Unified Communications and Collaboration
Avaya has concluded its annual International Avaya User's Group (IAUG) event, and one of the most noteworthy announcements was the company's strategic vision to transform its approach to collaboration. The company's strategy calls to accelerate development and integration of next-generation unified communications and contact center applications.
Regular phone calls are over--these days, it's all about video chatting. If you've got a smartphone, you're likely holding a video-chatting machine (in all its forward-facing 1.3 megapixel glory). And regardless of what OS your smartphone is running, it likely came with some built-in video chatting software. But what if you want to, I don't know... call someone on a different platform? Or what if you need to chat with your entire rugby team at once? Facetime only works on iOS, and Google Hangouts only supports 10 chatters at one time.
Zoho is getting into the business social-networking game with a new product called Pulse, which also ties back to many of its other applications.
Pulse features the now-familiar mix of activity streams, private messaging, notifications, blogs, groups and people search functionality familiar to anyone who's been within striking distance of both consumer social networks like Facebook and the many offerings for business, such as Yammer and Jive.
Google is feeling the heat over its decision to build its new Hangouts IM and audio/video chat product with proprietary technology that doesn't support server federation via the XMPP industry standard, but the company is defending its move.
Specifically, Google maintains that XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) industry support is weak, which dilutes its purpose as a common protocol, and that its technology hasn't kept up with the times.
Thinking Phone Networks already offers a cloud-based unified communications as a service (UCaaS) in North America serving more than 4,000 enterprise customers.
The company is expanding into the EMEA region, offering applications such as spanning IP voice, mobility, video, analytics, presence, messaging, contact center and conferencing.
Sonus has enhanced its session border controller portfolio, targeting both enterprise and service provider market opportunities. Among the enhancements: modular form factor session border controllers (SBCs) designed to permit customers to field-install digital signal processor (DSP) cards at their own pace, nearly 100 new software enhancements, and an enhanced survivable branch appliance (SBA) functionality with mobile broadband 3G/4G failover capability meant to ensure Microsoft Lync Server operations during wide area network (WAN) failures.
ShoreTel has announced a new product called the ShoreTel Dock -- a business-grade docking station that transforms iPhones and iPads into desk phones when paired with ShoreTel Mobility. The ShoreTel Dock turns Apple handhelds running the ShoreTel Mobility app into business desk phones and enterprise collaboration tools. ShoreTel is demonstrating the ShoreTel Dock and its portfolio of enterprise unified communications solutions at Interop 2013 in Las Vegas.
Digium has announced the general availability of two new Switchvox appliances targeting the IP phone system needs of midsize businesses.
Citrix has added instant messaging to its Podio enterprise collaboration product so that employees can engage in one-to-one and group text chats while they work on tasks and projects.
This summer, Citrix will extend Podio Chat with audio communications and video conferencing, expanding the real-time communications features of the product.
"Now you can chat within Podio in the context of your work," said Bernardo de Albergaria, vice president and general manager of SaaS products and markets at Citrix.
Orange Business Services has announced the global expansion of "Business Together as a Service" -- a move the company touts as the "market's first Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) offer available for large enterprises on a global scale," according to the company's statement. The cloud service, originally deployed in France and Europe, is hosted in three regional data centers (Atlanta, Frankfurt and Singapore) that are part of the Orange Business Services dedicated cloud computing infrastructure.
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