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No Jitter Roll: Five for Friday

In this week’s No Jitter Roll, we share the latest on video conferencing and meeting room options, enhanced conversational AI platforms, data residency, Cisco management, and customer service monitoring and management software.
 
8x8 Goes GA with Video Meetings
Cloud communications provider 8x8 this week delivered on a promise made earlier this year to release a rearchitected video meetings solution by this quarter, while also as introducing a meeting room solution for early access.
 
8x8 built the new 8x8 Video Meetings solution (previously called just 8x8 Meetings using the open-source Jitsi technology the company acquired one year ago. The solution is designed to replace the company’s full-stack Virtual Office Meetings, although existing users will have the option to stay with the solution, 8x8 told No Jitter. This older technology runs in 8x8’s private cloud and relies on third-party video software.
 
Video Meetings features Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, and Office 365 integrations so users can set up meetings within their calendars or via the 8x8 Virtual Office app, according to the company. Users can one click to start/join meetings from any device, with WebRTC enabling browser-based guest access, 8x8 said. In addition, the offering will also allow YouTube live streams through a secure YouTube connection at no additional cost.
 
Going forward, 8x8 Video Meetings will be provisioned with the X Series or Express service solutions, 8x8 said.
 
In addition, 8x8 gave notice that it has opened an early access program for Meeting Rooms, an huddle/conference room add-on for the new video meetings software, with general availability due next quarter, the company said. It, too, will allow for one-click joins, and offers share screen capabilities and calendar integrations. The X Series cloud communication software, which includes Video Meetings, is available via a multi-tiered service plan; pricing is based on number of users.
 
Nuance Expands Integrations, Adds Intelligence
Moving over to the AI space, conversational AI provider Nuance Communications last week expanded its open cloud-based framework, Nuance Intelligent Engagement Platform, to allow for further back-end integrations and added new intelligent engagement services.
 
With the update, Nuance said it has enhanced the platform’s back-end integration capabilities to allow for use of third-party cognitive engines and data sources. For users, the update provides access to conversational building blocks via microservices and APIs, which include:
  • Conversational AI services for speech-to-text, natural language understanding, text-to-speech, and dialog management
  • Messaging services (automated or human-assisted) for customer engagements across channels
  • AI services that provide agents and supervisors with real-time information
  • Security and biometric services for fraud prevention and authentication
In addition, companies will be able to deploy the platform in Nuance’s hosted, public, or private cloud environments, the company said.
 
Data Where You Want With Slack
In a blog post last week, team collaboration platform provider Slack announced data residency for Slack users, available later this year.
 
To address compliancy and security concerns, Slack will allow its users to store their user-generated data from Slack (messages, posts, files, and search) in a desired location, by country or region. The first data region outside the U.S. will be in Frankfurt, Germany, with more regions planned, according to Slack.
 
Currently, data residency is in beta for Plus and Enterprise Grid subscribers, Slack said.
 
UnifiedFx, Stack8 Partner for Cisco Collaboration Management
Moving over to management news, Cisco telephony management software provider UnifiedFX and Cisco UC service provider Stack 8 have partnered to provide a single platform for managing Cisco Collaboration suites.
 
With the announcement, Stack8’s SMAC provisioning software, which assists with moves, adds, and changes of Cisco UC users and devices, now integrates with UnifiedFx’s PhoneFX phone endpoint management solution, Stack8 said. PhoneFX provides single phone remote control, making it suitable for help desk configurations and training scenarios, for example. In addition, UC managers will be able to launch the SMAC application directly from the PhoneFX application.
 
Nectar Launches CX Testing, Monitoring Services
In other management service news, UC monitoring and management service provider Nectar Services last week launched Nectar Customer Experience (CX) Assurance, a CX testing and monitoring service for contact centers and IVR teams.
 
Building on Nectar’s core products, CX Assurance will offer a suite of capabilities, including auto-discovery, voice recognition and simulation, dynamic call automation and load testing, according to the company. Additionally, the service can automatically notify users via email or SMS of possible issues, and it perpetually monitors for ongoing or recurring synthetic testing of availability and configuration changes, Nectar said.
 
CX Assurance works with any contact center software/system (cloud or on-prem), and the company will bring the offering to market through its existing channels, Nectar told No Jitter.