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No Jitter Roll: Five for Friday

This edition of our regular news roundup covers contact center as a service (CCaaS) product updates, a new team collaboration venture, a partnership around unified communications as a service (UCaaS), and a couple industry acquisitions related to mobility and audio and video solutions.
Talkdesk Updates CCaaS Platform
Cloud contact center provider Talkdesk this week debuted the latest updates for its Enterprise Contact Center platform, adding capabilities meant to enhance the customer experience and improve security.
These updates, compiled in the Enterprise Contact Center Winter 19 release, in part follow on from Talkdesk’s November 2018 Talkdesk iQ announcement. With Talkdesk iQ, Talkdesk is bringing artificial intelligence (AI) to bear across the Enterprise Contact Center platform, as Tiago Paiva, Talkdesk CEO, shared when introducing the initiative.
Today Talkdesk iQ’s influence is manifest in Talkdesk Omnichannel, enabling the combination of work across digital channels and allowing for more personalized, context-driven interactions with customers, Talkdesk said. New capabilities for this omnichannel solution include rules-based presence sync; the ability to serve up high-priority social media posts, as identified via social listening; and a synchronized view of SMS, live chat, and app messaging interactions. In addition, Talkdesk Omnichannel is now embedded in the Callbar agent interface.
Talkdesk iQ is also powering the Talkdesk Studio routing flow designer. For Studio, the Winter 19 release brings optimized workflows, multilingual speech-to-text functionality, and new editing tools for contact center administrators, Talkdesk said.
Beyond AI capabilities, the Winter 19 release provides enhancements that should ease the ability to bring the platform into a contact center. Callbar, for example, now features universal support for SIP and external devices, and a capability called Talkdesk xConnect provides the ability to connect Enterprise Contact Center to PBXs and carriers.
Regarding its security enhancements, the Winter 19 release adds enhanced SAML 2.0 support for streamlined authentication and expanded PCI tools for agent-assisted payments, Talkdesk said.
Talkdesk’s Enterprise Cloud Contact Center Winter 19 release made the list of finalists for the 2019 Best of Enterprise Connect Award program -- winner to be announced on stage at Enterprise Connect 2019, coming the week of March 18 to Orlando, Fla. Learn more about Talkdesk at the event; you’ll find the company on the Expo floor at booth 1927.
No Jitter Editor Beth Schultz contributed to the writing of this portion.
Introducing Threads for Team Collab
On the team collaboration front, a former Facebook product manager, Rousseau Kazi, this week launched the beta of his Threads platform for making work “more inclusive by empowering teams to discuss and make decisions at scale,” as he wrote in his company’s first blog.
“As a team grows, you start to see it happen. People get left off meeting invites, group chats happen in private with fewer people than before, and even email becomes siloed,” Kazi wrote. “You start to hear about critical decisions through the grapevine, things at work feel like they’re coming out of left field, and even if you have a strong opinion, it’s often too late since the ball is already rolling.”
Kazi attributes this problem to the inability of current communications tools to keep up with teams as they grow. Threads has designed the platform to allow people to catch up and contribute to a discussion when they have time by providing a time-ordered discussion thread, notifications on activity related to that thread, and the ability to mark a relevant comment as the decision, Kazi wrote. Prior to this week’s launch, the company raised nearly $11.5 million in funds, including a $10.5 million series A round led by Sequoia Capital, CNBC reported.
Interestingly, Kazi’s new venture will be in direct competition to his former employer’s team collaboration solution, Workplace by Facebook, which just yesterday announced that it has reached two million paid users in the two years since its inception. But in speaking with CNBC, Kazi contended that Threads is better suited for the kind of conversations that happen in the workplace than a tool whose genesis is in connecting friends and family.
As a free service, Threads allows teams to have up to 150 conversations, CNBC said. The premium version of the software allows unlimited conversations for the price of $10 per month per user.
Learn more about team collaboration tools and workspaces at Enterprise Connect, where we’ll feature a conference track on the topic. Of note for those experiencing the team drop-off problem Kazi described is the “Team Collaboration Growing Pains” session scheduled for Monday, March 18 at 9:00 a.m.
Dialogic, Epsilon Team to Launch UCaaS Platform
Dialogic, a cloud-optimized applications and infrastructure solutions provider, this week announced it has partnered with Epsilon, a global communications service provider, to launch a fully managed and hosted carrier-class UCaaS platform.
Dialogic has built the UCaaS offering on its BUZZ Unified Communications platform, which offers calling, conferencing, and collaboration functionality as well as an API-driven architecture for integrating artificial intelligence and Internet of Things technologies, Dialogic said. Service providers and channel partners using the BUZZ UC platform will be able to offer UCaaS sans infrastructure investment, Dialogic said.
Dialogic will host its BUZZ UCaaS platform in Epsilon’s global Tier-3 colocation facilities, and rely on the provider’s connectivity services, including Ethernet data center interconnections, direct connectivity to cloud and Internet exchanges, and Internet and hybrid software-defined WAN. In addition, Dialogic will take advantage of Epsilon’s voice portfolio of SIP trunking, inbound, porting, and termination services.
Dialogic selected Epsilon as its UCaaS partner due to its “global presence, high-performance network, and customer-focused approach,” said Bill Crank, Dialogic president and CEO, in a prepared statement.
Dive in to all things UCaaS in the Cloud Communications conference track at Enterprise Connect. You’ll learn more about the myriad UCaaS players in the session, “Big Brands & Convergence: Understanding the UCaaS Market Landscape,” on Monday, March 18 at 8:00 a.m., led by Elka Popova, program director at Frost & Sullivan.
ServiceMax Acquires Zinc
ServiceMax, a provider of cloud-based software for service execution, this week announced its acquisition of Zinc, a enterprise communication platform provider focused on enabling field technicians to share knowledge and collaborate.
ServiceMax said it intends to use the Zinc technology to accelerate its growth and expand its Service Execution Management platform with communications functionality such as one-to-one and group messaging, voice, video, content sharing, push-to-talk, top-down broadcasts, and hotlines, as well as analytics, ServiceMax said. “No service execution strategy is complete without real-time communication,” commented ServiceMax CEO Scott Berg.
ServiceMax didn’t disclose the deal’s financial terms. Even once acquired, Zinc said it will continue to work with other field service management platforms and CRM systems, including those from Oracle, Click, and Salesforce.
Learn more about enterprise mobile strategies at Enterprise Connect. Don’t miss the session, “Mobile Strategies To Finally Eliminate the Desk Phone,” led by mobility expert Michael Finneran, of dBrn Associates, scheduled for Monday, March 18 at 8:00 a.m.
GN Audio Acquires Altia Systems
GN Audio, a provider of audio solutions, last week announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Altia Systems, a video collaboration solution provider known for its PanaCast solution and its development of video communications solutions using digital multicamera array technology.
GN Audio operates under the Jabra and BlueParrott brands, providing enterprises with professional headsets and speakerphones. Altia Systems gives it the ability to expand into integrated audio and video communications solutions, GN Audio said, noting that it will focus on providing comprehensive collaboration capabilities for huddle rooms.
Under GN Audio’s ownership, Altia Systems will continue to commercialize its current products and invest in its product pipeline. A group of key employees from Altia Systems will continue to lead its development activities following the transaction.
GN Audio purchased Altia Systems for $125 million on a debt and cash free basis, with roughly $12 million linked to retention agreements to be expensed by GN Audio between 2019 and 2021, the company said.
At Enterprise Connect Orlando, we have a conference track focused on Video Collaboration & A/V topics, led by track chair Ira Weinstein, of Recon Research. Learn more about solutions for the huddle room in the session, “Huddle Rooms: Behind the Scenes,” scheduled for Monday, March 18 at 8:00 a.m.
If you haven’t yet registered for Enterprise Connect, coming to Orlando, Fla., March 18 to 21, it’s not too late! Register now using the code NJPOSTS to get an extra $200 off your pass!