Michelle Burbick
Michelle Burbick is the Associate Editor and a blogger for No Jitter, UBM Tech's online community for news and analysis...
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Michelle Burbick | October 28, 2016 |


No Jitter Roll: This Week in Enterprise Communications

No Jitter Roll: This Week in Enterprise Communications Today's collection of what's hot and happening includes a myriad of news from Nextiva, Google, Level 3 & CenturyLink, Slack & MailClark, ALE, Fonality, Masergy, and collab9.

Today's collection of what's hot and happening includes a myriad of news from Nextiva, Google, Level 3 & CenturyLink, Slack & MailClark, ALE, Fonality, Masergy, and collab9.

As No Jitter readers are well aware, enterprise communications and collaboration technology is a vital component of business success (a topic we'll be exploring in depth at Enterprise Connect Orlando, of course!). Survey results released this week from cloud-based communications and collaboration provider Nextiva bare this out, showing that the state of an organization's communications significantly impacts its bottom line, ability to meet goals, and retain talent.

In the survey, 63% of 119 business professionals surveyed indicated they have experienced communications-related issues with customers and colleagues that have kept them from achieving business goals -- on at least a weekly basis. One-quarter of the respondents said communications issues led to lost customers, and 13% said they led to lost co-workers.

All the more reason to stay up to speed on all the latest happenings in enterprise communications technology and industry trends, so you can ensure you're getting the best of what's available for your enterprise's unique needs. So here are some of the news bits to cross my desk this week. Read on, enterprise communications enthusiasts, read on!

Introducing Google's Jamboard

Google is taking a high-tech productivity aimed swing at the white board of old, the "last relic of bad meetings," as we learned in a recent post from Irwin Lazar, Nermertes research VP and service director and regular No Jitter contributor. Earlier this week, TJ Varghese, product manager for G Suite, wrote in a Google blog that the team has been on a mission to redefine meetings, announcing Jamboard, its collaborative, digital whiteboard for real-time sharing among teams. "We're moving the whiteboard to the cloud," he wrote.

Jamboard is a 55-inch 4K display with touchscreen capabilities, a built-in HD camera, speakers, and Wi-Fi connectivity. It will bring in the productivity tools of G Suite with Web search and meetings, and can be accessed directly from the on-board screen or remotely via companion smartphone and tablet apps. Google worked with G Suite customers like Netflix and Spotify to refine its mix of hardware and software for this solution, Varghese wrote. Also of note is Google's partnership with BenQ, international provider of visual display solutions, to "tap into its network of channels and resellers to help bring Jamboard to market."

Jamboard is due for general availability in 2017, and will be priced at $6,000. Enterprise G Suite customers anxious to give it a whirl can sign up to be a part of an Early Adopter Program.

Rumor: Level 3, CenturyLink Exploring Merger

The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that CenturyLink and Level 3 Communications are discussing a merger, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. Should the merger come to fruition, it would create an enterprise communications entity worth more than $50 billion, including debt, Reuters reported.

"The deal comes as both companies' corporate clients seek more bandwidth and faster capabilities to move data to run their businesses," wrote Reuters reporters Liana B. Baker and Greg Roumeliotis. "It would combine Level 3's enterprise services with CenturyLink's network that provides Internet and telephone offerings to millions of customers."

Following the Wall Street Journal report, CenturyLink shares jumped by more than 9% Thursday, CNBC reported.

MailClark Aims to Bridge Email-Slack Divide

While I wrote about Slack's and IBM's new partnership yesterday in "Cognitive for Everyone: IBM's Open Approach to Watson," today I'll share more news on the Slack front. A new Slack bot came out of beta this week, MailClark, which is aimed at closing the gap between email and Slack. The MailClark bot sits between email and Slack, and lets users of both send messages to each other in the same way they would send within their chosen medium.

Companies assign an email address to a Slack channel -- i.e., #support could get the email [email protected] -- so then when someone sends an email to this address, MailClark converts it into a Slack-native message. When someone replies to that email by sending a Slack message, MailClark converts the reply back to email.

"I've heard people say that Slack, or some other group chat app, will be an 'email killer,' and that's just not realistic," said Anthony Bleton-Martin, MailClark co-founder and CEO, in a prepared statement. "It's not that email is too big to fail, but that it's still a great tool for a lot of purposes, like most kinds of external communications. We're here so that both sides can get along, and get the best of both worlds."

Morgan State University Chooses ALE

In last week's No Jitter Roll, I touched on Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise's cloud adoption pursuits with its OpenTouch Enterprise Cloud solution. This week, more news is coming out of this corner of the enterprise communications space, with the announcement that Morgan State University has selected ALE with channel partner Magothy Technology to deploy its next-generation network for voice and data across its campus. Located on 143 acres in Baltimore Morgan State University must support the academic efforts of nearly 8,000 students across a diversity of programs. With its 150-year anniversary approaching, the institution is revamping its network with next-generation technology for Internet access, mobility, and security on campus, ALE reported in a press release.

Specifically, the OmniSwitch dual-core routed LAN network boosted capacity from 2 Gbps to 80 Gbps, and the OmniPCX Enterprise will support VoIP and other real-time communications. "The new network enables the expansion of online courses and degrees, providing more flexibility for the students and increased enrollment and associated tuition for the University," ALE stated.

Fonality Enhances Its Heads Up Display

Business communications provider Fonality announced this week six new features to its Heads Up Display (HUD) platform. Users now have an unanswered queue call transfer capability for forwarding calls that have been waiting too long and a warm transfer capability that enables the transferring party to let the recipient know who is calling about what first, before the call is transferred.

Additionally, users can now download voicemails and on-demand recordings from a tab within the HUD console. Audio and voicemail controls are now inline so that users have options to play, call, delete, and mark as read/unread within each item. Fonality has also added a notification counter for missed chats, calls and voicemails to the browser tab icon, and simplified file sharing. Users can now share files by hovering their mouse over an avatar and clicking "share file."

The team at Fonality also released a Google-conducted survey about work productivity and lost time due to communications challenges. Worth noting is the finding that as much as 75% of wasted time at work can be recovered by implementing a cloud-based UC platform. Check out the full survey results here.

Berkshire Partners Acquires Masergy

Earlier this week, private investment firm Berkshire Partners announced it would acquire a majority interest in Masergy Communications, a name you most of our readers are familiar with from past No Jitter Rolls and other site coverage (see also, "Masergy Adds WebRTC to UCaaS Array " and "Customer Engagement: Get it by the Drink or the Gulp "). Masergy has spent the last five years owned by Abry Partners, so this acquisition sees the transfer of the company from one private equity firm to another.

"Given the accelerating rate of change across the information technology landscape, there are significant opportunities for Masergy to continue its impressive growth and this is a team, company and culture that we are excited to invest behind," said Tom Kuo, managing director at Berkshire Partners, in a prepared statement.

Collab9 Takes On State of Utah

UCaaS provider collab9 announced this week that it has received the state of Utah's NASPO ValuePoint Cloud Solutions contract, which, in short, allows it and its authorized VARs to sell its FedRAMP authorized, Cisco-powered UC cloud service to participating U.S. states. As the release stated, collab9's FedRAMP Moderate Authorization means that the company's services have been found to meet the stringent security requirements of the federal government. To learn more about NASPO ValuePoint, the 10-year cloud solutions contract, and thoughts collab9 CEO Kevin Schatzle, read the full release here.

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