I hung up the phone the other day after a briefing by Jon Brinton, EVP and GM of Mitel Cloud Services, with thoughts of a storybook from my childhood, "The Little Engine That Could." I hadn't thought of this tale for years, but for some reason the little engine's "I think I can" persistence came to mind.
In some ways, Mitel is very much like that little engine that could (although I'm not sure it'd appreciate the diminutive). It's not to be put off by larger competitors, and it follows its course with determination -- Brinton says Mitel has amassed nearly two million cloud customers globally as it hits a leadership position in business cloud communications, and the company today released additional stats such as:
In recent months, Mitel's focus has been on advancing the "mobile-first, cloud-enabled, Millennial-focused" workplace via new capabilities borne out of the convergence of its cloud, enterprise communications, and mobility platforms (see related posts, Mitel Makes Big Play in Mobile Enterprise and Mitel's Mobile-First Strategy Just Might Work). And you can take the slew of real-time applications and cloud and mobile services announced today at a Mitel Next event in Berlin as evidence of how serious the company is about getting things done.
Easing Team Collaboration
For starters, Mitel does not intend to be left behind on mobile-first team collaboration. It enters the fray with MiTeam for MiCloud, a solution that supports chat, content collaboration, real-time voice and video, screen sharing, and recording within persistent virtual workstreams. Users will be able to initiate and participate in MiTeam meetings via a mobile app (initially for iOS and Android), browser plug-in, or browser link -- which extends a seamless experience to customers, partners, or other external participants, Brinton said.
Mitel is expecting MiTeam to stand out among team collaboration competitors by its ease of team building -- as well as ease of use, Brinton said. As examples of the latter, he points to the recording capability, a search function, push-pull notifications that alert team members to actions taken in real time, and device flexibility.
"Even if you join by Web browser, you're still getting the full experience," he said. "The client structure of a page might be superior, but you're not getting a deprecated level of service from a browser."
Mitel also has made a point of making sure organizations can embed MiTeam in the applications and frameworks they already work with every day. It comes with out-of-the-box integration for more than two-dozen applications, both of the general use variety -- Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive, for example -- and those more specialized for departmental use, such as GitHub, HubSpot, Jira, MailChimp, and Salesforce.com.
In addition, Mitel offers APIs or SDKs to another 200 or so applications, Brinton said. "While we want to make it socially easy to add people, we need to make sure integrating with the other apps they use is easy, too -- so MiTeam isn't another walled workspace."
Real-Time Communications in the Field
While MiTeam is aimed at smoothing the collaborative experience for knowledge and information workers, Mitel has other plans in mind for service workers, Brinton said. Here Mitel is taking a vertical play, working to embed cloud communications within applications that service workers already use in their jobs. In the first product coming from the three-month-old Mitel Accelerator, Mitel has embedded enterprise-class cloud communications and contact center capabilities into FieldAware, mobile field service-scheduling software. With real-time communications, FieldAware users should gain a better experience and be able to address operational issues more quickly.
For another vertical, healthcare, Mitel announced integration of cloud-based, mobile, and machine-to-machine technology into an eldercare solution.
Today's announcements also include capabilities that fall outside of Brinton's purview. For mobile phone users, for example, Mitel is offering a new capability called Multi ID. This allows two identities -- business and personal -- for mobile users on a single phone. And, for mobile carriers, it's offering the Mitel Mobile Cloud Suite, aimed at Tier 2 and 3 operators, allowing mobile carriers to provision hosted VoLTE, video over LTE, VoWiFi, and advanced messaging services.
Can Mitel deliver on its mobile-first, cloud-enabled, Millennial-focused mantra? It thinks it can. And I'm inclined to think so, too.
Mobility, cloud communications, team collaboration, and embedded communications all feature prominently in the conference program for Enterprise Connect 2016, coming to Orlando the week of March 7. We'll be hosting a team collaboration shootout, for example, and have created a communications API track. Won't you join us?
Register here by Friday, Feb. 12, to save an additional $200 off the early bird rate. This discount, available using the code NJPOST for those signing up for an entire event pass or Tuesday through Thursday conference pass, represents a total savings of $700 off the onsite price! As an added bonus, register three or more attendees from your company for even bigger savings.