No Jitter Roll: This Week in Enterprise Communications
Today's collection of what's hot and happening includes bites of news from Microsoft, RingCentral, Lifesize, BlueJeans, BroadSoft, and ReadyTalk.
Whew! It certainly has been a busy week in the enterprise communications world. While you might expect things to be winding down with the holiday season upon us, that's hardly the reality.
Team collaboration took center stage in the news this week, as well as at the TechCrunch Disrupt event taking place in London. There a Facebook keynoter announced the company would be evolving its Workplace team collaboration app into a full platform that supports integration. Meantime, competitor Slack shared integration news of its own, announcing that it's partnering with Google to offer integrations to their mutual customers (see "Team Collaboration Battle Intensifies over App Integration").
But team collaboration certainly wasn't the only enterprise communications-related topic in the news this week. So with that, take a few minutes to catch up on some of the other happenings worth knowing.Microsoft's LinkedIn Acquisition Nears Close
Microsoft announced its intent to acquire the dominant social network for business professionals, LinkedIn, this past June, for the hefty sum of $26.2 billion, causing many a UC watcher to examine the potential promise and implications of the merger, as No Jitter Editor Beth Schultz wrote at the time. Since then, due to antitrust concerns about the acquisition, Microsoft has been busy undergoing approval processes to close the deal, gaining approvals in the U.S., Brazil, Canada, and South Africa. This week, Microsoft gained approval from the European Union, and as Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer, wrote in a corporate blog on the decision:
"With this regulatory process behind us, we can [now] bring together two great companies and focus on even broader issues for the future."
The EU cleared the deal on the condition that Microsoft provides other professional networking sites with access to programming commands for its Office apps and cloud-computing services for a period of five years. Microsoft must also allow computer manufacturers the choice to not install the LinkedIn shortcut on desktops, as well as grant rival networks access to Microsoft Graph, as reported by The Wall Street Journal .
RingCentral Touts Cloud Growth
RingCentral announced this week that its cloud communications service, RingCentral Global Office, is now available in 30 countries and in use at nearly 400 enterprises. This more than doubles the number of customers it had in the first half of the year.
As we covered on No Jitter back in June, RingCentral spent a good amount of effort this year expanding the reach of Global Office, pushing from 12 countries at launch in February to 24 countries in July. New customers that signed on for Global Office in the second half of the year include SugarCRM, Medallia, and Motion Recruitment Partners, RingCentral said.Strides to Simplify Video Conferencing
This week we saw numerous announcements hit the wires that revolve around vendor efforts to improve and simplify video conferencing. Read on for a break-down of the news from Lifesize, BlueJeans, BroadSoft, and ReadyTalk:
- Lifesize Enhances Skype for Business Interoperability -- Millions of professionals around the world use Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business to communicate and collaborate at work. But even so, integration between video conferencing solutions and Skype for Business continues to be limited. Lifesize is taking steps toward seamless integration, this week announcing that it has enhanced its interoperability capabilities to support bi-directional calling and screen sharing between Skype for Business and the Lifesize cloud-based application. The improvements are aimed at not only simplifying cross-platform conferencing, but also making it easier to pair Skype for Business with Lifesize's HD camera and phone systems in conference rooms, Lifesize said.
"Skype for Business and other such applications allow organizations to standardize collaboration workflows," said Lifesize CEO Craig Malloy, in a prepared statement. "For users in those organizations, the best conferencing solution should complement the way they work, not hinder it."
Through interoperability between the company's solutions, Skype for Business, and third-party vendors, Lifesize is hoping to provide that complementary experience. You can view a short video showcasing the Lifesize and Skype for Business integration here.
- BlueJeans Introduces Huddle -- Cloud-based video communication services provider BlueJeans Network revealed BlueJeans Huddle, aimed at making it easier to initiate on-the-fly video meetings. The Huddle system combines standard hardware and BlueJeans proprietary software that lets users turn any room into an interactive meeting space at a lower cost compared with legacy in-room systems, BlueJeans said.
BlueJeans Huddle is geared toward eliminating the video meetings adoption hurdles with which businesses continue to struggle. Take the statistic in the press release, for example, that an average of eight to 15 minutes of every video meeting is wasted with set-up and getting participants connected. To combat this waste, Huddle automatically recognizes users, who can start video meetings simply by walking into meeting rooms outfitted with the software. The new solution is powered by the BlueJeans Enterprise Video Cloud, which supports the same user experience across desktops, mobile, and video-enabled meeting rooms.
"Huddle was designed from the ground up to remove all obstacles to live video adoption while adding features that help facilitate productivity," said BlueJeans Network CEO Krish Ramakrishnan, in a prepared statement. "The result is a system that essentially gives every employee his or her own personal assistant for each meeting and takes away the video tax."
- BroadSoft Announces One-Click Conferencing -- BroadSoft has made a lot of headlines as of late (see recent coverage, "The Big Reveal: Powered by BroadSoft " and "BroadSoft Plots a New Path to Mobile UC "). In a November No Jitter Roll edition, we covered the introduction of BroadSoft Business, which is made up of UC-One, Team-One, and CC-One applications. This week, BroadSoft announced a new solution falling under UC-One, the UC-One Conference Room, a one-click conference room system enabling enterprises to connect existing conference rooms to a UC-One virtual conference.
UC-One Conference Room works with any standard LCD screen in any conference room and the solution also includes a wideband audio and HD video conference cam, Logitech Group. This approach makes the solution 1/10 the cost of comparable telepresence systems, BroadSoft said.
"Now conferences can be started with the click of a button from our UC-One desktop and mobile apps, and service providers are now positioned to offer businesses of all sizes a multi-point solution that can be affordably and easily added to any conference room as needed," said BroadSoft CTO Scott Hoffpauir, in a prepared statement.
In other news, cloud communications solutions provider ReadyTalk, already known well for its Web, audio, and video conferencing solutions, this week unveiled its ReadyTalk Hosted Voice UC suite. The new UC offering just so happens to be powered by BroadSoft. Check back with No Jitter next week for more on ReadyTalk's latest move.
While the purpose of the No Jitter Roll is to catch you up on the news you may have missed from the week, I'd like to do my part in getting you ahead for next week. As the recent No Jitter Research: 2016 Cloud Communications Survey shows, cloud communications is on the rise. If your organization is preparing for or making a transition to cloud UC, management along the journey is one of the key factors of a successful implementation.
On Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 2:00 p.m. ET, we'll be hosting a webinar, sponsored by IR, that's perfect for any enterprise looking for practical ways to get the migration right. You'll hear from cloud UC analyst Zeus Kerravala and IR's global head of product marketing, Skip Chilcott, who will help you determine how to plan and deploy a migration; operate, troubleshoot problems, and optimize performance; and maximize usage and adoption through a focus on an optimal user experience. Register now and don't miss this opportunity to stay ahead of the game!