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No Jitter Roll: UCaaS Update, New SD-WAN Options

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This week we share announcements around UCaaS platform upgrades, team collaboration tools, CCaaS portfolio expansions, SD-WAN platform development, and SD-WAN integrations with AWS Transit Gateway Connect.
 
8x8 Enhances UCaaS Platform
8x8 this week updated its open communications platform with new capabilities, including:
  • 8x8 Work – this integrated voice, team chat, and video meetings app now offers status sync with Google and Microsoft Office 365 calendars, dark mode, and Amazon Fire OS support, available in the Amazon app store
  • 8x8 Meet – available as part of the Work app or in a standalone version, this meetings solution now provides enhanced security with end-to-end encryption for users and guests joining via browser, improved collaboration for up to 100 participants per meeting, optimization of upstream and downstream video quality, and in-meeting YouTube video sharing
Additionally, 8x8 has expanded its global reach, with general availability of 8x8 Voice for Microsoft Teams for users based in 42 countries, well as availability of the X Series for organizations headquartered in Ireland.
 
For administrators, 8x8 now offers integration with Microsoft Azure Directory, the ability to customized video backgrounds with company branding, role-based access controls, detailed meetings analytics, scheduling and API options, and navigation and display improvements.
 
Crestron Adds Teams to Control Panels
Workplace technology provider Crestron this week unveiled its 70 Series room scheduling panels integrated with Microsoft Teams so that in-office workers can manage and monitor room availability and capacity using Microsoft Exchange and the Teams Admin Center.
 
From a panel mounted outside a meeting room, users can book meetings, see room utilization without entering, and find alternative open meeting spaces. For improved safety of meeting spaces, the panel can display real-time room sensor data on occupancy, availability, and cleaning status. The panel also will automatically release the space if no one arrives for a scheduled meeting, Crestron added.
 
Crestron 70 Series Scheduling Panels are available in 7-inch and 10-in. sizes, with black or white finishes. The Teams integration will be available via a firmware upgrade in Q1 2021, Crestron said.
 
Twilio Expands WhatsApp Partnership
Twilio this week expanded its partnership with WhatsApp, integrating with the messaging app provider’s onboarding beta so that Twilio developers will be able to deploy WhatsApp with no delays, Twilio said.
 
In addition to streamlining the onboarding process, Twilio is enabling developers to use WhatsApp to send notification requests with the Programmable Messaging API or conduct cross-channel conversations with the Conversations API. Developers can launch the app with chatbot templates available in Twilio Studio or Twilio CLI and track message template approvals, delivery, and read status, Twilio added.
 
As part of this collaboration, Twilio is adjusting its internal WhatsApp team to include specialists that support global conversational messaging applications for markets including Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, and South Africa. For a limited time, Twilio is offering a free trial of WhatsApp with 90 days of free messaging.
 
Verizon Business Adds Silver Peak to SD-WAN Portfolio
Verizon Business this week expanded its managed SD-WAN services portfolio with the addition of the Unity EdgeConnect platform from Silver Peak, recently acquired by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. The integration combines the Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN technology with Verizon Business’s advanced cloud control, centrally orchestrated and automated service assurance, and management, Verizon Business added.
 
Cisco, Versa Networks Integrate with AWS for SD-WAN Connectivity
Two SD-WAN providers, Cisco and Versa Networks, have announced integrations with AWS Transit Gateway Connect, a new feature AWS introduced this week to simplify branch connectivity. AWS Transit Gateway Connect supports native integration of SD-WAN appliances into AWS, allowing for speedy, secure, high-performance cloud connections.
 
Cisco has integrated its SD-WAN Cloud OnRamp with AWS Transit Gateway Connect, while Versa has integrated its SD-WAN Secure offering.

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