Unified Communications and Collaboration
Microsoft's Lync communications platform is making big gains as the IP PBX of choice, particularly in North America and particularly among larger businesses, Enterprise Connect attendees were told.
Lync ranks 11th worldwide among IP PBX vendors, but comes in No.3 in North America among businesses with more than 100 phone extensions, according to Peter Hale, principal analyst with MZA, speaking at the conference.
Following Facebook's $19 billion deal to acquire messaging service WhatsApp, rival messaging app Tango announced a $280 million round of funding Wednesday led by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, as the company also surpassed its 200 millionth user.
Google and Cisco are teaming up in the enterprise collaboration market, bundling WebEx with Chromebooks and integrating the Cisco Web conferencing and online meeting product with Google Apps.
The companies announced on Tuesday that two of their high-ranking executives demonstrated a "proof of concept" of WebEx running on a Chromebook, something that hasn't been possible to date.
Unify plans to offer Project Ansible as a service with connectors to its on-premise OpenScape voice products, starting in October. Unify has set a timetable for the launch of its Project Ansible unified communications product, with beta testing scheduled for May.
ShoreTel announced it has integrated the Salesforce CRM system with ShoreTel’s portfolios. Integrating the two platforms will offer businesses reporting on the effectiveness of communications and customer interactions. ShoreTel’s “single source view” is designed to provide insights that enable higher productivity and more effective collaboration of sales, thus creating greater customer satisfaction and better business results.
Microsoft didn't disappoint with the new and improved capabilities it announced and demonstrated for Office 365 this week, but how well they work in the real world remains to be seen.
At its SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft laid out its vision for making Office 365 a more intelligent collaboration suite via new social interactions, APIs (application programming interfaces) and machine learning capabilities.
Microsoft will demonstrate how Lync and Skype users will be able to communicate via video conferencing, the next stage of the integration between its enterprise unified communications server and its consumer IM and IP telephony network. The new integration will be shown at the Lync Conference, in Las Vegas and will be attended by almost 2,000 customers and partners, according to Microsoft.
Japan's Rakuten, the e-commerce giant, will acquire instant messaging and calling app developer Viber Media for US$900 million, highlighting its moves to penetrate new markets.
Rakuten's purchase of the messaging and VoIP company follows its acquisitions of Canada's e-book platform Kobo, Spanish video service Wuaki.tv, and Viki, a digital content platform.
Polycom expanded its ongoing partnership with Microsoft to include the new Polycom CX8000 room system, integrating an HD video conferencing system with Microsoft Lync. The Polycom CX8000 solution also includes presence, contact search, instant messaging, HD audio, virtual white boarding, touch display-powered presentations, application sharing, and shared document editing.
Enterprises will in the future get hosted unified communication services via mobile networks, according to telecom vendor Ericsson, which has developed the underlying platform to make that possible.
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