No Jitter Roll: This Week in Enterprise Communications
Today's collection of what's hot and happening includes snippets of news from Slack, Videxio, Vonage, RingCentral, ALE, Verizon, and Dialpad.
With the holidays just around the corner, you might find yourself spending the spare time between year-end wrap-up meetings browsing Amazon for some last-minute gifts. Or maybe you've been anxiously following Santa Claus's movements with NORAD's "Santa Tracker."
Well, I've got news for you -- Santa hasn't even left the North Pole yet! He's way too busy with his own last-minute all-hands conferences at his workshop. In fact, he won't leave for another week. So make better use of your Web time by taking a few minutes to catch up on some of the news you may have missed this week in the enterprise communications world.Slack and Videxio in the Video News
Last week, there was certainly some buzz around Slack, as the team collaboration darling announced a partnership with Google to offer integrations to its shared customers (see "Team Collaboration Battle Intensifies over App Integration"). This week the buzz continues, this time in the video realm. Having already added voice calling to the platform in June, Slack this week announced the addition of one-to-one and group video calling: "Just click the phone icon to start a call -- like you've been doing already -- and then use the new camera button within your window to enable video," states the official Slack blog.
Following the same path it took with voice calling, Slack video calling aims for simplicity, not requiring users to open a separate app, dial into a conference bridge, or share meeting invite links. Any user can video call a Slack team member directly, with paid plan users enjoying the extra feature of being able to do a group video call with up to 15 people. Further, Slack offers integration with third-party services such as Zoom and Google Hangouts, so users can customize call settings to select their preferred call service.
Slack video calling is being rolled out currently and will be made available to latest versions of Slack for Mac and Slack for Windows desktop applications, in addition to Google Chrome. Mobile Slack users will be able to participate in video calls, but will be limited to audio.
In other video news, cloud video conferencing provider Videxio this week rolled out its new Web experience, which includes a redesigned user interface that provides more streamlined navigation through the app. Interestingly, Videxio seems to have jumped on the "room" bandwagon, renaming its VMRs (video meeting rooms) tab to simply "rooms."
Additionally, Videxio has simplified the process used to join and invite people to meetings. While previously following the familiar convention of sending emails with a link, now Videxio also offers a shareable URL for each room. Users can copy the link and share it with whomever they want, however they want. Finally, Videxio has added in a few bells and whistles to its management features, for example, optimizing it for touch screens and allowing organizers access to the same meeting and participant information both during and outside of calls. There is also a new "Disconnect All" capability that allows the organizer to end the call for everyone currently participating.
Take a quick read of the Videxio blog to read up on all the enhancements made with this latest Web interface.Vonage: Patent that!
Vonage made a big move into the API space with last year's acquisition of Nexmo, and this week announced it was granted its first patent for Nexmo since the purchase (see "Vonage Acquires Nexmo, Jumps Into CPaaS "). The patent is for the company's proprietary Adaptive Routing solution, which improves deliverability, latency, and stability to users of Nexmo contextual communications services for sending and receiving text messages, according to press materials.
"For enterprise customers that rely on the immediacy of contextual communications to seamlessly connect with users, Vonage's Adaptive Routing solution provides higher quality communications than is available without this technology," said Tony Jamous, President of Nexmo, in a prepared statement. "Vonage has access to multiple carriers and networks over which to deliver contextual communications solutions. This provides us with a unique advantage for Vonage's Adaptive Routing algorithms to redirect traffic via the optimal route, finding the best path for text messaging based on the automated and real-time collection of route performance data. It's like GPS for SMS."RingCentral Beefs up Professional Services
With the buzz around the value of professional services that came out of the Enterprise Summit at last year's Enterprise Connect Orlando (as No Jitter Editor Beth Schultz discussed in the June article, "Professional Services: Cloud Sticking Point?"), it's not surprising that some of the top cloud players would be making moves to boost their offerings. This week, RingCentral announced the addition of Extended Enterprise Support to its RingCentral Professional Services portfolio, which provides its enterprise customers with a dedicated team of technical account and customer success managers. Additionally, the Extended Enterprise Support provides a hotline number for quicker resolutions, proactive case management and notification system, and quarterly network assessments to review evolving needs.
"Enterprises today demand a more consultative approach to deploying and managing cloud business communications solutions," said Chuck Emmette, head of Professional Services at RingCentral, in a prepared statement. "We understand enterprise pain points and want to help businesses resolve challenges. We are now offering an extended level of enterprise support that goes beyond our standard support model. The Extended Enterprise Support program is designed for IT organizations requiring a more mentored service approach that ties directly to business performance."ALE Boosts Integration Story
While a couple weeks back we saw the introduction of Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise's Rainbow (see "ALE Rainbow: What It Is and Isn't"), and a couple months back we covered updates to ALE's OpenTouch Enterprise Cloud in the No Jitter Roll, that's hardly the end of ALE's story. This week, ALE released OpenTouch 2.2.1, featuring enhancements made around real-time tools for improving productivity and customer services, as well as offering new deployment capabilities to simplify IT, press materials state.
The latest release includes OpenTouch Conversation app for presence, chat, and application and desktop sharing -- all from the same app that provides business telephony and other UC capabilities. In addition, OpenTouch Conversation for PC now includes a 'hot desking' capability for shared work spaces.
The release also includes new virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) interoperability with VMWare, Citrix and Microsoft to support virtual PC environments, as well as OpenTouch multi-site federation for communications with distributed organizations.Verizon Dominates in VoIP/SIP Trunking
Frost & Sullivan this week released the results of its analysis of the VoIP access and SIP trunking services market, recognizing Verizon Enterprise Solutions with the 2016 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Market Leadership. The award is for a company that "develops a comprehensive product line that caters to the breadth of the market it serves," the press materials state. According to the market analysis, Verizon garnered more than a quarter of the total North American market share.
"Verizon is one of the few service providers in the North American market with a full line of wireless, wireline, and IP-based services and networks for businesses, large and small," said Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Michael Brandenburg, in a press release. "While a number of its competitors are unable or unwilling to link their wired and wireless networks, Verizon strives to create synergies across all of its networks, treating them as a unified set of resources to meet specific business needs."Dialpad and SoftBank Bring the Cloud to Japan
We've recently covered a couple of announcements coming out of Dialpad regarding new executive appointments, and this week, the company has a geography-related announcement. Dialpad has partnered with Japanese mobile communication provider SoftBank to bring Dialpad's pure-cloud business communications solution to the Japan market. Through the alliance, SoftBank will offer Dialpad to its customers, and will be the exclusive provider of Dialpad in this market for a period of five years, the release states.
This partnership does seem to make sense, seeing as how SoftBank is one of the largest resellers of Google's G Suite productivity applications, one of the areas in which Dialpad shows significant strength.
"In the rapidly-changing and ever-growing cloud market, the need for unified communications is especially high," said Kunihiro Fuhinaga, VP of the Enterprise Business Strategy Division at SoftBank, in a prepared statement. "We expect Dialpad to meet our customers' needs as it seamlessly works with G Suite, which is used by many of our customers. SoftBank will work to expand the sales of Dialpad in the future as one of the core cloud services."