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No Jitter Roll: This Week in Enterprise Communications

A lot in the enterprise communication and collaboration space is "hot and happening" right now, but some of our recent content has received considerable attention -- namely, our news and perspective around Slack's enterprise launch this week (see "Slack No Longer Brushing Off the Enterprise," "Slack Goes Enterprise: What IT Execs Need to Know," and this Slack vs. Microsoft Teams infographic) and our ongoing coverage of Avaya's bankruptcy, including the latest post, "Avaya Users: Time to Build Your Contingency Plans".

Bankruptcy or not, Avaya likely be enjoying itself this weekend when Super Bowl LI -- the biggest U.S. sporting event -- kicks off. For the eighth year running, Avaya and partner WBL Services will power communications among players, coaches, and analysts on and off the field.

This year's Super Bowl, taking place at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, will see the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons go head-to-head. In preparation for the big game, more than 70 engineers and installers laid 250,000 feet of cable and six miles of fiber around NRG Stadium to enable connectivity for roughly 4,500 Ethernet endpoints and 1,300 Avaya Aura-supported phones. The system overlay supports service in and around the 1.9 million-square-foot sports complex.

Avaya Aura is the communication software running behind the scenes for the event. Additionally, the Falcons and Patriots will each leverage the Avaya IP Office Platform at their hotels for pre-game and game-day communications.

Avaya's flexible, mobile communications technologies dovetail nicely with the world of live sports and entertainment, said David Chavez, vice president, CTO Architecture & Consulting, Avaya, in a prepared statement. "Our presence in the sporting arena is stronger than ever, with 72 stadium deployments worldwide. Our goal is to help drive the ultimate fan engagement experience and seamless connectivity for teams in their most crucial moments."

As you're Googling and pinning your snack recipes for this weekend's big game, take a break and catch up on what else you may have missed this week in enterprise communications.

What's Next for Wi-Fi: Aerohive Connect

On Tuesday, Aerohive Networks introduced Aerohive Connect, a cloud-delivered enterprise connectivity and centralized management solution built on the company's Cooperative Control Wi-Fi architecture. The solution, available at a starting price of $229 per access point, aims to allow organizations to grow their networks as needed, simplify network operations, and upgrade features and functionality as their needs evolve. Additionally, the company announced an enterprise-grade 802.11ac access point, the AP122, available immediately.

Connect includes the same access point technology used throughout the company's portfolio, Abby Strong, Aerohive director of product marketing, told me in a briefing. Users also get access to HiveManager Connect, which is a simplified version of the company's network management tool.

"Aerohive is trying disrupt the market with its new Connect offering," said Zeus Kerravala, UC analyst. "Typically customers have to choose between high-cost, enterprise-class solutions and low-cost products with basic feature sets. Aerohive's new pricing model lets customers deploy a low-cost Wi-Fi solution that provides basic connectivity and then upgrade to a more robust feature set when the business needs it, with just a license key," he explained.

Not only will the new pricing model enable Aerohive to be more competitive at the low end, but also give it entry to "deals with enterprise customers that may not have considered them before," Kerravala added.

Strong will lend her Wi-Fi expertise to attendees at Enterprise Connect Orlando, March 27-30, participating in the panel discussion around "What's Next for Wi-Fi." If you haven't yet registered for Enterprise Connect, sign up now using the code NOJITTER to receive $300 off an Entire Event pass or a free Expo Plus pass.

Microsoft and Smartsheet

Cloud work management and collaboration tool Smartsheet yesterday announced that its Microsoft Office 365 integration now includes support for Skype for Business Online, an add-in for Microsoft Outlook on iOS, and the ability for users to sign into Smartsheet Mobile through Microsoft Azure Active Directory.

With these enhancements, users are able to initiate Skype for Business conversations from within Smartsheet; the messages save to Smartsheet as a series of comments, allowing users to put project status notes in context. Via the Outlook on iOS add-in, information from new tasks created in the add-in gets pulled into Smartsheet from email. Finally, the integration with Active Directory provides single sign-on access.

ATIS and SIP Forum Combat Robocalling

The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) has teamed up with the SIP Forum, an IP communications industry association, to tackle the issue of unwanted robocalling and caller ID fraud. This week the pair announced the publication of the SHAKEN, or "Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs," specification for implementing the IETF's STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited) standard. SHAKEN verifies the calling number and then specifies how it will be transported in SIP. In other words, when taken together, STIR and SHAKEN can provide verified information about the calling party and call origin.

"Today's solutions for blocking unwanted calls depend on caller ID, which can be easily spoofed leaving consumers inherently vulnerable," said ATIS president and CEO Susan Miller, in a prepared statement. "STIR/SHAKEN verifies calling party information, creating a solid foundation for existing and future call-blocking applications. Unwanted robocalling is the FCC's leading cause of consumer complaints. This ATIS specification not only mitigates the problem but also assists law enforcement in finding the source of unwanted calls."

On the Real-Time Front

The WebRTC chatter is back this week! If you haven't already, read UC consultant Phil Edholm's article on Microsoft's announcement that it is adding WebRTC 1.0 support to its Edge browser.

In other real-time communications news, Wildix, a multinational company providing browser-based UC and VoIP solutions, this week announced the U.S. launch of its first fully WebRTC video voice phone. And Dialogic, cloud infrastructure and application provider, revealed that its PowerVille LB, a load balancer solution for real-time communications, is now compliant with Avaya Aura Session Manager 7.0. The goal here is to help businesses scale and enhance the reliability of Session Manager implementations with active/active and active/standby configurations, Dialogic summarized in a February newsletter.

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