Is Asylum Telecom the Nextel of VoIP for Motorola? With the news today about an investment in Asylum by Motrola's VC arm, it appears that the Chicago suburb telecom supplier isn't sitting idle just wanting to make VoIP gateways for Vonage and AOL.
With this investment in a company that is heading down the road of producing a device that does seamless GSM and WiFi hand-offs they may just well be.
As stated in the press release, Asylum’s product portfolio includes anytime-anywhere access, voice VPN services, converged GSM/IP mobile, and instant messaging. Via a global network of channel partners, Asylum provides a seamless solution, including full OSS/BSS (Operation and Business Support Systems) — eliminating traditional integration and deployment delays. Asylum will focus Motorola Venture’s investment towards R&D to continue building solutions that will increase communications convenience while driving down end-user cost.
Instead, via their investment in Asylum Telecom, a company that sells an end to end VoIP solution in at least 25 countries, Motorola has said that they believe in VoIP and now want to be competition to the companies that they sell hardware to, such as AOL, for whom they manufactured a home telephone adapter. Why a giant like AOL would continue to work with a company that is gearing up to compete is anyone's guess.
In many way's this also reminds me of what Belkin sort of did but with a different twist. Belkin with Everywhere.net has decided to leverage their retail distribution to build a phone company. Belkin, which according to SEC filings and comments from executives during Spring VON signed on and licensed the XTEN softphone, went out and bought technology from iNuntius, Inc
Also, Motorola has the OJO, an overly expensive, but high quality videophone. Just as Alcatel is buying VoIP infrastructure companies, Motorola is showing signs of investing in the VoIP endpoint market, as well as the infrastructure of it as well.
This is obviously, like all VC type investment by companies, a gamble. But with Motorola's sales, distribution and marketing clout it could be a move that lets them offer the Nextel of VoIP on a global basis, that being a closed end, walled garden VoIP service that does the handoff between mobile phones and WiFi quite easily.
Asylum is clearly not a company to dismiss, as it appears they have a game plan and are executing on it quite well.