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No Jitter Roll: Strategic Partnerships, WFH Support
In this week’s No Jitter Roll, we share the latest updates on partner acquisitions in the areas of UCaaS and CCaaS, cloud integrations, AI and speech technologies, and COVID-19 offerings.
NEC, Intermedia Unite for UCaaS, CCaaS
NEC, longtime provider of premises-based UC systems, earlier this week announced that it has partnered with cloud-based communications provider Intermedia to accelerate its push into the cloud. Together, the companies have launched the NEC Univerge Blue Connect and Univerge Blue Engage UCaaS and CCaaS platforms for large enterprises, small businesses, and all others in between.
While NEC has a huge installed PBX base — 80 million endpoints — to migrate to the cloud, it has no compelling UCaaS solution, shared Elka Popova, vice president of information and communications technologies with Frost & Sullivan in an email exchange with No Jitter. Meanwhile, Intermedia has a great UCaaS and CCaaS stack, but no international exposure or the resources (customer base, channel, budget, etc.) that NEC has. This makes the deal a great one for both parties, combining Intermedia’s cloud technology with NEC’s global reach, Popova said.
With a majority of the global employee population currently working from home, businesses must be able to communicate and collaborate from anywhere at any time, internally and externally. That, of course, is propelling the move into the cloud for companies that had been holding on to premises UC deployments. With the Univerge Blue Connect and Engage offerings, which are built on Intermedia’s cloud platform, NEC will be able to provide businesses “a clear path” to the cloud, Popova said. In addition, the partnership will create a “natural obstacle for other UCaaS providers” seeking to target the NEC customer base for cloud migration, she added.
Univerge Blue Connect combines a full-featured cloud-based phone system, chat, videoconferencing, and file sync and share, and is available from desktop, web, and mobile applications. Univerge Blue Engage is an omnichannel contact center. These offerings, which will be available this quarter beginning in the U.S., exclusively through NEC’s partner ecosystem, will integrate with NEC premises-based systems, NEC said.
Workplace by Facebook Gets New Features
This week, Facebook announced a series of changes for its Facebook by Workplace team communications app, many to address feedback it has received from customers grappling with COVID-19 demands, the company said. The updates include:
- Knowledge Library, to serve as a home for company resources, providing users can create, store, and share static content such as on processes and procedures
- Q&A posts, users can ask questions for others to respond to and upvote
- Draft feature, which allows users to create posts for review and approval before publishing
- Campaign function, for tracking reach, engagement, and sentiment for a group of posts
- Expanded Safety Check on Workplace capabilities, allowing enterprises to send standalone alerts to provide incident updates that don’t require a response
- Care reaction and Apart Together profile frames
8x8, Jabra Hear You
Cloud communications provider 8x8 and audio and video equipment provider Jabra have partnered to allow for seamless use of their respective cloud services and headsets. As part of the partnership, enterprises will receive additional support when using Jabra Biz, Engage, Evolve, or UC Voice mono and stereo headsets with 8x8's UC, video collaboration, or contact center solutions. 8x8-supported features for these headsets include pickup, disconnect, and mute, according to 8x8.
LogMeIn Focuses on Tech Support With Rescue Live Lens
Cloud provider LogMeIn last week released its video-based technical support software solution, Rescue Live Lens. With this solution, IT professionals can field IT requests through a browser-based platform that allows them to use a user's mobile device camera to diagnose and resolve equipment issues, LogMeIn said. Additionally, the solution supports VoIP audio and allows IT professionals to record sessions, annotate paused videos to explain material, and transfer active session to other agents.
Sharecare, Infobip, Deepgram Lend a Hand for COVID-19
Providers across the communications and collaboration spectrum continued to do their part in helping organizations weather the COVID-19 crisis. The week look at three such companies:
- Digital health and wellness company, Sharecare, this week announced the launch of an interactive COVID-19 self-screener that uses conversational AI. Created in partnership with IPSoft and NTT Data, this bot is available for free to any U.S. organization, and accessible through Sharecare’s website and smartphone application.
- Telecommunications provider Infobip announced that it is providing healthcare and government organizations, including in North America, free access to its global communications platform for sharing of critical information across multiple channels, including SMS, voice, email, and mobile app messaging, during this crisis. Via API, it can provide connectivity directly into CRM, campaign management, and other database applications.
- Deepgram, a speech recognition company, announced earlier this month that it will be donating $1 million of automatic speech recognition services to healthcare providers through May 2021. Each qualifying organization will receive access to the company’s Batch Mode API, developer documentation, deep search and keyword boosting, timestamps and confidences, and punctuation and capitalization, the company said.
Sangoma Steps into Videoconferencing Ring
Communications provider Sangoma Technologies this week announced generally availability of its cloud-based videoconferencing offering, Sangoma Meet. The solution supports HD video and provides password encryption, Sangoma said. Additional features, such as a mobile and desktop app, Google G Suite and Microsoft Outlook calendar integrations, and dial-in capability will follow during May, Sangoma said. The video meeting solution, which is for use on its own or with the company’s UC phone systems, is available for free during the COVID-19 crisis, the company said.
Medallia Acquires Speech-to-Text Tech
Experience management provider Medallia this week announced the acquisition of Voci Technologies, for its real-time speech-to-text platform. Voci transcribes live and recorded calls into text that organizations can analyze to determine customer satisfaction. It also enables call analysis moments after each interaction has completed, Voci said. For Medallia, the goal is to help optimize remote contact center operations by delivering actionable insight, the company said. in real-time, the company said.
Ryan Daily, No Jitter associate editor, contributed to this article.