An Insider’s Guide to Enterprise Communications News — March, 2019
Here’s What’s Important from March 2019
Enterprise Connect 2019 took place in March, and those four days had enough news for their own report. EC19 can’t be avoided in a March recap, but I will also be publishing a separate research note dedicated to the conference, which will include more analysis of the event, keynotes, and trends.
The Internet had a tough month — outages with Gmail, Facebook, and Instagram, and a made-for-Internet horrific mass shooting. Facebook’s daylong outage (its longest) disrupted access to its core app, its photo-sharing app Instagram, and its messaging service WhatsApp.
“While Internet companies occasionally experience outages caused by problems ranging from natural disasters to surges of web traffic, it is rare for so many established companies to go down in one week and, in Facebook’s case, to be disrupted for so long. The glitches knocked out a range of services — email, messaging, social sharing, photos — relied on by people around the globe.” — WSJ
Telegram Chief Executive Pavel Durov said in a public post that the Facebook outage prompted three million people to sign up for its messaging services within 24 hours.
“The attack in New Zealand was teased on Twitter, announced on the online message board 8chan and broadcast live on Facebook. The footage was then replayed endlessly on YouTube, Twitter, and Reddit, as the platforms scrambled to take down the clips as fast as new copies popped up…. Robert Bowers, the man charged with killing 11 people and wounding six others at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, was a frequent user of Gab, a social media platform beloved by extremists. Cesar Sayoc, the man charged with sending explosives to prominent critics of President Trump last year, was immersed in a cesspool of right-wing Facebook and Twitter memes.” — NYT
The Internet is getting very complicated. It’s theorized that Facebook likely spent more time restarting services than diagnosing and fixing its problem. This echoes the CenturyLink outage last January. The social and ethical implications are even worse. Nation-state hackers, privacy, encryption, privacy liabilities, and more are creating powerful arguments for private networks and clouds. March damaged cloud reliability.
Also, is it my imagination or are layoffs on the rise? I saw such news from Lyft, Bird, WeWork, JC Penney, Rackspace, GM, Payless, Intel, Oracle, and Tesla.
Facebook: Speaking of Privacy
Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise announcement in March that he intends Facebook to be associated with individual privacy. His intentions are not perfectly clear, but his top lieutenants understood and promptly quit. Both Chris Cox (head of all product for Facebook including Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and the core Facebook app) and Chris Daniels (head of WhatsApp) said “Adios Zuck.”
The news validated a previous statement about combining the backbones of Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. The “mind blown” part is he wants all these services to use end-to-end encryption. Remember, privacy was rumored to be at the core of his dispute with WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum who left the company last spring.
There’s some ambiguity over how this new-found concept of privacy may apply to the core Facebook service. It’s one of those situations where 180 degrees just doesn’t seem like a big enough number to describe the change. If this comes to be, and you have something private to say, Facebook messaging services may be your best option (encryption + Metcalfe). Email, PSTN, cellular, SMS, and RCS are all unencrypted. And, if you saw the Innovation Showcase at EC19, you know not to even think about saying anything confidential on enterprise systems. Analytics engines and companies like Prodoscore track and analyze everything said and typed. Privacy is a major change for Facebook, but it may be reasonable after being on the losing end of privacy battles for over two years.
The main point of disbelief is that end-to-end encryption is not compatible with monetization. Well, neither is a shrinking customer base. As big and useful as Facebook is, it still has nowhere near the impact that WeChat has in Asia. I think the winds have changed. Pivots are always tricky, but some of the best have been done by founders: Mac to iPod, book ecommerce to cloud services, and DVDs to streaming. Facebook is due for a major change. Besides, there’s still value in encrypted messaging metadata — certainly enough to beat billboard and magazine advertising.
RingCentral AR 2019
RingCentral hosted an analyst event in San Francisco with an update on portfolio and roadmap. The company is in its third wave of evolution, currently focused on its Open Platform and Deep Analytics. Its current priorities for Collaborative Communications are leadership in voice, video and messaging, investment in contact center, driving its open platform ecosystem, and expansion of its channels and vertical sales.
RingCentral presented that the cloud bar continues to rise. The company is focused on a more complex set of capabilities, which includes RingCentral Persist (announced at Enterprise Connect). A strong theme throughout the event was converged services (UCaaS, CCaaS, video, and messaging). The highpoints for me included the marketing presentation, which was more thorough than most, and my dinner conversation with Jim Dvorkin, SVP of Customer Engagement.
Five9 hosted an analyst event in Yountville, Calif. This was the company’s first analyst update with its new leadership team headed by Rowan Trollope. It’s an impressive team with a balance of Five9 veterans, external contact center executives, and technical visionaries. The company is positioning around the next cloud-era and intends to reimagine and redefine the customer experience with personalized and end-to-end services.
I think the strongest session was the presentation on AI, which picked up where most AI presentations end. The company presented some thought leadership around areas such as continuous training and maintaining human empathy. The company has strong (sales and valuation) momentum and presented a compelling technical and marketing story on how it can continue to grow.
The annual March ritual of Enterprise Connect (EC19) did not disappoint. Organizers aren’t sharing many statistics, but claim the show had 7200 attendees and more than 200 exhibitors. From my perspective, the show was more diverse this year than usual. I am thinking about the single beat of the industry as it embraced VoIP, then IM, then WebRTC, and then messaging. In 2019, there were lots of drummers.
As predicted, the big themes had to do with video and customer engagement, however, there was very little overlap between those trends. Less obvious was the power of UCaaS. I reviewed and categorized over 200 press releases, and UC/UCaaS/Voice was the single largest category.
I will be publishing a deep-dive Research Note on EC19 in about a week that will focus on major messages, observations, keynotes, and conclusions. Several of the more intriguing announcements are scattered throughout this monthly report. Here is a preview of the upcoming research note:
- AI: AI was everywhere. As with all new waves, most of the initial benefits are improved workflows and automation. The common formula involves transcribing a conversation and, from there, applying magic such as translation, sentiment, and guidance. The more interesting AI-related news came from Cisco (People Insights/Accompany), Talkdesk (WFM), and Zoom.
- Video: With six major launches in 18 months, it appears we have entered the era of visual-first communications. Also, there are no more excuses for not video-enabling every meeting room.
- There are so many twists and turns in the race for global cloud calling between Cisco and Microsoft. Cisco moved into the lead when it acquired BroadSoft, but Microsoft is gaining as carriers embrace the new direct routing feature (ironically, a page from the Cisco Spark manual). The near-term winner is Ribbon, as it’s the preferred SBC for direct routing.
- Cloud contact center: The casual show attendee could conclude that there are more contact center agent seats than UC seats — and from a dollars perspective they may be right. The big innovations are really around AI Chatbots, better routing algorithms, Google AI for CC, and more.
- The vendors are getting bigly: The industry certainly changed a bit in the early 2000s when Cisco arrived. A decade later came Microsoft. Now we have Google and Amazon, and many expect Salesforce and Oracle to arrive too.
- Best keynote: The keynotes were all very good this year, but I give Cisco the edge.
Microsoft announced or previewed several new meeting features including drawing. Teams will soon support any Windows touchscreen as a virtual whiteboard. This includes PCs as well as external touchscreen devices connected to a PC with USB. They also announced new enhancements for analog/dumb whiteboards that use a separate “content camera” aimed at a whiteboard. This is similar to what Cisco announced five years ago with the IX5000 and what Dolby announced last year. Like Dolby, Microsoft also has a clever vanish feature that allows a viewer to see a still picture of the whiteboard even when it’s blocked by someone using it.
Microsoft and Zoom previewed real-time captions in both native and translated languages. The future has almost arrived. Microsoft finally released its blurred background feature that it demonstrated a year ago. Both Microsoft and Zoom announced a virtual green-screen capability. I think both features will improve the adoption of video, as backgrounds can be very distracting and revealing — a barrier to adoption.
Microsoft also previewed its expansion from four to nine live participants in the meeting gallery. This compares to 49 for Zoom. And Cisco upped its gallery to support 25 faces.
On a tangential note, consumer Skype doubled its maximum number of meeting participants to 50.
In an interesting twist favoring in-room meetings, Cisco will soon support wireless content sharing in Webex rooms without a meeting. The feature is expected in April. Microsoft supports a similar feature.
Microsoft also announced support for the new Logitech Tap. This is a clever expansion from USB A/V into room controllers. It’s effectively a simple display that’s more appropriate, more secure, and less expensive than a tablet computer for room control. Yealink also got a boost from Microsoft with three new meeting room devices.
Cisco finally answers the age-old question, “Who’s that dude?” A new previewed feature displays virtual name tags on meeting participants. It uses facial recognition against corporate data. Cisco also showed Proactive Join as the next iteration of proximity detection. Here, the system puts the user and the calendar data together and proactively offers to initiate/join a meeting. But Cisco’s biggest meeting trick occurs before the meeting, with People Insights. This was part of the package when Cisco acquired Accompany (and its leader) last year. It sends the user a pre-brief for upcoming meeting participants and companies. It consolidates and personalizes publicly available information. It helps explain why Microsoft acquired LinkedIn. A big difference though is LinkedIn’s data is user controlled, where People Insights crawls the web.
Personally, I think the better solution to whiteboards is touchscreens, and there are plenty of them. The least expensive option is from Solaborate. Google’s Jamboard is also reasonably inexpensive. There are several solutions for Zoom Rooms, and Cisco has its Webex Board. Most are all-in-one, but there’s also value as a component in a larger room such as Cisco’s Companion Mode and the Poly Pano.
Microsoft is also improving its software-only whiteboard app (preview). You can create and share a new board in a Teams meeting for collaborative inking. It has a very clever import feature that digitizes imported content. This is similar to the Jamboard app (and unrelated to the whiteboard app built in the Surface Hub). Collaborating inking is obvious. We all have touchscreens in our pockets and often on our laptops. Smart objects, sticky notes, and other features are becoming common across the Microsoft, Cisco, and Google solutions.
One of the bigger surprises in video was that Amazon announced updates to its neglected Chime. The video/meeting app now supports voice calls and SIP trunks. Inter-enterprise meetings via the Chime SIP connector are free (that’s a simple ROI for viral adoption). I expect this will likely encourage Vonage to ramp up its migration to TokBox as its preferred meeting solution.
Video is in one of those all-boats-are-rising situations. I got excited updates from just about every video vendor — new and old, except Vidyo. The video pioneer didn’t exhibit at EC19 (I did see several former employees though), and both Fuze and 8x8 have switched from Vidyo to open source solutions. Fuze hasn’t revealed much about its stack; but, after acquiring Jitsi last year, 8x8 announced its new WebRTC video service at EC19. It has an expected GA next quarter.
New Names: Visual communications had a big month. Plantronics and Polycom relaunched as Poly. This is a new company, not just a rebrand. I like the name and the swagger that came with it. Unfortunately, Poly was notified that it isn’t the first headset maker to use its new logo.
LogMeIn has made several interesting acquisitions and has reorganized into three business units: UCC, Customer Engagement, and Identity and Access. The first two exhibited (separately) at EC19. GoTo is the new UCC brand comprised of GoToMeeting (Meetings) and GoToConnect (Jive Communications). It launched GoToRoom solutions with Poly equipment.
The huddle space is vibrant and should be for the next several years. Neither Logitech nor Poly announced new systems this month, but are getting traction with their recently announced devices. Lifesize announced two new x86 room systems. Dolby privately previewed a new room system.
Pexip elevated its interop capability from product to service for Teams.
TrueConf appointed Dmitry Odintsov as its new CEO. Former CEO Michael Gotalsky will continue to serve as President and CCO at TrueConf’s group of companies.
BlueJeans plans to offer BlueJeans Rooms-as-a-Service featuring Dolby Voice Room in the near future.
PGi adds UCaaS to its GlobalMeet portfolio.
The video space is more active than I can ever recall, especially for smaller rooms. All the barriers to adoption are gone, and the drivers for video are increasing. The hardware solutions that seem to be getting the most attention are Logi Rally, Poly Studio, Cisco Room Kit Mini, and Solaborate Hello 2. Though HighFive/Dolby seems to be the quick setup champ. Huddle rooms are becoming surprisingly complex as processing moves to the room and customers weigh the trade-offs of USB vs compute, all-in-one vs components, remotes vs controllers, screen-share adapter hell, lighting, acoustics, booking systems integration, analytics, and more.
On a positive note, WebRTC video is going to get more universal after Microsoft updates Edge to Chromium. I’ve been using a Chromebook this year, and so far my only meeting incompatibility has been with Skype4B.
The contact center (or, more specifically, the cloud contact center) was a major theme at EC19. Enterprise Connect is not a CC show, so why so much interest? There are several factors in play. First, UC/UCaaS is becoming harder to differentiate, so many providers are using CC to drag a bundle sale. However, the pure-play CC vendors want nothing to do with that. As with video above, UC/UCaaS is the fries.
A bigger factor is the dollars, or annual recurring revenue (ARR) potential. A CC seat has always been more expensive than a UC seat, but the difference is much greater in the cloud. UCaaS pricing is dropping, while CCaaS seat pricing is still going up. Also, the CCaaS market opportunity is large, as most seats are still associated with premises-based installations.
Lastly, CC tech is long overdue for some major innovation. CCaaS is benefiting from rapid innovation cycles in new technologies, features, and simplicity. This means ROI exists to upgrade. That’s creating R&D incentive and a feedback cycle: more innovation, more reasons to buy.
Higher ARR + large addressable market + disruptive potential made CCaaS a major theme at EC19.
CCaaS will be a fierce battlefront for some time. It’s important to note that all the pieces on the board, as well as the board itself, are moving. CCaaS and CRM are both expanding and overlapping, and both are eating into WEM. CCaaS providers are fragmenting into build vs buy services. On top of all that, all the tools and processes are being disrupted with AI. Assume nothing.
Every major CCaaS provider is investing heavily in infrastructure and product. The $64M question is which provider will be most effective with all these changes. Things are moving so quickly, it’s anyone’s game. For example, I don’t think the early movers in CC AI have an early-mover advantage.
I’m not going to go through all the announcements in this report, but can summarize most of them with “our AI tools are better.” The only clear winner I can safely predict is Google, which announced Google AI for CC about a year ago. With Avaya’s announcement this month, I think that makes 10 CC partners.
I will highlight that Talkdesk continues to punch above its weight class. It was an EC19 platinum sponsor. Though Zailab beat them as a diamond sponsor (stones beat metals). Where Zailab only had a launcher, Talkdesk launched an expansion into WEM. I think this is logical and important.
The analogy here is UC and conferencing were complementary to each other in the premises-based world. When UC became UCaaS, conferencing became a logical extension of the service. CC and WEM seem complementary, but a single, full suite looks attractive as a service. At least the parts of WEM that CRM doesn’t consume.
As they are so similar, I will filter out most of the (AI) CC announcements this month and highlight just a few:
NVM-powered CC Express launched on Vonage Business Cloud.
XMedius launched its TeamQ collaborative informal contact center as a stand-alone solution. It lets agents select their calls from the visible queue.
Interesting new names this year include Bold360 (omnichannel from LogMeIn), Smooch.io, (omnichannel analytics), Edify (Sharpen 2.0), and Thrio. The last two startups are opening with the One card.
The CC announcement summary doesn’t give justice to the attention it received at EC19. I will have more details and opinion in the upcoming EC19 research note.
UC and UCaaS
The surprising narrative here is One. RingCentral actually plastered the Gaylord Palms in Orlando with “One” signs, but 8x8, Fuze, and Vonage were singing the same tune. For that matter, so were Microsoft, Cisco, Zoom, Google, and just about half the exhibit hall.
This may be related to Gartner’s recent announcement that a single stack is required for eligibility to the UCaaS MQ (post). While definitions are difficult, the basic idea is the provider must have source-code control over their UCaaS services. There’s no evidence to my knowledge that customers actually want this. In fact, after at least a decade of selling “unified communications,” there’s reasonable evidence that customers don’t.
Certainly fewer suppliers are better than more, and supported integrations are better than DIY. The bigger question is where do you draw the line? UCaaS and video? UCaaS and CPaaS? UCaaS and office suites? What about CRM, endpoints, messaging, or mobile services? I was pondering this and came to this original conclusion:
One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do. Two can be as bad as one. It's the loneliest number since the number one.
On a related note, did anyone notice the IBM booth at EC19? Few did.
RingCentral launched Persist, and don’t call it hybrid. Kind of reminds me of how the word “zombie” is outlawed in the Walking Dead universe. Everyone knows that pure cloud companies don’t do hybrid. Regardless, it’s an acknowledgement that cloud services really suck when there’s an outage. RC Persist is a simple gateway-failover device that allows internal calls and limited external services during an outage. Star-to-Star has a similar concept.
Vonage announced number programmability. Every VBC number is now Nexmo-API ready. Basic UCaaS numbers can be configured to route calls, create custom communications apps and workflows, and/or integrate with third-party systems. It’s a very clever mashup of UCaaS and CPaaS, but I dread it falling into the hands of the wrong nerd. This was one of the more original announcements at EC19.
Along similar lines, 8x8 is blurring contact center with UCaaS. 8x8 announced speech analytics for the entire organization. AI is mostly contained to meetings and the contact center. 8x8 joined Dialpad and probably others in applying speech analytics to general users. 8x8 wants to provide users and departments outside the contact center with AI-powered coaching, collaboration, and voice transcription capabilities. Also, VoiceBase partnered with Tableau to extend speech analytics to departments and users.
Fuze announced a strategic partnership with Samsung Electronics America for a more flexible, mobile workplace. Apparently the two are developing solutions that involve voice, video, mobility, and Samsung DeX. Samsung is keenly interested in UC. It also announced a partnership with Verizon (pre-integrated OneTalk dialer on S10 phones) at EC19, and struck a partnership with ALE last Jan. Fuze is also developing huddle rooms solutions with Galaxy tablets.
Poly announced that its VVX x50 Series OBi edition phones are certified for Google Voice. Although Google did feature Google Voice at #EC19, the service was largely downplayed, likely in anticipation of Google Next in a few weeks.
CenturyLink announced its intent to offer Cisco BroadCloud Flex services.
Metaswitch announced that its 300 carriers are now supporting more than 25M active users (a combination of UCaaS, SIP Trunking, and legacy services like ISDN PRI). Duke at Synergy says, “Metaswitch holds the number two position with 18.9% market share and growing, second only to Cisco.”
Mitel named Daniel Farrar as EVP and GM of its UCaaS business. Farrar most recently led Switchfly, a global travel ecommerce company. Prior to that, he was CEO at Openlane, a privately held SaaS provider and leading online auction company for automotive dealers. Farrar also served as a general partner with private equity firm, Morgenthaler, and held various positions with GE Capital.
The low end of the UCaaS market has several new entrants including Google, Zoom, GoTo, and Amazon Chime. At least for now, these are low-cost, low-frills services — but bundled with higher value services. New mobile-first services are also expected to pressure prices.
Larry Levenberg, VP/GM NEC America, retired! He was quite possibly the most loyal executive in the industry. He came up through the sales side and ended as one of the highest ranking US executives at NEC. He worked there for 33 years and will be missed.
Messaging was down to a dull roar at EC19. Most UCaaS providers now have their own solution for messaging. I would say that the days of Team Chat being synonymous with Workstream Collaboration are over. Team Chat is effectively the new IM, modeled after consumer apps such as Messenger or WhatsApp. They feature group, persistent communications, and optimized work. Workstream Collaboration is more of a platform play. While they do provide Team Chat capabilities, their real value lies in apps, app integrations, and workflow. This space is dominated by Slack and Microsoft. Most messaging apps I see are really optimized for messaging. Workplace by Facebook and Webex Teams and probably a few others live in the middle.
Although Microsoft announced some impressive new usage numbers, they don’t reveal much. Cisco is tight-lipped on usage of Webex Teams.
It was the platform model that allowed Microsoft to win Best of Show at EC19. The Firstline initiatives were announced last Fall. These apps were built on Teams, with little emphasis on enterprise communications. They stress shift scheduling, location sharing, time clock, performance praising, and security for a mobile-centric workforce. I don’t think I was the only one surprised by the award at an enterprise communications event.
Microsoft announced that Private Channels are coming to Teams sometime in the future. This allows users to limit visibility of content within a team — as opposed to having to create a separate sub-team.
Workplace, Facebook’s enterprise collaboration and communication application, and ServiceNow announced a new chatbot for call deflection when employees require assistance from an internal help desk.
Slack introduced Enterprise Key Management (EKM) this month. Of course, Slack was already encrypting data, but this feature gives its Enterprise Grid customers the ability to use/control their own keys to protect their data. It also provides improved granular access controls. EKM may enable more regulated organizations to use Slack. To implement EKM, Slack integrated Enterprise Grid with Amazon’s Key Management Service (AWS KMS). Slack announced EKM last Spring at its Frontiers conference (see Research Note).
EKM gives enterprise customers more control, but not full control. Slack itself still has access to the data. Many believe that data cannot be secure if external users or organizations have access to it. Slack could be hacked, subpoenaed, or party to warrantless search. Employees could be compromised or negligent.
The alternative is end-to-end (E2E) encryption, but it is not as easy as it sounds. E2E encryption usually interferes with server-side features such as search and third-party integrations. Cisco Webex Teams, Symphony, and ArmorText offer end-to-end encryption. Microsoft Teams, like most cloud services, does not offer E2E or EKM.
Also, a Slack update makes it easier to search for channels. Previously you had to navigate to a channel or know its name.
Surprise! NEC had a new team collaboration app in its EC19 booth. NEC was the only major UC vendor that did not have a team collaboration app. It seemed very robust, solid, and mature — and looked a lot like Atos/Unify Circuit (a brilliant mash-up from SoTel Systems). NEC Team Collaboration will be available soon in Europe, with NA planned next. It offers in-app communications and conferencing, and integrates with NEC IoT solutions.
Amazon Alexa voice control is now supported on the Poly Trio. Also, Alexa for Business calendars and Amazon Chime meetings will sync with and display meeting schedules on Trio.
Intermedia announced Unite Envision analytics dashboard for admins and partners to visualize Unite UCC QoS.
Starfish Associates announced migration tools for UC and CC solutions. Migrations are time-consuming and error-prone. Administrators simply select source and destination systems, and let the system manage the details.
VOSS released an update to its VOSS-4-UC management platform. Updates include a Dynamic Communications Workflow Automation framework, UC Middleware, Automation Extension, and IT-to-UC Integrations.
CounterPath made an interesting pivot from clients to cloud with Bria Teams. Yes, another product named Teams, but this one includes messaging, presence, meetings, screen sharing, and voice and video calling for about $10/user/month.
Zoom filed its IPO prospectus, which revealed something rare in the world of pre-IPO cloud providers: profitability. Most people I know assumed Zoom was not only unprofitable, but also that it would have to reduce its irresponsible marketing spend as a public company. There’s nothing like an impressive S-1 to ruin a perfectly nice fantasy.
In the fiscal year that ended January 31, Zoom had a net income of $7.6M on $330.5M in revenue, which was up 118% YoY. Zoom will trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol ZM, and the IPO is expected to raise around $100M.
The company said that its top 10 customers account for less than 10% of revenue. Zoom was founded in 2011, and it has more than 1,700 employees. Largest shareholders: Emergence Capital with 12.5%, Sequoia at 11.4%, and Founder and CEO Eric Yuan has 22%.
There’s a lot to learn from Zoom. Obviously simplicity and freemium, but it’s also the cloud model. It launched with good enough meeting video and steadily improved and expanded its offers (rooms, scheduling, chat, voice, etc.). It also has very high customer satisfaction (NPS was over 70 in 2018) and employee satisfaction (#2 in Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work-2019). Zoom sells through “viral enthusiasm.” They turn a single free user into a full enterprise deployment — 55% of their 344 $100K+ revenue customers in FY19 started with at least one single free host.
Avaya is rumored to be considering another leveraged buyout. I approve of this message. Of course, its last leveraged buyout was a disaster, but that one had several problems. First, it had too much debt, but the killer was the timing. They planned for revenue growth, but got a one-two sucker punch with 1) the 2008 global recession and 2) the shift to cloud. But realistically, the company needs to do things that public companies can’t do (ask Mitel which went private at the beginning of the year). Not to mention its shareholders are a bunch of bankers.
Speaking of Mitel, it has declared its intention to resume acquiring UC vendors.
Kerauno, a startup developing a cloud-hosted workflow communications platform, announced it raised $25M in a series A round. Kerauno reports ARR of $4.5M and offers a service that manages and analyzes inbound text messages, chat, email, and social media communications, as well as phone calls. It connects to most CRMs, LMSs, and billing systems via webhooks.
Sharpen Technologies, a CCaaS provider, secured $15M in growth funding.
Spike strips headers and signatures from email to make them more efficient and message-like. The company announced it raised $5M in funding.
Skedulo provides an online scheduling service for remote workers. It helps keep track of their hours and directs employees to customers. Skedulo helps managers match up remote workers who have particular skills with customers in need of that expertise. Skedulo's service hooks into other enterprise applications including Workday, ServiceNow, and Salesforce. It also can be customized and configured for particular industries. Skedulo closed a $28M Series B funding round that was led by M12, the name of Microsoft's in-house venture fund.
Cisco launched a new, independent venture capital firm — Decibel — focused exclusively on early-stage investments across the enterprise and B2B landscape.
This Month’s Goodreads
- Facebook Working on Oculus Go, Quest Enterprise Editions
- Facebook wants to be WeChat
- How TikTok Is Rewriting the World
- Why Data Science Teams Need Generalists, Not Specialists
- Microsoft, Facebook, trust and privacy
- Whispr wants to transform frontline services with AI-powered voice-guided instructions
- How Verizon is Using Software to Power Its 5G Network
- FCC Tackles 911 Dilemma: What Floor Are You Calling From?
- Amazon’s Alexa has 80,000 Apps—and No Runaway Hit
- Epic CEO on 250 million Fortnite players, digital humans, and $100 million dev fund
- It's Official: Open-Plan Offices Are Now the Dumbest Management Fad of All Time
- Hackers Hijacked ASUS Software Updates to Install Backdoors on Thousands of Computers
- Telegram adds the option to delete chats on other people’s devices
- The Future of AI Will Be About Less Data, Not More
- Tech layoffs to top 1,000 in Bay Area by late May, state reports show
- Atos/Unify, Boston
- Google Next, San Francisco
- NICE Interactions, Las Vegas
- Avaya APAC, Singapore
- Slack AR, San Francisco
- Ribbon Perspectives, Washington DC
- UC Expo, London
- Avaya Engage, Mexico City
Deep-Dive Report on EC19. I have reviewed 200 press releases, watched every keynote at least twice, and met with some 70 professionals. I have got a few things to say. Early April to premium subscribers.
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