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No Jitter Roll: This Week in Enterprise Communications

If you've been reading No Jitter this week, you've likely seen there's lots going on in team collaboration right now -- Cisco launched Spark Board, an immersive whiteboard, and rumors emerged that Slack will be announcing its enterprise version next week. But that's not all, folks! Read on to see what else happened this week in team collaboration and elsewhere.

Team Collaboration Heats Up
While we will have to wait and see what comes out of Slack next week, we can share news today on the Slack integration side of things. CloudPassage Halo, an automated security platform for data centers, private clouds, and public clouds, released its Slack integration toolkit. The tool, called Don-Bot, enables Slack to be used to communicate with Halo using natural language queries. Halo then responds as if it is another Slack user. The aim is to help IT security personnel and DevOps streamline their workflows and improve efficiency.

Don-Bot connects to Slack and "listens" for mentions of its name in messages. When it finds a mention, Don-Bot connects to the CloudPassage Halo API to gather requested information, dropping a report back into the Slack channel in which the request was made. In addition to Slack integration, the CloudPassage Halo API integrates with other commonly used DevOps/agile IT technologies, including Okta, Splunk, Sumologic, Chef, and Puppet, the company stated in its press release.

In other team collaboration news, CafeX (who you might remember as a past winner of Best of Enterprise Connect or from the recent webinar on implementing desktop video -- now available to view on demand) acquired Vayyoo, which offers mobile-first virtual meeting room technology for enterprises. CafeX said it will rebrand the company's Vayyoo Rooms offering as ChimeSpaces, which supports a range of workflows, is compatible with mobile and desktop platforms, and includes a management suite for admin and reporting purposes. For real-time visual collaboration, enterprises can combine ChimeSpaces with. One of the main value propositions of the Chime product line is the ability to have real-time interactions on any browser without requiring any plugins and while optimizing network resources, CaféX said.

CafeX did not release information on how much it paid to acquire Vayyoo. Interestingly, two days after acquiring Vayyoo CafeX announced that it raised $18 million in Series C funding, money it said will go toward driving product innovation and global expansion.

In Patent News...
Speaking of innovation, Vonage and 8x8 made patent-related announcements this week. Vonage revealed that it has recently received 13 new U.S. patents, bringing the total number for 2016 to 40, a record for the company. To date, Vonage owns 146 U.S. patents, and has another 200 U.S. patents pending in addition to foreign patents.

One of the company's latest patents is for the Verify solution for Vonage's API platform, Nexmo. Verify optimizes the use of real-time identity verification across channels to help detect fraud and streamline transactions. Others are in the areas of virtual phone numbers, contextual sharing of call data, quality of service, and mobility.

"We are focused on continuously redefining communications to offer enterprises new and innovative ways for better employee and customer connections," said Vonage CEO Alan Masarek in the press release on the patent news. "These new patents reflect that commitment, providing solutions that help to increase mobility, improve flexibility, and enhance collaboration and productivity."

Separately, cloud communications provider 8x8 announced Monday that it received three new patents around innovations in seamless enterprise communications and contact center user experience. This brings 8x8's total U.S. patents to 128.

The first patent is for network address translator traversal in VoIP communication systems, specifically around a call control server algorithm enabling the selection of proxy servers for routing VoIP sessions between endpoints. The second patent is for a system allowing call control agents to intelligently select media relay servers that are geographically dispersed. The third patent related to the way in which communications systems that involve networked contact center interfaces present data to the user.

Separately, 8x8 released its Q3 FY 2017 financial results on Wednesday, reporting a 23% increase in service revenue and a 36% increase in mid-market and enterprise service revenue.

"As we prepare for our next phase of growth, we are focused on enhancing our global systems and worldwide customer support organizations to better serve the needs of our multinational customers," said 8x8 CEO Vik Verma, in the earnings release. "We are also further expanding the breadth and capabilities of our platform with a new, recently completed technology acquisition in the collaboration space that will be unveiled in March at the Enterprise Connect Conference."

If you aren't yet registered for Enterprise Connect 2017, March 27 - 30 in Orlando, register now using the code NOJITTER to receive $300 off an Entire Event pass or a free Expo Plus pass.

Analytics Moves
Earlier this week, we covered Cisco's $3.7 billion acquisition of application intelligence provider AppDynamics, a move that is aimed at boosting Cisco's analytics capabilities from the infrastructure to application layer. Audio communications provider Plantronics also made an analytics play this week, announcing an updated version of its Plantronics Manager Pro, a solution providing operational, historical, and contextual data on voice interactions and headset usage patterns.

Plantronics Manager Pro is aimed at helping both customers and channel partners use data analysis and business intelligence to inform better decision making as well as predict problems before they occur. It uses a cloud-based architecture to monitor things like device health of audio endpoints, usage dynamics, and security.

"The release of Plantronics Manager Pro v3.9 clearly demonstrates the vendor's move from a hardware manufacturer to a software-focused platform provider that is aiming to help its customers transform their entire business," said Melanie Turek, fellow and vice president at Frost & Sullivan, in a prepared statement. "Leveraging this new cloud-based solution, IT and line-of-business managers can manage devices and ensure call quality. But more importantly, they can also quickly collect and analyze broader business data to derive actionable insights about people, usage, anomalies, compliance, trends and more. It's exciting to see Plantronics move into business analytics, which has enormous potential for enabling true digital transformation."

Turek will also be providing her insight at Enterprise Connect come March. Mark your calendars for her Wed., March 29, session from 1:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., "Customer Journey Management: It Starts with Analytics."

Moving on to Mobility
Digium, provider of Asterisk software, telephony hardware, and Switchvox business phone systems, yesterday announced that its new version of its Switchvox Softphone app now supports native iOS call handling via the Apple CallKit API. This means that Switchvox Softphone calls display in the same way as native iOS calls, enabling users to answer calls through the client even on the lock-screen. The app continues to provide features in previous iterations, including status/presence indicators, visual voicemail, call logs, and in-call options like transfer, conferencing, and recording, Digium said. It is available immediately for free download through the Apples iTunes Store and requires iOS 10 as well as a subscription with Switchvox 6.3.3 or later version.

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