No Jitter Roll: This Week in Enterprise Communications
This week's collection of what's hot and happening includes Microsoft investment news, Avaya's networking play, Altocloud's Salesforce integration, AT&T's SD-WAN strategy, and Genband's patent trials.
With Microsoft Ignite taking place last week and Salesforce's Dreamforce and Genesys' G-Force conferences this week, we've seen lots of activity in the enterprise communications space of late. (Stay tuned for more coverage from those events next week.) But speaking more broadly, one of the biggest developments occurring at this time is the rise of software communications. In fact, according to Frost & Sullivan data, while only 5% of global businesses used software communications in 2006, today that percentage is at nearly 40%.
"The huge increase in penetration is due to a perfect storm of consumerization, user adaptability to software-based communications, cloud, software maturity, and the proliferation of vendor offerings," wrote Mohamed Alaa Saayed for Frost & Sullivan's digital transformation blog. He concluded, "Emerging technologies are considerably reshaping the way organizations and business users communicate."
Let's take a look at some news items from this week that are sure to get you thinking about how this "perfect storm" is reshaping both the here-and-now and the future outlook of communications for your business.Microsoft Invests in Messaging API Vendor
Although Microsoft's annual Ignite conference has concluded, that doesn't stop this tech giant from rolling out the news. (See last week's No Jitter Roll for a round-up of Ignite news.) Earlier this week, Nagraj Kashyap, corporate VP of Microsoft Ventures, shared a progress report on the company's investment fund program, which debuted in late May. Since then, Microsoft Ventures has made 13 investments in entrepreneurs in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Tel Aviv, he wrote in an Official Microsoft Blog post.
Among the more notable investments are Rescale in the cloud infrastructure space, and three productivity and communications companies: Comfy, Layer, and Kahoot (in the education sector), Kashyap wrote. Perhaps of most interest in our enterprise communications space is Microsoft's investment in Layer, which is a communications startup that develops UI kits, SDKs, and APIs for messaging. According to tech blog MSPowerUser.com, with Layer, "a developer can integrate messaging experiences inside their app without much work." Layer reports that it already has more than 400 paying customers and handles millions of messages daily.Avaya Makes Cloud Networking Platform Play
There is much speculation these days around Avaya's future, with reports coming out in May that the company is exploring an asset sale. As No Jitter Editor Beth Schultz wrote in a September post, "Avaya Angst Must Come to an End," one common suggestion for how Avaya might right itself is by offloading its networking business. Whether or not that ultimately comes to be, Avaya this week showed continued investment in networking with the introduction of a lifecycle management solution for wired and wireless networks.
At London's IP Expo event, Avaya unveiled the Cloud Networking Platform, which it described as a "complete network lifecycle management solution for enterprise and mid-size businesses" in the press release. Avaya touted features such as zero-touch activation of networking hardware and simplified license management, robust security, guaranteed service availability with data center redundancy and data replication, and massive scalability.
To support this move, Avaya cited industry analysts who noted that cloud-managed Wi-Fi is growing twice as fast as Wi-Fi deployments.
"Our customers['] IT resources are stretched and increasingly they look to cloud managed solutions as a means to mitigate the strain," Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research and regular No Jitter contributor, is quoted saying in the release. "Avaya's new Cloud Networking Platform enables them to improve their operational agility and efficiency by simplifying the tasks required for the ongoing management of their network."Altocloud Integrates with Salesforce Lightning
Salesforce's annual Dreamforce conference wraps up today, leaving a good deal of customer experience-focused news in its wake. While some announcements aren't so relevant to our space -- like those from Figo, a cloud-based pet insurance provider -- others, like that from digital customer engagement company Altocloud, may be of interest to No Jitter readers.
With the Altocloud integration, Salesforce Lightning users will benefit from a real-time view of the customer journey from within a Salesforce customer record, as well as historical context of each customer interaction. In addition, with Altocloud's predictive algorithms, Salesforce users will get outcome probabilities that predict what prospects will do next.AT&T Lays Out Plan for SD-WAN
Using VeloCloud SD-WAN technology , AT&T announced plans to deliver an SD-WAN portfolio, which will include a network-based solution combining hybrid networking with multiple network access types. AT&T's SD-WAN service is slated for general availability in 2017.
"This is part of AT&T's strategy to incorporate software-centric technologies into our integrated solutions that deliver flexibility and agility for enterprises on a global basis," AT&T stated in the release. "These capabilities are changing how our customers manage their networks, letting them mix and match based on application, performance and reliability needs. The first integrated offer was software-defined networking, second was network-function virtualization and third is hybrid SD-WAN."Genband Calls in the Patent Lawyers
On the legal front, you may or may not know that real-time communications provider Genband has been engaged in a patent-infringement battles with network software provider Metaswitch. This week, Genband revealed that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas found Metaswitch did infringe on seven Genband patents covering a range of VoIP technology. The court ordered Metaswitch to pay $8.1 million to Genband for patent infringement that took place between the start of the lawsuit in January 2014 through August 2015, which is the last date Metaswitch disclosed its revenues before the trial. Further, Genband will receive additional damages for Metaswitch sales that that have taken place since August 2015 and that fall under the patent infringement. In the release, Genband said it intends to seek additional damages because Metaswitch continues to "willfully" infringe on Genband's patents, and to appeal the court's decision to deny a related injunction it had requested against Metaswitch.
But the story doesn't end there. In a second case, Metaswitch claimed Genband infringed on six of its patents, but the jury did not find fault with Genband and invalidated three of Metaswitch's patents, Genband reported. A third case is set for trial in January 2017 to deal with Genband's claim that Metaswitch "misappropriated Genband's trade secrets as part of a widespread, management-led campaign to obtain and exploit Genband's valuable trade secret information."
Speaking about the legal issues, Genband CEO David Walsh said in an official statement, "Genband is proud of its many innovations in Voice-Over-IP technology, and remains committed to stop others from using Genband's innovations unfairly to compete with Genband in the marketplace."