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No Jitter Roll: Five for Friday
In this week’s news round-up, we look at announcements around acquisitions, contact center and customer experience, artificial intelligence (AI), video, and meeting rooms.
8x8 Acquires Jitsi
Cloud communications provider 8x8 this week announced it is expanding its video collaboration capabilities with the acquisition of Jitsi from enterprise software company Atlassian. 8x8 gains Jitsi’s open-source video communications platform and staff, along with the organization’s modular open-source projects for enabling businesses to build and deploy secure video communication solutions designed to run thousands of video streams from a single server. The Jitsi platform, which is supported by a community of developers, is fully compliant with industry standards like WebRTC.
“The open source community has played a critical role in advancing Jitsi’s projects by validating its use in a diverse set of environments and complementing the core team’s development,” said Bryan Martin, chairman and CTO at 8x8, in a prepared statement. “As part of this acquisition, 8x8 is committed to continuing to support the growing developer community, and we are excited to engage even more.”
8x8 intends to integrate Jitsi’s video communication solutions into its Meetings solution, which is part of the 8x8 X Series for customer and employee communications (see “8x8 Shifts Team Messaging Strategy”). 8x8 did not disclose financial details of the acquisition.
For Atlassian, the Jitsi sale is the continuation of the company’s step away from the communications market – a move that began with the July offloading of HipChat and Stride, two team collaboration tools, to Slack.
Genesys Delivers New Workforce Management Capabilities in Winter Release
Contact center and customer experience provider Genesys earlier this week announced its Winter Innovations, comprising hundreds of new features and services aimed at improving customer experience and employee engagement through AI and automation. The hallmark of this release, Genesys said, is an AI-powered forecasting and scheduling service for workforce management (WFM), delivered via Genesys Automated Forecasting and Scheduling.
Genesys Automated Forecasting evaluates hundreds of thousands of potential forecasts by comparing parameters from more than 25 methodologies and predicts the right one for the particular business. Automated Scheduling works as a companion to Forecasting, also relying on AI models to produce staffing schedules quickly, Genesys said.
With this release, Genesys is aiming to help “businesses of all sizes to realize their entire AI strategy on one platform” -- with support for voicebots and chatbots, WFM, predictive analytics, and more, said Peter Graf, chief product officer at Genesys, in a prepared statement.
Additionally, the winter release includes several capabilities based on Kate, Genesys’s AI platform (see “Genesys Differentiates with Blended AI Approach”). These include automated agents, automated agent assistance, predictive engagement and prospect conversion, and an integration of Genesys Predictive Routing with Performance DNA for customer-employee matching.
The capabilities available in the release will be rolling out over the next several months across Genesys’s cloud product portfolio: PureCloud, PureConnect, and PureEngage.
LogMeIn Gets ‘Bolder’ on AI
LogMeIn this week announced the addition of proactive AI and language features to its Bold360 platform for intelligent customer engagement. These enhancements build on LogMeIn’s launch of Bold360.ai earlier this year (see “LogMeIn Goes ‘Bold’ with AI”), reinforcing the company’s commitment to helping organizations rethink customer engagement, LogMeIn said.
“Artificial intelligence has already shown great promise in reinventing how businesses tackle customer service and support both in direct communications with the customer and in supporting agents,” said Mary Wardley, VP of customer care and CRM at IDC, in a prepared statement. “The next evolution is proactive AI, where customers can get timely and relevant information throughout their entire journey.”
Bold360’s Proactive AI allows businesses to proactively engage with customers with timely and relevant outreach. It works by using customer analytics and insights gleaned from interactions throughout a customer’s journey, readying tailored content so that when the customer is ready to connect, the business is prepared with appropriate resources.
For organizations with a global customer base, LogMeIn continues to grow the languages it supports, and has added a native integration with GeoFluent, a translation and localization service from Lionbridge.
With this week’s enhancements, LogMeIn aims to turn Bold360 into a multi-purpose chatbot platform capable of providing proactive engagement from the first interaction through customer service and support. This eliminates the disjointedness that comes from businesses investing in multiple technologies by employing several single-purpose chatbots, the company said.
Lifesize Targets the Huddle Room
Cloud video provider Lifesize this week launched Lifesize Dash, a software-based video solution for real-time collaboration aimed at the huddle room and mini meeting spaces.
Lifesize Dash relies on WebRTC technology to enable video, audio, and Web meetings on inexpensive Chromebox devices from manufacturers Acer and Asus. It features easy-to-use meeting controls, centralized management, and automatic updates to reduce the amount of effort and cost required for an effective meeting experience. Dash integrates with a diversity of third-party USB cameras and audio devices from companies such as Aver, Logitech, Huddly, and MXL, enabling customers to customize the meeting room solution according to their needs.
Customers can pair Dash with the Lifesize Room Controller, a tablet application that provides touch controls for mini meeting rooms. Via the controller, users can search the company directory, join a meeting, wirelessly share their screens, and access in-call controls like muting, call recording, and adding participants.
Existing and new customers that subscribe to the Lifesize cloud-based service will receive a free Dash subscription, the company said.
Mersive Makes Moves in Digital Signage, Analytics
Mersive, a wireless content sharing and collaboration provider, this week enhanced two of its core offerings: the Solstice Pod, for screen sharing in conference rooms, and Kepler, for workplace analytics.
Specifically, as part of its release of Solstice version 3.4, Mersive updated the Solstice Pod to allow enterprises to select any kind of digital signage to display when the meeting room is not in use.
“Screens appear on almost every wall in commercial, education and other environments. … We anticipate that screens in transition spaces and other digital signage endpoints will be adapted to allow collaboration between colleagues ‘on the fly.’ Meetings can even start in the corridor while participants wait for the meeting space itself to become free,” said Christopher Jaynes, founder and CTO of Mersive, in a prepared statement.
Separately, Mersive recently launched the Kepler Dashboard to enable IT and A/V managers to monitor in-room screens so they can make sure everything is functioning properly. Additionally, the Kepler Dashboard provides at-a-glance displays of meeting room use, information organizations can leverage to optimize their meetings estate.