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No Jitter Roll: Five for Friday

This week’s collection of news snippets ventures into video room system, team collaboration, real-time transcription, and software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technologies.
 
Pexip Incentivizes Use of Microsoft Video Room Systems
Pexip, in conjunction with Microsoft, last week announced video interoperability services aimed at getting ahead of interoperability pain points for organizations that would like to add Microsoft Teams Rooms and Surface Hub 2 systems to their video estates.
 
Free for the first year of usage, the new Cloud Video Interop (CVI) services are meant to “lower the barrier of entry for companies that have legacy systems and want to modernize their meeting experiences with Microsoft,” said Tom-Erik Lia, chief commercial officer at Pexip, via email. Lia valued this CVI offer at $5,000 for two connections for one year.
 
CVI for Microsoft Teams enables SIP and H.323 video conferencing systems to join Teams meetings with full video, audio, and content sharing capabilities, ensuring a native workflow regardless of how participants join the meeting, Lia said. Pexip offers CVI in the as-a-service deployment model or a self-hosted model for enterprises that want to be in control of their infrastructure, he added.
 
“In the enterprise communications world, a simple and streamlined workflow is required in order to foster widespread user adoption,” said Ira Weinstein, founder of analyst firm Recon Research, in a prepared statement. “Solutions like Pexip’s Cloud Video Interop provide interoperability between key communication systems and services, without forcing users to change how they work, and without the hassle and expense of deploying additional technology.”
 
The CVI offer is available directly from Pexip and partners including AVI-SPL, Whitlock, AVI Systems, Yorktel, and Kinly, Lia said.
 
Workplace by Facebook Updates Plans & Pricing
In a company blog, Workplace by Facebook took the wraps off a trio of new plans plus an add-on targeted at frontline workers.
 
The first new plan, Workplace Essential, will provide a full range of communication and collaboration capabilities, including Workplace Chat, Video Chat, and groups. This plan, due for delivery next year, will be available at no cost, wrote Julien Codorniou, vice president of Workplace by Facebook.
 
Workplace Advanced, the second new plan, will include the full range of communication and collaboration capabilities plus advanced administrative controls. This plan will be available in September, charged at a rate of $4 per person, per month, he wrote.
 
More advanced yet, the third new plan, called Workplace Enterprise, is targeted at organizations dealing with a lot of complexity – size or industry related – and need more support than provided in the Advanced plan, Codorniou wrote. The Enterprise plan one-ups the Advanced plan with the addition of a service-level agreement specifying four-hour initial support response time and priority support resolution, as well as guaranteed early access to new features. This plan, also due in September, will cost $8 per person, per month, he said.
 
The Advanced and Enterprise plans will also offer use of a new Workplace Frontline add-on, targeted at frontline workers. Conditional access controls available with the add-on will provide admins the ability to manage employee access outside of working hours, Codorniou wrote. The Frontline add-on will cost $1.50 per user, per month.
 
The per-user monthly pricing reflects the company’s recognition of customer feedback around cost predictability, Codorniou wrote. Previously, it had priced Workplace using a monthly active user model.
 
Otter.ai Cozies Up with Dropbox
Real-time transcription startup Otter.ai this week shared the news that it has gained a new partner in widely used cloud document collaboration provider, Dropbox.
 
With the Otter Voice Meeting Notes integration, Dropbox users will be able to upload files such as interviews, video footage, or meeting recordings for automatic transcriptions saved back to the same folder “in minutes,” said Simon Lau, vice president of product at Otter.ai., in the press release.
 
Otter.ai, which already offers an integration with video conferencing services from Zoom Video Communications, has received kudos for its artificial intelligence-powered Voice Meeting Notes solution from a variety of industry watchers, including Zeus Kerravala, of ZK Research, and Jon Arnold, of J Arnold & Associates, writing from No Jitter here and here. As Kerravala wrote, “AI mania has hit the communications industry in a big way, with many vendors providing a ‘pie in the sky’ vision of what it might do. Otter is an actual AI tool that works today. … it’s not 100% perfect, but it’s good enough to anyone who, like me, attends a steady stream of meetings, conferences, and interviews.”
 
Otter.ai supports the Dropbox integration for both its teams and premium licenses. The integration is available immediately.
 
Microsoft Has Aryaka on Tap
SD-WAN provider Aryaka this week announced its selection as one of the first partners in Microsoft’s new Azure Networking Managed Service Provider (MSP) Partner Program as well as a new offering stemming from the partnership.
 
As Microsoft describes in an article about this partner program, Azure Networking MSPs “are a specialized set of managed service providers that address the enterprise cloud networking needs and challenges across all aspects of cloud and hybrid networking.” Network architecture, planning, deployment, operations, maintenance, and optimization services fall under this program.
 
 
Aryaka will be leveraging the Azure Networking Services Virtual WAN in combination with its SD-WAN technology for an offering that will provide optimized architecture, simplified branch connectivity to Azure, plus a faster response to service activation and change, Shashi Kiran, CMO of Aryaka, said in a prepared statement. In addition to the SD-WAN connection, Aryaka will be monitoring the Azure virtual WAN and providing customers an integrated view into their managed WAN via the MyAryaka portal.
 
One mutual customer, Stan Yarbrough, senior global IT architect at Element Solutions, shared confidence in the partnership. “Our goal is to become 100 percent cloud, and there are two partners helping us get there: Microsoft and Aryaka,” he said in a prepared statement. “We’re excited to see the two companies come together to provide an end-to-end management solution for our network. Now that Aryaka handles our entire wide area network all the way into Azure, our lean and mean IT team can focus on other business priorities.”
 
FatPipe Partners with RingCentral
Elsewhere in SD-WAN, FatPipe Networks last week announced that, having passed its mean opinion score muster, RingCentral is now using FatPipe’s SD-WAN technology to help boost performance for its UCaaS offering.
 
In particular, RingCentral will be looking to the FatPipe technology to “assist [enterprises] in managing jitter and latency to ensure customers get the best communications experience,” shared Curtis Peterson, RingCentral's senior vice president of cloud operations, in a prepared statement.
 
FatPipe is available as a virtual machine (VM) for RingCentral customers to license in Amazon Web Services. The FatPipe VM will run alongside RingCentral’s hosted services.