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No Jitter Roll: This Week in Enterprise Communications

With news breaking this week that Avaya has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, you're likely reading a lot about the company and speculation around its future, such as in the posts "Avaya Keeps Crown Jewel, Contact Center" and "Avaya's Six Billion Dollar Plan".

As big as this news is, don't let all the chatter keep you from staying in the know on other happenings in the enterprise communications space. After a brief hiatus for the holiday season, the No Jitter Roll is back to get you caught up on news you might have missed.

Team Collab Heats Up
Team collaboration is a hot, fast-moving area (that's why we have the all-new Next-Gen Messaging & Team Collaboration track at Enterprise Connect Orlando 2017!), and the development keep coming. This week Slack introduced Threads, or threaded messaging, aimed at making it easier for users to "follow and manage the variety of conversations happening in Slack," the company explained in an official blog post. Users will now be able to start their own threads to go deeper on certain topics, participate in ongoing threads, loop people into ongoing conversations, post thread replies to the wider Slack channel, and manage threaded conversations through a sidebar.

"Threads are particularly useful when you want to contain discussions around specific topics in one place," Slack said. "This includes asking (and answering) detailed questions, and posting updates to earlier messages."

Slack is rolling out the Threads feature in the coming days, making it available on the latest versions of its desktop and mobile apps.

In other team collaboration news, earlier this month Slack competitor Atlassian acquired project workflow company Trello for $425 million. Trello has more than 19 million registered users, according to the press materials on the acquisition.

With the acquisition, Atlassian said it aims to enhance its position in the team collaboration market, adding a new service to its portfolio that already includes Jira for project tracking, Confluence for shared workspaces, and, of course, HipChat for group messaging. While an Atlassian blog post primarily discussed integrating Trello with Jira and Confluence, a company spokesperson said integrations are likely between Trello and HipChat, too.

"Trello will become an important part of the Atlassian portfolio, offering a fun new way for teams to organize the often messy range of information that feeds into great teamwork," Atlassian wrote in its blog post. "Its card system is intuitive, easy to use, and instantly familiar, which has made it extremely popular with teams across marketing, legal, HR, sales and beyond."

Not mentioning Cisco Spark, one of the earliest team collaboration tools, is difficult to do when talking about market developments these days. For months now, Cisco has been building up hype around a Spark launch event taking place Tuesday, Jan. 24, in San Francisco. No Jitter will be there, so be sure to check back in next week for the latest news coming out of Cisco's Collaboration business.

Moves on the SD-WAN Front
On the network side of things, SD-WAN is gaining steam (don't miss the Enterprise Connect 2017 session on this topic, "SD-WAN: Why It's the Right Fit for the Cloud Era "). While we've had plenty of thought leadership content on No Jitter about SD-WAN, including pieces on the technology's role in the contact center and how to decide if SD-WAN is right for your organization, news in this area continues to hit the wire as well.

One such company making SD-WAN waves is Masergy. In a September No Jitter Roll, we covered Masergy's introduction of its managed SD-WAN solution. This week, Masergy announced that Netherlands-based Huisman, a manufacturer of heavy construction equipment, has selected its hybrid WAN solution and Software Defined Platform to connect and provide a consistent user experience across its global locations.

In other SD-WAN news, network communications provider Windstream announced this week its SD-WAN solution, which is available immediately to customers in its national service area. The benefits of its solution include simplified network management through the convergence of applications onto the same IP backbone, improved efficiency and resiliency through traffic prioritization capabilities, enhanced security with an abstracted network overlay and encryption, and the ability to more easily scale the solution with standardized provisioning, Windstream said.

Windstream SD-WAN is powered by VeloCloud, which already provides SD-WAN technology for AT&T, Sprint, and Mitel SD-WAN services. In fact, last week VeloCloud reported 2016 was a record year. VeloCloud gave this snapshot: Sales were eight times higher in 2016 than in 2015, with 600 wins. In addition, it has deployed its SD-WAN technology at 50,000 sites, expanded its channel partner program to 130 registered partners globally, and grew its workforce by more than 50%.

From SD-WAN to Conferencing and the Cloud
Another name we've talked about recently in the SD-WAN space is Citrix, which made several enhancements to its NetScaler SD-WAN platform in October. The company recently released a case study showing how The Tile Shop, a 120-store ceramic tile retailer, leveraged Netscaler SD-WAN and Citrix XenDesktop to deliver an immersive digital shopping experience for its customers.

But Citrix isn't only known for its SD-WAN solutions, of course; its GoToMeeting video conferencing solution is often sighted on many an enterprise user's desktop. And last week, Citrix made an addition to its GoTo product portfolio, unveiling GoToConference, an out-of-the-box video conferencing solution that combines in-room hardware with GoToMeeting video conferencing in a single solution with the aim of simplifying how users set up, join, and manage meetings, the press materials stated.

Interestingly, as shown in the graphic below, Citrix's story doesn't end there. Cloud data from Synergy Research Group (SRG) shows strong growth for Citrix and Cisco in the UCaaS market for the four quarters ended Sept. 30, 2016. While UCaaS is in many ways a different type of market than the other segments listed below, it "is also growing steadily and driving some radical changes in business communications," SRG noted.
"We tagged 2015 as the year when cloud became mainstream and I'd say that 2016 is the year that cloud started to dominate many IT market segments," said Jeremy Duke, SRG's founder and chief analyst, in a prepared statement. "Major barriers to cloud adoption are now almost a thing of the past, especially on the public cloud side. Cloud technologies are now generating massive revenues for technology vendors and cloud service providers and yet there are still many years of strong growth ahead."



Let's Chat RTC Re: SIP and SBCs
Amid all the news of emerging technologies, we can't forget about mainstay technologies like SIP trunking and session border controllers (SBCs). (And should you find SIP trunking a boring subject matter, take a quick read of No Jitter contributor Andrew Prokop's article, "Taking the Boredom Out of SIP Trunks," and you might just change your mind.)

In this arena, Toshiba recently launched its SIP Trunking I-VoIP Service promotion, offering savings for new and existing customers of its IPedge and Strata CIX on-site VoIP business communications solutions through the end of Q1. The SIP Trunking I-VoIP Service allows customers to leverage existing broadband access connections to carry voice calls between Toshiba business phone systems and the PSTN.

In other SBC news, cloud communications provider Sonus Networks this week introduced the SBC 5400, aimed at increasing deployment flexibility and meeting real-time communications demands. This SBC provides up to 75,000 anchored media sessions and up to 40,000 transcoded sessions, additionally providing easy migration to 10 Gbps networks, the press materials stated. In addition, the SBC 5400 acts as a real-time SIP firewall.

Working Together
Last week, Comcast Business announced it now provides its enterprise customers with private links, of up to 10 Gbps, to the Microsoft Azure cloud and Office 365, and Dynamics 365 cloud services.

This private connectivity comes out of Comcast Business's joining of the Microsoft ExpressRoute partner program, enabling its more than one million Ethernet-enabled buildings in the U.S. access to the Azure ExpressRoute service. This is a "key part" of the company's initiative to provide "private, secure access to cloud providers for increased options and flexibility as they build out and customize their hybrid architectures," said Jeff Lewis, VP of data services at Comcast Business, in a prepared statement.

In other partnership news, this week call attribution technology company DialogTech announced a partnership with contact center company Genesys. The partnership is aimed at helping business customers improve customer acquisition by aligning their marketing initiatives with call center activity. The integration will bring caller profile (which includes name, phone number, and location) and call attribution data (which includes channel, ad, search keyword, and Web page that generated the call) into Genesys.

Genesys will take this data and determine how to best route the call, generating a screen pop to the designated agent's desktop that shows all the information. Following the interaction, in-call data from Genesys will pass back to DialogTech's platform, where marketers can perform analytics to better understand the value of its media spend, campaigns, and websites in terms of customer acquisition opportunities and revenue.

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