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Verizon Strengthens Ties as Cisco Hosting Partner

Fresh from earning a 2015 Cisco Collaboration Partner Award for being a hosted cloud partner "warrior," Verizon Enterprise Solutions last week strengthened that relationship with the release of a trio of Cisco-based hosted cloud collaboration services.

Improving workplace productivity is Verizon's goal, delivered up via a customizable "office-in-the-cloud" solution. The experience using the cloud services has to be simple, convenient, and seamless for users, said Frank Ciccone, head of Verizon Enterprise Solution's Global Advanced Communications Practice.

"You get the best adoption when you start with the user experience... and when everything is all interconnected," he said.

By building on top of Cisco's Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) platform and tapping into Verizon's networking, mobility, traffic management, and security expertise, the new collaboration suite helps to deliver that interconnectivity and seamless user experience, Ciccone said.

To boost the conferencing experience, Verizon is now offering Cloud Connected Audio and Collaboration Meeting Rooms, both based on Cisco's WebEx conferencing capabilities. Cloud Connected Audio allows internal and external users to connect into conferences via an audio bridge from devices of their choosing. The service is available in 150 countries and 2,700 cities, Verizon said.

Available from the same global footprint, Collaboration Meeting Rooms provides one-click collaboration resources on demand, including the ability to launch and join meetings from within Cisco Jabber. This Verizon service allows connectivity of up to 1,025 concurrent meeting participants, the company said.

The third new service, UCCaaS Mobile First, aims to boost the audio and video experience for mobile workers using the Jabber mobile UC client on Verizon's 4G LTE network. To do so, Verizon applies its quality-of-service traffic management control capability over 4G LTE to allow prioritization of voice and video calls using the Jabber client from select 4G LTE smartphones and tablets.

In the past year, Verizon has seen the number of users on its UCCaaS platform double, and it expects the same to happen next year, Ciccone said. For enterprises, turning to the cloud for communications and collaboration is no longer a matter of if, but when, he said. "You can't otherwise move at the speed at which companies are needing to move. ... I don't see deployment slowing down -- the real question is, 'What are the new applications going to be?'"

Toward that end, Verizon is "committed to evolving the platform along with Cisco" -- also relative to Spark and the use of open APIs for ease of integrating whatever the next hottest application might be, added Ciccone, speaking to concerns that Cisco's decision to host its newly announced Spark platform would adversely effect the HCS partner ecosystem.

Learn more about cloud communications trends and technologies at Enterprise Connect 2016, March 7 to 10, in Orlando, Fla. View the Cloud Communications track sessions; register now using the code NJPOST to receive $200 off the current conference price.

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