Can We Solve the Tower of Babel That is Text?
In this UCStrategies Industry Buzz podcast, Michael Finneran contends that text is the single most important and widely used medium of communications to have emerged in the past 20 years, but that it is about the farthest thing from an “integrated network” that has ever existed. The conversation includes Experts Phil Edholm, Joseph Williams, Jon Arnold, Blair Pleasant, JR Simmons, Roberta Fox, and Dave Michels.
UCaaS and CPaaS Merging
Once upon a time there were two totally separate industries: unified communications as a service (UCaaS), the application; and communications platform as a service (CPaaS), the platform. But the distinction between these services is getting fuzzy.
Vidyo launched a new cloud service that adds new consumption options including hybrid models to its portfolio. It’s a unique cloud offer because it includes both video conferencing as a service as well as cPaaS as it extends Vidyo’s APIs from products to include services.
A Stand-out for GROUP Communications
Logitech introduced the GROUP ConferenceCam. It’s a revised version of the cc3000e with a slightly less dumb name. GROUP is a laptop peripheral, or more accurately a room accoutrement. It’s intended to live in a conference room to facilitate laptop-powered group conferences. By connecting it to a laptop’s USB port, the laptop transforms into a room conferencing system with a 10x optical zoom lens, wireless remote, and high-fidelity acoustics capable of supporting up to 20 participants.
Avaya Plays Sports
Most sports sponsorships are little more than advertising. There’s no doubt that some goodwill is generated from Avaya’s sponsorship of the stadium where the San Jose Earthquakes play in California. But the real game is practice development. Avaya saw a win-win opportunity: the venue operators needed new technologies – contact centers, networking, and new applications – and Avaya wanted to transition from a product orientation to a solution focus. It’s part of Avaya’s larger transition from equipment provider to solution provider.
The Big Picture on Video
Visual communications is shifting from the expensive and few to the cheap and masses. The cast of conspirators is huge and includes consumer services, freemium models, and iDevices. Here’s a quick recap of some recent events relative to enterprise communications.
NEC Announces UNIVERGE Blue
In the first keynote session at the UC Summit, Jay Krauser of NEC announced the immediate availability of UNIVERGE Blue, a new UCaaS service from NEC.
8×8 Attracting Enterprise Customers
With the switch to 8×8, Regus intends to offer its customers enhanced communication services such as mobility, multi-channel communications, and presence enabled directories. 8×8’s Virtual Office includes Switchboard Pro which enables Regus attendants to properly identify and route calls.
Time for Channel Specialization
The traditional dealer or VAR is no longer just competing with a handful of firms in the same city, but a globe of providers on the same planet. As products turn into services the margins disappear. What’s happening is the general practitioner model for business communications is getting strangled.
SIP Trunks to Reduce the Cost of Cellular
Verizon Enterprise Solutions today announced Wireless Connected VoIP. The new service eliminates per-minute usage charges on calls placed over the carrier’s US IP trunks to any of its wireless subscribers. While free cellular calls between subscribers on the same carrier are common, Wireless Connected VoIP extends the “on-net” benefit to enterprise wired connections.
Time to Drop the Anchor
There are two times when it makes more sense to go with UCaaS than a premises-based UC anchor: always and now. There was a time when premises-based solutions made the most sense – basically when there wasn’t a choice. UCaaS has been evolving now for over a decade and it now offers a robust set of benefits. There are lots of reasons why UCaaS stands out. Here’s five…
Reflecting on Inflection
UC industry pundits like myself frequently speak about disruption and inflection points. We use these terms to describe significant shifts occurring in the industry, such as digital to IP, prem to cloud, hardware to software, and hard phone to softphon…
The Smartphone Becomes a SMARTphone
What we mean by “mobility” continues to change (or move). What is most fascinating is how the smartphone is enabling totally new approaches to old problems. SMART took an entirely new approach with dry-erase whiteboards.
Oh, Say Can You Hear
Based on the number of ads I see for headphones, earbuds, and headsets it seems pretty clear that there is huge demand for them. Headsets are now part of the daily routine. It surprised me when I realized how often I wear a headset or headphones. Not only do I wear them often, but I wear many different models – daily. For softphone users, headsets are the new endpoint – and there’s a wide range in features, price, and quality.
NEC Launches Smart Enterprise, Globally
NEC’s solutions span across enterprise, public sector, energy, and carriers. Its enterprise solutions include UC, logistics, distribution, transport, production management, and plant management. The company observes that technologies are crossing between these sectors. With this multi-disciplinary perspective, NEC offers its observations and definitions for the modern “Smart Enterprise.” Specifically, NEC has identified 10 strategic drivers that are empowering Smart Enterprises.
It isn’t exactly news to describe how quickly things are changing in enterprise communications. This we know, it’s exciting and frustrating at the same time. We need to remember that the goal isn’t making communications cheaper, faster or clearer, but getting things done, solving problems, and innovating.
Smiling About Video
The democratization of video is upon us – and it changes everything. It’s the result of camera ubiquity, inexpensive broadband, and smart mobile devices. Video has traded its Sunday suit for a t-shirt and is blending into our daily workflow. The technology is now intuitive, natural, and accessible. As a result there’s tremendous recent video news occurring across the industry. Here’s a smattering:
Microsoft intends to change the name of its Lync solution for real-time communications to Skype for Business. I’ve heard some negative reactions to the change. Despite these criticisms, I believe rebranding Lync was an ingenious move. For lots of reasons, but I will highlight three.
VaaS-ing with LifeSize Cloud
Many hardware companies are shifting to software and services, so its no surprise that LifeSize has a new video conferencing service. The new LifeSize Cloud is the company’s second video as a service (VaaS) offer. The first service was known as LifeSize Connections a few years back. LifeSize Cloud is an entirely new, purpose-built service that became generally available last Spring. I’ve been using it heavily for the past few weeks and I like it – a lot.
Enjoy the Status Quo While it Lasts
It is interesting to reflect on the amount of change that has occurred. But there are two very important considerations as we ponder about enterprise communications. Today’s deployments must center on mobility and cloud, and the industry is on the cusp of significant innovation. Long term strategies, beyond rapid adaptation, are pointless with the current rate of change and shear degree of new technologies emerging.