Insider Report August 2022
The Most Important Enterprise Communications News from August 2022
It’s the Economy, Stupid
Economists have it made. No one understands the economy, so they are never held accountable for wrong predictions. We know that comms stocks and forecasts are declining, but why? There have even been a few layoffs. Well, at least sort of. On the other hand, employment remains high. Too high, according to many economists. The Fed is threatening to raise interest rates to cool demand for workers. What can possibly go wrong with that? OK, besides a recession.
The odd thing is that the lifting of pandemic restrictions should be a good thing, but it’s not. People are leaving their homes to shop and travel, and that requires more employees. But the pandemic is old news.
There are a lot of contradictory signals about the health of our economy. For the most part, things in the US are pretty good. Businesses are generally doing well, but inflation and fuel prices are/were? too high. The bigger problems are not in the US (yet). We have learned that places as far away as Ukraine can indeed impact our economy, and there are a lot of faraway concerns in this world.
Sanctions posed on Russia are wreaking havoc. That was their intent, but the friendlies are getting hit by the shrapnel. A handful of UCaaS providers have been directly impacted by the war in Ukraine (such as RingCentral and Five9). But the whole comms sector is being impacted by the fear and loathing of whatever is happening to the economy. Fuel, crops, and fertilizer got expensive. Factor in the pandemic-related supply chain mess and a potential conflict between China and Taiwan, and it’s time to revise forecasts downward.
The financial markets are cautious: stocks, interest rates, real estate, crypto-assets, and so on. Organizations considering IPOs will likely defer into next year. That probably means fundraising efforts, but that’s a mess, too — especially for firms that raised funds on last year’s high valuations (such as Talkdesk).
Revising forecasts is prudent, and the result will likely be numerous beats on revenue. While people are nervous, they haven’t really stopped spending. The flights that don’t get canceled are full. Businesses are confused as hell about where their employees should work, but the industry doesn’t really care (a seat is a seat).
- Strong company earnings show US recession fears are overblown
- Forrester finds enterprise software is recession-proof
But as bad as things are in the US, they are worse in Europe, and that’s likely the impacting the US, too. The UK was hit particularly hard by the drought, with carrots, potatoes, and onions all facing crop failures. Potatoes alone are down 50%.
The UK’s inflation is out of control. Citibank estimates it at 18.6%. The GBP is down to a 10-year low against the USD. That’s contributing to higher import prices (with one of its few remaining trading partners). Energy prices are 400-1,000% higher than last year. Plan B for power, importing from EU countries, may be problematic due to Russian-related shortages across the continent.
So, it’s a mixed bag out there. The US is looking good, but the US is dependent on a delicate global ecosystem.
General Industry News
Iridium Part Deux: The second generation of Starlink satellites will support cellular connections. Starlink has announced a partnership with T-Mobile USA, and presumably, more partners are coming. The new tech uses existing licensed cellular spectrum. Apple may have a similar trick up its sleeve with Globalstar.
Iridium uses 75 satellites 485 miles high and supports datastreams of 2400 bits per second. Starlink currently has 900 or so satellites but intends to have 40k birds 340 miles high. Starlink supports 60Mbps. Iridium is about 30 years old, and its tech has been obsolete for years yet still finds special use cases. Starlink uses modern tech, but so did Iridium at one time, and therein lies the rub.
The use cases for Starlink today are exciting and diverse. But still, the tech has severe trade-offs. It won’t work indoors, and outdoors it has very limited capacity. Many in the business do not believe Starlink will be profitable in the next 10 years, and many experts do not give Starlink a high probability of eventual success as a business. But then, it has not been prudent to bet against Elon.
Zoho: I do like Zoho, and they are slowly expanding into enterprise communications. The Zoho suite has some 50 apps including CRM, bookkeeping, meetings, messaging, SMS, and slowly UCaaS. I attended their analyst event in July. They have also launched Zoho Sign for signatures and approval with email and SMS support. It also offers support for eIDAS compliance. The odd thing about Zoho is that it doesn’t seem many of its customers use the majority of its suite.
Leadership Changes: GoTo promoted Paddy Srinivasan from Chief Product and Technology Officer to President and CEO. The appointment was made to accelerate growth and innovation within the (SMB) space. He joined GoTo when it was known as LogMeIn in 2013, left to work on Alexa, and then returned in 2020. Mike Kohlsdorf, CEO since January, will remain on the board.
Head of Corporate Marketing Scott Kolman is leaving Five9 to be Head of Marketing at Cresta. Avaya CMO Simon Harrison has departed Avaya to pursue other opportunities. Avaya CEO Masarek said Harrison's departure is the first of what will be a time of rapid change.
Meetings and Messaging
The Outlook for Meetings That Don’t Involve Outlook! This month the Microsoft Innovation Lab determined Slack Clips async video was a feature Teams should also have. To be fair, enterprise comms has always been a game of leapfrog, but some leap more than others. Microsoft has added to its Microsoft 365 roadmap that Teams users will soon have the ability to “record, review, send, and view lightweight video messages” in chats and channels. I feel obligated to remind readers that async (when) is as important as location (where) regarding hybrid work. Slack has understood this for some time, and now Microsoft has decided to embrace it soon. Cisco has a similar feature in Webex.
G Meet Playing Catch-Up: Google announced several new features for Meet. A Work Insights solution is coming for Meet and Chat. Google is a bit late here, but such analytics tools are becoming common. These apps can provide powerful insights but exist in a gray area between IT/HR oversight and Big Brother — though the current trend of “quiet quitting” helps justify them.
Google also introduced a dark canvas theme for Meet. That was all the rage for the past few years. Dark canvas mode can be applied to any Google Meet hardware device in an admin’s fleet. Google is adding a new batch of Canvas wallpapers — specially designed by artists to look great on Google Meet hardware devices. Lastly, Google has a new e-signage screensaver, again long overdue. Admins can use Appspace as a source for content to display on Google Meet hardware devices.
Editorial Controls for Chat: WhatsApp announced that users now have two days and 12 hours to unsend messages in private and group chats. Apple went the other way and reduced message delete (in the iOS 16 beta) from 15 minutes to two minutes. Changing something that was “permanent” to editable or delete-able opens the door for malicious activities. However, it’s also inevitable. There’s no reason at all that a centralized service should not allow editing and deletion. iMessage also supports a revision history to mitigate abuse. All chat systems should enable editing controls. It’s interesting that WhatsApp (far bigger than iMessage) is being more liberal with this issue.
Also, Twitter is testing an edit feature. That’s a feature I certainly will appreciate. Seems like a high percentage of my tweets, especially from mobile, have typos for some inexplicable reason. A centralized server allows messages to be edited and deleted and strengthens the argument for no gateways or interop.
WhatsApp Desktop: WhatsApp’s new app on Windows no longer requires a linked phone. The refreshed Windows app is out of beta and available to download on the Microsoft Store. I use Signal, and it too has a desktop app that links to the smartphone. I’d prefer a standalone app. These apps took a security shortcut by linking to the phone, and it works reasonably well, but it feels obsolete in 2022. SMS text messages are the only communications that I can only receive on my smartphone — though there are workarounds for this too.
Meta E2EE: Meta announced it is expanding its E2EE test to individual Messenger chats. People included in the pilot will have their most frequent chats automatically protected by end-to-end encryption. Most frequent? Curiously, this was announced days after a teen faced abortion charges in Nebraska when Facebook turned over her private Facebook Messages to law enforcement. The providers are slowly understanding that E2EE benefits them as much as their customers.
Meta is also testing the “secure storage” option for end-to-end encrypted conversations for iOS and Android. Backup keys can be stored on third-party cloud services with a code. Meanwhile, Meta still doesn’t have Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger on one platform.
ACS for Teams: Microsoft claims Teams was built on Azure Communication Services. That’s probably sort of true. It was built on something, and that platform later evolved into ACS. This month, Microsoft GA’d Azure Communication Services support for Teams users. This allows ACS and Graph APIs to integrate communication as Teams users into other applications. Microsoft Teams (or ACS) is a platform (as are Cisco Webex, Zoom, Dialpad, RingCentral, and so many more).
Starleaf Gone: This appears to be more of a September story, so expect a more complete obituary in the next Insider Report. However, it’s pretty clear Starleaf has come to the end of its line. Last June, the company went into Administration (the UK’s version of bankruptcy). The company reported $100B in revenue in 2019 and $28.5M for Q4 in 2021. Starleaf was a pioneer in high-end video as a service for desktops and meeting rooms. The portfolio offered hardware and cloud-delivered meetings, messaging, and telephony.
Who/what killed Starleaf? It probably depends on who you ask. Top suspects include Covid, Microsoft, and Starleaf itself. Covid propelled video into the mainstream — along with much larger video competitors. Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Zoom, and Webex saw significant growth. It’s not uncommon for the smaller innovators (instigators) to get left behind during a boom. Starleaf also tried to upgrade Microsoft’s meetings rooms without paying the Microsoft tax. Playing in the Skype for Business or Teams ecosystem without Microsoft’s consent (or a purple button) is a dangerous strategy. Also, Starleaf may have lost customer trust with a few too many pivots that impacted hardware lifecycles, services offered, and even branding.
Cisco Webex: Cisco was pretty quiet this month as it prepares for its WebexOne customer event in October. There’s a notable shift as the company is much more focused on the Webex Suite (meetings, chat, telephony, devices, and perhaps CCaaS and CPaaS). I expect Hybrid Work will be the main theme of WebexOne.
Teams for Mac: Microsoft improved Teams for Apple devices, which promises a boost in performance. Teams is much more about Microsoft 365 subscriptions than Windows licenses. Nothing new here.
Gartner CCaaS MQ: I will be publishing a separate research note on the CCaaS Magic Quadrant and Critical Capabilities reports, so I will be brief here. First, the MQ looks a lot like last year, sort of. They dropped several vendors out of the niche quadrant, and that caused a general recentering of the dots. In other words, there was a tide that pulled the dots down and to the left.
The Leaders are the same: NICE, Genesys, and Td. Five9 and Content Guru remain as Challengers, and AWS remains as a Visionary. 8x8 and Vonage dropped into the Niche quadrant and are joined by Cisco Webex, making its first appearance in this report.
For me, the big surprises were Td still making the Leaders quadrant (barely), and Five9 and AWS not recognized as Leaders. I will explain my thoughts in more detail in the upcoming report.
The bigger changes are in the Critical Capabilities report. The report went from nine use cases to five, and the five are different. The new format seems to be more aligned with the MQ as the leaders in the Critical Capabilities report now better align with the Leaders in the MQ.
Both of these reports provide a lot of valuable information. The key is to use them correctly. First, user requirements vary and may not align with Gartner’s weights. For example, it does not appear that Gartner put a lot of weight on a single provider for UCaaS and CCaaS. Also, it’s important to note that these reports look back, not forward. There’s no mention, for example, of Microsoft, UJET, and Zoom — all of which may disrupt the sector.
A final point is that MQs are not well suited for emerging sectors. In emerging sectors, the value propositions vary dramatically. It is inherently difficult to compare young and diverse providers on common evaluation criteria.
CXSummit 22: I had the opportunity to attend and participate in the Five9 CXSummit. It was an impressive event. Lots of energy and enthusiasm (in part because it was an in-person event — though the CEO was remote). Lots of roundtables and workshops. I participated in two ways: as one of the judges for the Reimagine CX Awards and in a panel with Sheila and Zeus.
July, like most of the preceding months, broke some records for Five9, including 1.9M streamed calls, most of which were assisted by Agent Assist. It’s nice to see that Voicestream, launched just a few years ago, is maturing. Eight new partners, including Microsoft Nuance biometrics, are currently working on VoiceStream integrations.
Zoom Perspectives: Zoom hosted a hybrid analyst event this month. It was an overall overview of all things Zoom. The star was Zoom Events, as it powered this impressive hybrid event. Actually, neither video nor Zoom events got much attention as the portfolio is becoming so broad. I posted my perspectives on Perspectives but thought I would go a bit deeper on CCaaS.
I’ve learned never to underestimate Zoom. The company has done the impossible multiple times. Zoom Phone having 4M users in 3.5 years (100% YoY growth) is an example of a recent improbability. Zoom has a development capability unlike any I have seen. That’s why I never doubted Zoom could build a CCaaS from scratch. However, I was beginning to have some hesitation. A barebones Zoom CCaaS officially launched in February 2022 and showed up at EC22 in March effectively unchanged. I knew Zoom’s innovation engine was queued but had never heard that it started. Scott Brown offered a CCaaS update and claimed Zoom (quietly) added 150 CCaaS features since March.
One hundred fifty is a lot, but that’s easier on a young product. I suspect there’s some exaggeration in these 150 unlisted features, so let’s say 100 real features. That’s still good. In other words, the Zoom innovation engine is building a real CCaaS. The company also acquired Solvvy AI, which will be used to improve customer and agent experiences (plus more features across the Zoom portfolio). We also learned a Zoom WEM suite is planned.
How do 100-150 new features get missed? Zoom has become a bit slippery. The company has moved away from press releases (and briefings) and tends to drip news through blog posts without fanfare. It’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff on a blog (Twilio does the same). I’ve been assured Zoom intends to improve how it communicates its news.
UJET AI for CC Ops: UJET announced AI-modeled Interaction Design for Virtual Agents. It leverages CC operational data to identify common customer needs. It then automates resolutions without agents. Powered by Google’s CCAI Insights, UJET uses conversational AI to create a prioritized list of the virtual agents that will make the biggest difference for CX. This improves key customer care metrics such as wait time, self-service rate, first-call resolution and more.
There’s tremendous value in contact center data, and most current use cases leverage call data to automate answers to common questions. While a good start, UJET is using Google AI to go even further. This solution utilizes contact center data to optimize the entire CX flow by first identifying the best opportunities for automation — that is, conversational AI to focus on overall CX rather than just automation.
NICE Becomes a Top CCaaS Partner for Microsoft: NICE earned a “Top Tier Status” from Microsoft for its Azure co-sell program. MS now openly endorses CXone as the ideal accoutrement for Microsoft Teams, Dynamics, Nuance, Azure Communication Services, and Customer Insights. This will be a notable differentiator for NICE, at least until Microsoft gives Top Tier status to all of its key competitors (inevitable).
Verint’s Enterprise Data Management (EDM) offering will store and harmonize Zoom interaction data alongside interaction and experience data from other corporate systems. It will also provide organizations with customer engagement insights and information to manage compliance. This launch follows the recent announcement of the integration between Verint Financial Compliance and Zoom.
Amazon Connect: Amazon continues its steady pace of innovations. This month, the provider announced historical actuals in its forecasting UI, the preview of its new schedule adherence capability, an API for searching security profiles, and improvements to contact center business hours.
RingCentral Office Upgrades: RingCentral has some new integrations for sales teams. With RingCentral’s Salesforce integration, reps can click numbers to send an SMS and do warm transfers. The HubSpot integration also supports SMS and allows reps to access voicemail and fax from within HubSpot.
RingCentral also updated its admin portal to allow bulk management. New features in RingCentral Office include call forwarding upgrades, speed dialing, and enhanced emergency services. RingCentral’s business analytics is now available through APIs (beta). New/improved apps are available within the RIngCentral app from Google, HubSpot, Zendesk, TextBot, and Trello.
Parlez-Vous Mitel? Mitel partnered with ATS Networks to deliver its UCC solution to French-speaking Africa (Algeria, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia). Africa and LATAM have less developed networking services and continue to favor premises-based solutions.
Zoom Phone Transcription: Zoom expanded its live transcription service from meetings and webinars to Zoom Phone. The service provides real-time transcription in English on a side panel (desktop and mobile). Though it has become a common feature in video meetings, it’s not particularly common on calls (Dialpad has had it for years). It’s a good first step; real-time translation is an amazing feature for global travelers. That can’t be far behind as Zoom has expanded its automated caption service for Meetings and Webinars with more languages including Spanish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, and more.
Teams Pay-As-You-Go UCaaS: Microsoft announced a “Pay-As-You-Go” PSTN Calling Plan as its third calling plan option (adding to its Domestic Calling Plan and an International Calling Plan options). The Pay-As-You-Go Calling Plan offers both domestic and international calling, but on a per-minute basis. Incoming minutes are included and unlimited. Pay-as-you-go can be paid in advance by purchasing credits.
It’s amusing, but not really, how the pendulum swings between pay-as-you-go vs. unlimited. There is no right answer other than to offer something different than everyone else. Another term for pay-as-you-go is usage-based billing. You will see the larger providers lead with usage-based/pay-as-you-go plans.
Usage-based, pay-as-you-go plans, and even BYO carrier plans tend to be cheaper for the customer. They also have the added benefit of subsidizing innovation because usage increases as the provider adds more features and functions. Smaller providers shy away from usage-based/pay-as-you-go for two reasons: complexity and profit. Detailed billing is not free, so it increases costs. Additionally, flat-rate-included models increase top-line revenue, and that increases valuation in the cloud game — at least for pure-plays. It doesn’t particularly impact valuation for diversified providers such as Microsoft and Amazon.
Balto Integrations: CC coaching provider Balto released new integrations for Genesys Cloud, NICE inContact, Salesforce, and other CCaaS systems. It marks an expansion in GTM strategy as it was previously positioned as a standalone application. The integration also allows Balto to be used with Chromebooks. Balto, of course, was featured in the Innovation Showcase at EC22, where it presented how AI plus conversations with customers can assist agents.
Lumen Edge: Lumen Technologies announced Lumen Edge Virtual Machines (VM). It gives business customers on-demand access to computer, storage, and networking services. Lumen Edge VM also includes orchestration across hybrid IT environments for increased agility, reduced latency, and low cost. Lumen Edge VM is available on the Lumen Marketplace.
Edge VM is part of Lumen’s grander, digital platform play. The networking provider has been making substantial operational upgrades that enable digital, responsive self-services.
Chime SDK: Amazon’s Chime SDK now supports a feature called Live Connector. It allows builders to integrate video streams from apps and websites to streaming platforms. Streaming to millions is no longer a technical challenge. The SDK can be combined with Amazon Interactive Video Services (IVS) to create WebRTC-based live streaming.
This is similar to Google Meet integrating with YouTube last month, but that was an integration, and this is an SDK. The SDK essentially integrates to any real-time messaging protocol service, including Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Live. This new capability enables hosting large virtual events, global town halls, and companywide training with thousands or even millions of attendees.
The Chime SDK also upgraded its chat capabilities with “elastic channels.” Use cases include watch parties for sporting events, political events, or live entertainment. Elastic channels are designed to simplify secure, scalable, moderated chat experiences for large audiences. Previously, Amazon Chime SDK messaging supported up to 100k members in a channel. The new approach is up to 10K members spread across up to 100 sub-channels.
Bandwidth Send-To: Bandwidth announced “Send-To,” a new native messaging app for Microsoft Teams Direct Routing and Operator Connect. Send-To enables enterprise users to send SMS texts natively from within Microsoft Teams rather than using their personal phone, enabling faster and more efficient work collaboration. This app effectively extends Bandwidth’s Duet for Microsoft Teams beyond voice and e911.
This means Microsoft Teams users with Bandwidth can send and receive SMS and MMS messages from within their Teams channels! It uses a Bandwidth-provided phone number. The solution facilitates security and compliance matters, and customers control how messages and contacts are retained in their Teams tenant.
It’s truly remarkable that MS Teams doesn’t support SMS, so this new feature from Bandwidth brings Teams into the ’90s. I would have preferred it to support RCS, but that’s another quagmire. I will say that I’ve noticed a few of my SMS conversations have become RCS conversations, and it’s good.
Visible Stress: Visible, Verizon’s budget-focused mobile service, was simple: It had one plan. Verizon added a new Visible plan with several upgrades, including 5G. For just $45 a month, Visible promised better roaming coverage, faster services, and extra features. Based on published reviews, the upgrades were mostly successful, though there were quite a few #fails posted too. Mobile service has a lot of components (voice, tests, data x2 for incoming and outgoing), and there were many complaints that at least one didn’t work after the upgrade.
I like many of the MVNO plans out there. I use Google Fi. It works well and has several valuable features, including multiple carriers and virtual hold. I don’t really get the MVNO play by the MNOs.
8x8 Term Loan Credit Facility: 8x8 announced a new $250M senior secured term loan facility in a transaction led by Francisco Partners. Under the credit agreement, the company intends to use the facility to fund the cash portion of an exchange of approximately $404M principal amount of its 0.50% convertible notes due 2024 and the concurrent repurchase of approximately $60M of common stock.
The term loan facility will mature in July 2027. Advances under the term loan facility will bear interest at an annual rate equal to the Term Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) plus a margin of 6.50%, subject to a floor of 1.00% and a credit spread adjustment of 0.10%. Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB will serve as administrative agent, with certain affiliates of Francisco Partners as lenders.
In conjunction with the term loan facility, 8x8 issued detachable warrants exercisable for an aggregate of 3.1M shares of common stock to Francisco Partners and its affiliates. The warrants carry a five-year term and an exercise price equal to $7.15, representing a 27.5% premium over the closing price of the company’s common stock on Aug. 3, 2022, the pricing date.
Avaya: Avaya ended August much stronger than it started. That suggests the market is warming to the possibility that Avaya could avoid Chapter 11. Things were looking grim in the middle of the month when the company failed to file its quarterly report (for the quarter ending June 30). Avaya hasn’t shared a lot of information since it raised doubts about its survival. Nor has it shared any results or details regarding an internal investigation relating to a whistleblower.
There’s a common perception that Avaya’s problems were recent — essentially announced at the end of July. I like GoodRead #10 below because it points out that there were signs of problems much sooner. The author focuses on the results of Q2-21, but the problems were evident much earlier — specifically, terrible turnover and the inability to develop much of anything internally.
The most significant development out of Avaya since bankruptcy is Avaya Spaces, but that was actually launched pre-bankruptcy by the prior CEO (as Zang). There were some nice developments, but what’s really needed is a CCaaS play. Arguably, that’s been leadership’s top priority for a decade, but certainly since it exited bankruptcy. To develop one was possible but requires time, money, and focus — aka long-term vision and execution.
The big question that impacts everything regarding Avaya is whether there was any wrongdoing. The company has the funds (and leadership) to manage its debt, but the funds are in escrow. The bottom fell out of its books just a few weeks after raising funds. Investors were unaware that the company had run out of ways to sell the same products to the same customers and that the board had initiated a CEO search. The prior CEO, without any CEO experience, certainly did well at Avaya. He will be pursuing other opportunities from Florida.
Aisera, like so many others, uses AI for automated employee experiences (EX) and customer experiences (CX). Aisera announced it secured $90M in Series D funding led by the Growth Equity business within Goldman Sachs Asset Management (Goldman Sachs) and Thoma Bravo. The oversubscribed round also includes participation from Zoom ventures and several other leading investors. The additional funding will further strengthen Aisera’s position as the leading Artificial Intelligence Service Experience (AISX) platform while accelerating its market expansion across industry verticals as well as its global growth and go-to-market strategy. Aisera achieved YoY growth of over 300% and expanded its customer base to more than 75M users, including several F1000 customers.
HP and Poly: HP announced the completion of its acquisition of Poly. HP expects the transaction, first announced in March, to be accretive to revenue, non-GAAP operating profit and non-GAAP EPS in FY23 post-merger. “This is a historic day for our business as we mark the union of two iconic companies that are innovating at the heart of hybrid work,” said Enrique Lores, President and CEO of HP.
Traditional office spaces are also being reconfigured to support hybrid work and collaboration, with a focus on meeting room solutions. Currently, there are more than 90 million rooms, of which less than 10% have video capability. As a result, the office meeting room solutions segment is expected to triple by 2024.
As I’ve indicated before, the acquisition surprised me, but upon reflection it was inevitable. Enterprise comms was traditionally an esoteric industry dominated by specialized vendors and equipment. UCaaS is a mass-market game. The solutions are more mainstream and thus more suitable for larger players. HP is not only a large tech company but one that has mastered survival in the Microsoft ecosystem. This puts more pressure on Dell and Lenovo, as well as peripheral makers Logi and Neat.
Futurum Acquires Wainhouse Research: Futurum Research announced it acquired a majority stake in Wainhouse Research. It’s a nice combination as Futurum brings to Wainhouse a social-savvy presence, and Wainhouse brings to Futurum expertise in enterprise communications. Marc Beattie will continue to serve as president of Wainhouse, coordinating strategy and activities with Futurum principals Daniel Newman and Shelly Kramer.
As the number of vendors and providers in enterprise comms declines, so must the research firms. We have already seen several consolidations on both sides. The question on my mind is how much longer enterprise comms remain a viable topic area. Voice, meetings, messaging, and contact center are relatively minor business areas for the larger firms such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. Additionally, the commoditization of these services are decreasing the need for industry analysis.
This Month’s Goodreads
- Desk Setup Videos Have Taken Over YouTube Even as many people go back to the office, DeskTube continues to thrive. Remote work obviously isn’t going away. There’s just something delightful — and even sort of soothing — about watching someone show you how they’ve perfectly optimized their space.
- What Twitter’s Move to Shutter Offices Signals for Big Tech Big Tech’s impact looms large over the rest of the world. “Over the span of at least a decade, tech has been the leading single driver of leasing activity throughout the US.”
- Malcolm Gladwell slams working from home: ’What have you reduced your life to?’ A really smart guy fails to recognize that humans adapt and evolve, and the old ways aren’t always the best.
- Google tries publicly shaming Apple into adopting RCS Google has been dropping not-so-subtle hints for Apple to support RCS, which offers most of the features of iMessage across both iOS and Android.
- The line between headphones and hearing aids is about to get way blurrier Apple has reportedly considered entering the hearing aid business — and AirPods Pro already has a “Conversation Boost” feature that makes it easier to hear voices. Jabra also makes hearing aids, and its Enhance Plus wireless earbuds are marketed as “hearing-enhancing.”
- Tech analyst Forrester finds enterprise software is recession-proof Growth in enterprise software spending is expected to plow on at a steady 12%, according to figures from Forrester.
- Teens, Social Media and Technology 2022 TikTok has established itself as one of the top online platforms for US teens, while the share of teens who use Facebook has fallen sharply.
- We Need to Talk About How Good A.I. Is Getting We’re in a golden age of progress in artificial intelligence. It’s time to start taking its potential and risks seriously.
- The resilience myth: fatal flaws in the push to secure chip supply chains Good explainer on the complexity of the semiconductor supply chain.
- Avaya con dios, investors Was the company’s current crisis telegraphed by its reported performance many, many months before its recent implosion?
- Why is Meta’s new AI chatbot so bad? You know the drill: A major corporation releases a new chatbot, which is openly ridiculed for racist tendencies and its failure to do the (currently) impossible.
- The AI startup erasing call center worker accents: Is it fighting bias – or perpetuating it? A startup offers voice-altering tech to call center workers around the world: “Yes, this is wrong … but a lot of things exist in the world.”
- Satellite-to-phone companies are thrilled about SpaceX and T-Mobile SpaceX and T-Mobile aren’t the only companies looking to use satellites to communicate directly with cell phones using the existing cell spectrum.
- Microsoft loses face as Teams Intelligent Cameras becomes a third-party feature Microsoft under-delivered on equity experiences and gives its partners the opportunity to remedy.
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