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CN INTERVIEW

The CN Interview with Herb Levitin of PowerCom

9 July, 2004

Herb Levitin is the President of Powercom in Santa Barbara, CA, a voice and data systems integration business founded in 1989. Mr. Levitin is an electronic engineer, Cisco CCNA and licensed electrical contractor. He has designed large scale WANs for Fortune 1000 companies and major Internet Service Providers. He has been a telecommunications agent for 14 years for major local and long distance carriers. CN sat down with Herb to learn about PowerCom's ConferenceFlow endeavor.

CN: So, Herb tell us about ConferenceFlow. What exactly is it and where is it based?

Herb Levitin: ConferenceFlow is a turnkey business solution for marketing entrepreneurs to enter the burgeoning conferencing market without requiring a technical staff. The exclusive ConferenceFlow system gives you the ownership of the Conference Bridge, the Web Server and Software, the Sales Agents, the End Users and the Business. It puts you on the same playing field as the largest audio conferencing service providers without the monumental expenses and staff. ConferenceFlow is based at our Las Vegas facility, ConferenceGate.

CN: Who are the companies or principals are involved in ConferenceFlow?

HL: We are partnered with Switch Advanced Communication Group of Las Vegas, Nevada in both ConferenceFlow and ConferenceGate. ConferenceGate offers free colocation and technical support for Spectel audio conferencing bridges installed at our facility. We have a world-class facility here with over 2,000 fiber optic lines and five of the nation's largest carriers have their backbone of their networks inside our facility. We have been rated as the best disaster recovery site in the nation because of our reliability and location. We are also rated as having the third most Internet connectivity in the nation.

CN: What's the investor-proposition for ConferenceFlow for your customers?

HL: We eliminate all the issues of running a switched-base audio conferencing so owners can devote 100% of their efforts on marketing. We offer a much lower cost of going into and operating a switch-based audio conferencing business. The reason to become a switch-based service provider is the multiple of the buy-out of the base versus a switch-less service provider is 400% higher!

CN: Tell us about the pricing for ConferenceFlow.

HL: The Spectel audio conferencing bridges are priced per port and the larger the system purchased lowers the price per port. The price per minute starts at 1.99 cents per minute for A Tier 1 carrier for TDM and goes down with volume.

CN: Tell us about the features in the ConferenceFlow package.

HL: Our software allows you to create multiple virtual or switch-less agents or owners and includes the ability for real-time Caller-ID and dial-out from a web interface. Payments and signup can be made either by credit card or end of the month invoices which are electronically created.

CN: Billing requirements for conferencing can be quite complex. How does ConferenceGate provide billing and related account management functions? Who developed the billing software?
HL: After each conference call a summary email is sent to the owner of each user account. The credit card billing is in the name of the virtual owner thereby reinforcing the building of a brand name with the end users. End of the month invoices are available online for the agents so they can print and mail them to their clients if they are not using credit cards for payments. The billing software was written by us. Our software architect was a pioneer in web commerce applications and has a special knowledge of security concerns and fraud prevention.

CN: What is the relationship ConferenceFlow has with Spectel? Is this exclusive or will other bridge vendors be used at this facility?
HL: In order to provide technical support for the bridges we have been factory trained on the Spectel platform. There are less expensive bridges on the market but telecommunications is all about reliability, that is why we are in the best site in the nation for telecommunications and use the most reliable and proven audio conference bridges.

CN: So how do you plan to market ConferenceFlow, and what's involved in the sales process?
HL: We just started our formal marketing program this week and the response has been outstanding. Our system allows people with no telecommunications experience to go into the audio conference market. One of the calls I had today was from an owner of a successful small insurance agency in the mid-west with hundreds of long established clients. He wants to offer conferencing services to his clients and use his sales force to sell multiple services to his client base.

CN: What about support services? What program do or will you have in place?
HL: Each Spectel bridge is installed and maintained by the Spectel factory. We monitor all equipment 24 hours a day via SNMP and automatically notify a list of contacts if there is any failure in the equipment or the network. There is 24 hour technical support provided by our Las Vegas facilities partner to work on the equipment.

CN: Herb, in your view, what will the conferencing industry look like in five years?
HL: Once you remove the barriers to entry and lower the cost of becoming a switch-based audio conference service provider, the market forces will tend to accelerate. If the price of business travel continues where it is today I think we are in for years of double digit growth in our industry.

CN: Thanks Herb, and best of luck!

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