group.

Reams said that with the UK launch, the program was well received and that he expects it to also be successful in North America, citing pent-up demand for training around Session Initiation Protocol.

“Everything I’ve seen says that SIP is of great interest to everybody, but there’s such a hole for training for SIP, Reams said.

SIP School is the only industry-first certification for the VOIP technology, and through the distributors Westcon Convergence Web site, Westcon resellers can sign up to take courses and examinations for the SIP School Certified Associate (SSCA) certification. Reams said that the course, and up to three shots at the certification exam, will cost “less than $500 (U.S.)” when purchased through the distributor. “The Westcon price will be better than [partners will] find on the street,” he said.

The education and examinations are all available online on an on-demand basis, a key concern for Reams, who said his goal was to bring SIP education to the channel without requiring incremental costs for travel to training sessions, and reducing the amount of time spent out of the field to get certified. In all, it should take about two hours for a reseller to go through those training elements and get certified.

But with those concerns relieved, t’s worth it for VARs to get up-to-date on the standard in Westcon’s estimation.

“SIP is the buzzword that every CIO is talking about in the boardroom,” Reams said. “This [standard] is where IP was ten year ago. We think it’s a game-changer, and we think our partners see it as a game-changer, and we can help our partners become the best SIP-trained and SIP-enabled partners out there if we get them certified.”

The education component is just part of the activity Westcon has around the VOIP standard, Reams said. He credited Avaya with making the protocol pervasive and compelling to business end users.

“SIP is the future for all of us, it’s where all of us are going to go,” Reams said. “The first vendor to take us where is going to get the lion’s share of the market because the demand is really out there. We want to make sure our resellers understand the market better than anyone else and have the advantage.”

Resellers can access the SIP School through a custom portal into the organization on Westcon Convergence’s Web site.