No Jitter Roll: This Week in Enterprise Communications
With Enterprise Connect just around the corner, everybody's gearing up to showcase their latest and greatest on the exhibition floor -- no doubt including the six finalists we've just announced for the 2017 Best of Enterprise Connect Award.
With more than 50 entries, judges had their work cut out for them as they evaluated the companies and products based on technology advantage, scope, and business impact. Who are the finalists? See No Jitter Editor Beth Schultz's post detailing the top six companies and products competing in the final judging round. The winner will be announced on stage at Enterprise Connect, prior to the Wednesday, March 29 keynote. If you haven't yet registered, take advantage of this special deal: Register today using the code NOJITTER to receive $300 off an Entire Event pass or a free Expo Plus Pass.
But how will you pass the time for the next six weeks leading up to Enterprise Connect? Might I suggest regularly checking into No Jitter to keep up on all the news taking place in this space? Of course I might! And what better time than now to start getting up to speed? Here's what's been taking place this week in enterprise communications.
Mavenir Systems Makes a Return
In December, just before the holidays, Mitel announced the sale of its mobile division -- built on its acquisition of Mavenir Systems just two years prior -- to Siris Capital Group, the parent company of Xura. (See related coverage, "Mavenir, We Hardly Knew You," and "Okay, Mitel -- Now What's Your Next Move? ").
This week, Xura announced that it would be reclaiming the Mavenir name, changing its company name to Mavenir Systems following the completion of the Mitel Mobile acquisition this quarter. The new Mavenir Systems will be a combination of Xura, Ranzure Networks -- a Xura acquisition completed on Feb. 1 -- and Mitel Mobile.
"Mavenir's strong global brand reputation and proven track record of market-leading innovation across its product set made the name a natural choice for us," said Xura's CEO Pardeep Kohli in a prepared statement. As examples, he called out Mavenir's at-scale deployments of virtualization and software-defined networking to mobile core networks. And, going forward, look for the new Mavenir Systems to build out "cloud-proven networking solutions, from radio access and packet core to 5G applications and services."
Kohli, who had been CEO of Mavenir Systems in its pre-Mitel days and is co-founder and CEO of Ranzure Networks, will continue to lead the company under the reactivated Mavenir name.
Fuze Raises Funds for Cloud Expansion
Cloud-based communications provider Fuze announced this week that it raised $104 million in new funding, bringing the total to more than $300 million. The newly raised cash will go toward funding international expansion and enterprise-focused product innovation, Fuze CEO Steve Kokinos told me in a phone briefing earlier this week.
Fuze sales grew by 90% in 2016, in part due to the company's ongoing international expansion, Kokinos said. Having invested in boosting its presence and support in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific region in 2015 and 2016, today Fuze offers service in 38 countries. Moving forward into 2017, the company intends to invest in the Latin America region, he added.
Addressing rumors that Fuze is eyeing an IPO, Kokinos acknowledged an IPO would be a natural step but said he has no timeline in place for such a move. Fuze's main focus today is on building the business globally, he said.
Separately, Fuze joined close to 100 tech companies in filing opposition to U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration. The companies, which also include large players like Facebook, Microsoft, Twilio, and Uber, to name a few, oppose the order based on grounds that it would have a negative impact on business.
Twilio Makes Messaging Play
Speaking of Twilio, the API darling this week acquired Beepsend, an application-to-person (A2P) messaging provider based in Sweden. Twilio will integrate Beepsend's platform capabilities, which include SMS traffic segmentation, route monitoring, and analytics, into the "Super Network" software layer that interconnects with global telecom networks. With Beepsend, Twilio will be able to provide more messaging delivery options while adding network redundancy and resiliency, wrote Benjamin Stein, director of product and messaging at Twilio, wrote in an announcement post.
As you might recall, Twilio announced Interconnect, which as Twilio VP of product marketing Manav Khurana explained to me in a recent briefing, is what its Super Network grew out of, at Enterprise Connect 2016.
You can gain Khurana's insight at Enterprise Connect once again this year as he will be speaking on two panels: "APIs and Embedded Communications: The Wave of the Future?" and "When to Use Communications APIs - and When Not To." And, of course, don't forget about Twilio's keynote, where CEO and chairman Jeff Lawson will take the stage to share Twilio's vision.
Genband & SAP Extend RTC Partnership
In November 2015, SAP began reselling Genband's Kandy as the SAP Real-Time Communicator Web application. This week, Genband announced it is providing mobile support for its application extensions available on SAP's Hybris Extend Marketplace, an online integration marketplace for services developed by SAP Hybris partners. Now SAP customers using the SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer and SAP Hybris Commerce solutions will be able to access real-time communication functionality from their iPads while on the go -- collaborating via chat, voice, video, and screen sharing.
More than 20 new companies activated Kandy extensions for SAP Hybris in the last quarter, noted Paul Pluschkell, EVP of Genband and founder and CEO of Kandy, in a prepared statement.
Pluschkell will also take to the Enterprise Connect stage come March, joining Twilio's Khurana, Vonage's Nexmo president Tony Jamous, and Cisco Tropo's CTO Jose De Castro to discuss the future of APIs and embedded communications. Having had the opportunity to interview Pluschkell at Genband Perspectives 2016 event, I'm expecting this will be a session filled with lively debate and one you won't want to miss. Mark your calendars!
Crestron Introduces Mercury
AV technology provider Crestron this week introduced a new table-top meeting room system, called Mercury, aimed at enabling businesses to turn meeting rooms into collaboration spaces. The device enables users to present content wirelessly, through the use of built-in Crestron AirMedia technology, on a room display from a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Additionally, Mercury has built-in microphones and a speaker to allow users to initiate phone calls from mobile devices or SIP phones.
Crestron Mercury is capable of supporting any Web conferencing or UC application, including Microsoft Skype for Business, Cisco WebEx, GotoMeeting, and Slack. Further, each Mercury device has an internal occupancy sensor that can deliver room usage data to IT managers. Mercury integrates with Microsoft Exchange as well, so employees can reserve rooms directly through their calendars.
Crestron did a soft launch of Mercury this week at the Integrated Systems Europe event, with general availability slated for April 1. Crestron will demo Mercury at Enterprise Connect come March, Ted Colton, VP of UC Strategy at Crestron, told me.
Toshiba Boosts Security
Toshiba rolled out IPedge 1.7.4, the latest version of its security software for its VoIP business communications solutions. IPledge 1.7.4 adds encryption of stored voice and fax messages and enables system isolation.