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EC18 News Roundup: Covering the Gamut of Communications: Page 2 of 4

Phones, Endpoints, and UC Management News

While communications is increasingly a software play, as EC program co-chair Beth Schultz discussed in a mainstage panel of industry executives (watch the video here), that certainly doesn't eliminate the need for hardware and endpoint devices... nor for management or monitoring. The need spurred a variety of announcements from device manufacturers and management providers.

Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business Support

AudioCodes announced support for Microsoft Teams across its portfolio. For example, its One Voice for Microsoft 365 suite now includes Teams-specific products and capabilities, and the 400 series of HD VoIP devices now includes a color touchscreen IP phone running a native Teams client. In addition, it has enhanced its session border controllers to support direct routing with Teams, enabling enterprises to integrate bring-your-own-trunk services; allows policy-based routing for Teams with the AudioCodes Routing Manager; and provides provides call recording in Teams via its SmartTAP 360° interaction recording solution.

In other Teams-related news, Yealink unveiled two enterprise-grade media phones -- the T56A, for personal desktops, and the T58A model, for executive rooms and C-level users -- and a conference phone for Teams. All three phones feature the Teams user interface and support Teams calling and meeting features. In addition, the CP960 conference phone uses a combination of Yealink's HD voice technology and Harmon's acoustic engineering. It is meant for use in huddle rooms and medium- and large-sized meeting spaces.

Also for meeting rooms, collaboration provider StarLeaf showcased its GTm family of systems, which allow enterprises to deploy meeting room solutions that work for Teams as well as Skype for Business, the company said. And, HP introduced the HP Elite Slice for Meeting Rooms G2 with Skype Room Systems. It comprises a 43-inch 4K conferencing display, an optional Center of Room Control touchscreen panel for managing conference calls, and HP Presence Sensor for detecting when participants enter meeting rooms.

This list of companies making moves in tandem with Microsoft is far from complete. As Schultz wrote on No Jitter, the Teams hardware ecosystem also includes meeting room systems from Lenovo, new conference room phones from Crestron and Polycom, and new mobile phone stations from Plantronics (which, just after EC, announced its planned acquisition of Polycom). Further, Microsoft is certifying interoperability between Teams and existing hardware solutions from BlueJeans Network, Pexip, and Polycom.

Provisioning, Management, and Monitoring Plays

On the provisioning and management front, cloud communications provider Masergy announced an automation tool for UCaaS user provisioning. The tool uses a RESTful API and automates provisioning triggered by Active Directory (AD) or SaaS HR applications, synchronizes AD with the UCaaS platform, and eliminates dependencies on unfamiliar UCaaS admin portals for managing users.

Jabra, known for its UC headsets, and Unify Square, known for its Microsoft UC management solutions, announced a partnership that brings Jabra headsets into Unify Square PowerSuite device performance and operations management software. PowerSuite will now offer troubleshooting, inventory reporting, and other management services for Jabra headsets. In addition, Unify Square launched managed services and consulting offerings for businesses transitioning from Skype for Business to Teams.

Another UC management provider, Voss Solutions announced general availability of VOSS-4-UC Contact Center, a management solution integrating VOSS-4-UC and contact center into one administrative portal. Management capabilities include fulfillment, quality assurance and analytics, and billing. It features a non-technical interface for making service changes, a self-service portal for end users, and dynamic provisioning of agent resources, Voss said.

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