No Jitter Roll: Five for Friday

In this week’s news roundup, we look at announcements around new executive leadership, acquisitions, speech technology, enterprise networking, and Internet of Things (IoT).
 
Twilio Bolsters Executive Leadership
Communications APIs provider Twilio this week announced the hiring of a new chief product officer (CPO), Chee Chew, who is set to join the company on Monday, Jan. 14. As part of Twilio’s executive management team, Chew will report to Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson.
 
Chew comes to Twilio from Amazon, where he served as vice president of consumer engagement, responsible for the company’s core shopping experience on the Web and mobile apps. Prior to Amazon, Chew worked as vice president of engineering at Google, where he headed real-time communications efforts such as Google Voice and Google Hangouts; before that, he spent 14 years as a general manager at Microsoft.
 
Twilio tapped Chee for his “unique combination of skills” and his experiences “building outstanding products, teams, and companies,” Lawson indicated in a prepared statement.
 
In addition to serving as Twilio CPO, Chew will continue to sit on the board of trustees for the Olin College of Engineering.
 
Vector Capital Acquires Aspect Software
Earlier this month, Aspect Software, a customer engagement and workforce optimization solutions provider, revealed that it is being acquired by private equity firm Vector Capital.
 
Vector Capital will invest more than $100 million of equity capital in Aspect, and Aspect’s existing lenders will continue to support the company with a new credit facility at the close of the deal, press materials state. Following regulatory approvals and other standard closing conditions, the deal is expected to close this quarter.
 
Under Vector Capital, Aspect will continue accelerating is strategic transformation, execute on its growth plans, and refine its go-forward strategy, Chris Koziol, president and CEO of Aspect, said in a prepared statement. “Vector Capital brings substantial operational and financial resources as well as a proven track record of helping enterprise software companies invest in new products, accelerate innovation, and build market leading businesses.”
 
Vocera Has Hands-Free Prescription for Healthcare
Vocera Communications this week launched a wearable communication device aimed at improving workflows for healthcare clinicians.
 
The Vocera Smartbadge features a 2.4-inch touchscreen that allows clinicians to receive notifications that include patient context like room number, name, age, and vital signs. The Smartbadge is an upgrade on the original Vocera Badge, a smaller device with fewer features.
 
While the Smartbadge is larger than its predecessor, it is still lightweight, Vocera said, and “ideal for clinicians needing their hands free to provide patient care.” It features improved microphones and speakers for high-quality audio communications in hands-free and hand-set modes. Additionally, it includes a one-touch dedicated panic button, allowing staff to get faster and easier help in emergency situations. It offers extended battery life and USB charging and headset ports.
 
The Smartbadge will integrate with more than 140 clinical and operational systems, including electronic health records, nurse call systems, and physiologic monitors, Vocera said. It’s powered by the Vocera Platform, which aggregates data from these hospital systems and delivers information to the device as appropriate. Additionally, through voice commands, healthcare workers can use the device to issue alerts.
 
Cradlepoint Delivers Edge Router Solutions for 5G
Cradlepoint, a LTE and 5G wireless network edge solution provider, this week announced a portfolio of Gigabit-Class LTE edge routers. These routers are based on the company’s Elastic Wideband technology, a component of its Elastic Edge vision for a software-defined WAN connecting people, places, and things.
 
Cradlepoint delivers these wireless edge routers through its NetCloud service, enabling enterprises and public safety organizations to use the Gigabit-Class LTE cellular networks available today while also providing them a path to 5G when it becomes available, the company said.
 
Elastic Wideband uses 5G technologies like 4x4 multiple-input and multiple-output, 256 quadrature amplitude modulation, and multi-carrier aggregation to deliver Gigabit-Class LTE on cellular networks that support LTE Advanced Pro, capable of expanding to support full 5G in the future, Cradlepoint said. With this week’s announcement, Cradlepoint also revealed that its Elastic Wideband technology now supports Private LTE.
 
“On the heels of SD-WAN, wireless is the next major wave of WAN transformation fueled by advanced LTE and 5G services,” said George Mulhern, chairman and CEO at Cradlepoint, in a prepared statement.
 
AT&T Aims to Foster IoT Innovation
AT&T last week announced it’s partnering with Arrow Electronics and Indiegogo to help entrepreneurs developing applications around the IoT in connection to the Arrow Certification Program. The certification program offers engineering, supply chain, marketing, and production support.
 
For connectivity, AT&T will be providing developers with access to its 4G LTE, 5G, LTE Cat M1, and Narrowband IoT networks, as well as SIM cards, data plans for qualified projects, and access to IoT tools. Additionally, AT&T and Arrow Electronics will be awarding $250,000 in flash funding to Indiegogo campaigns that contain Arrow-Certified technology.
 
To qualify for the AT&T connectivity and be eligible to win flash funding, projects must be certified as part of the Arrow Certified Technology program, which can be obtained via an application on Arrow’s website. Following a successful review by Arrow engineers, the product will earn its certification, which signifies that the product design is ready for manufacturing.
 
“Funding and access to resources are two of the biggest obstacles that developers face,” said Chris Penrose, president of IoT solutions at AT&T, in a prepared statement. “We’re looking to help remove those challenges so that entrepreneurs can do what they do best -- innovate.”