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News in Brief: 26 October, 2015

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on Unified Communications & Collaboration

 

News in Brief: 26 October, 2015
    

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26 Oct 2015
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AGT has announced the latest release of its cloud video conferencing service, EncoreB2B, which enables video collaboration and content sharing between standards-based video conferencing systems, desktops, web browsers, and mobile devices. Notable updates in this past Thursday’s release include a refined look and feel, new video meeting features (like customizable Info Bars with participant information) and layout options, and additional branding capabilities for AGT partners. This update will allow partners and end users to brand the video conferencing service in more ways than was possible before.

Cloud video service provider Videxio has zeroed in on China, with the launch this month of an expanded Chinese service platform, simplified Chinese user interface, and cooperation with Huawei to support a fully automated service for Huawei video systems.  The goal: make it simpler and more cost-effective for China-based or international companies with operations in China to communicate using cloud video.  As part of this, Videxio expanded its Points of Presence (PoPs) in Shanghai and Hong Kong, adding some new services and a “massive” as they put it capacity increase.

Panopto has joined the RiverBed-Ready Technology Alliance Program, expanding the set of networking options compatible with Panopto’s streaming platform. Earlier this year, Panopto unveiled similar support for networking solutions developed by Kollective.

Take that, Google Docs!  And that’s not Microsoft talking … it is Dropbox.   Last week the company presented its public beta release of Paper, a low-overhead (in terms of complexity) collaborative and cloud-based text editor.  Paper lets users see a title field and a body field when they open a new file. But Paper documents then can be used to let users preview files stored in Dropbox and Google Drive (including Google Docs). Users can use Paper to create lists shared with others, and assign tasks based on those lists by using the ubiquitous @ symbol (tagging specific team members to those tasks).  We wrote about Dropbox Paper when it was first announced and called Dropbox Notes.  Here it is: web-based version only for now, mobile app reportedly coming to a device near you sometime down the road.

Meanwhile, Google is off doing its own thing as usual: under a new sales program aimed at the mid-market, Google is now offering companies with a qualifying enterprise agreement (such as a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, the target with this campaign) the chance to try Google Apps for Work for free for the remainder of their EA contract.  Google has used some of those fancy algorithms to determine which Office Open XML features are most used and touts its savvy in replicating Office capabilities (turns out that 90% of Word documents use just 15% of Word elements. And over half of the features are used in less than 0.1% of documents.)  Now that you’ve had your end-of-week trivia, we note: customers must commit to one year of full-paid Apps for Work. For example, if they have two years left in their existing EA, they are expected to sign a contract for three years. The first two years will be credited, the last year will be charged at the full Apps unit price.  Coming off of a super earnings quarter, Google must be feeling its oats right now.  Aggressive!

Andrew wrote about Polycom’s earnings just this past week.  In other earnings news, ShoreTel reported earnings for its first quarter for fiscal year 2016.   For the first quarter of fiscal 2016, total revenue was $90.2 million, compared to $90.4 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015. Non-GAAP net income, which excludes stock-based compensation charges, amortization of acquisition-related intangibles, other adjustments and related tax changes, for the first quarter of fiscal year 2016, was $6.2 million, or $0.09 per diluted share. And what I’m sure Don Joos, ShoreTel’s President and CEO was especially happy to see: recurring revenues, which consist of all hosted and related services revenue plus support revenues, represented 51 percent of total revenue in the first quarter of fiscal 2016 and reached an annualized value of $184 million, up 15% year over year.

Meanwhile, Mitel has outlined its strategic vision to address the rapidly evolving mobile-first world, notwithstanding Elliott Management Corp’s merge with Polycom” talk. And Mitel intro’d some products at the same time.  The strategy is focused on eliminating technical barriers between enterprise and mobile silos and is powered by Mitel's cloud offering.  “At the core of Mitel's strategy is a vision of the mobile enterprise, a mobile-first, cloud-enabled and millennial-focused world where communications access, tools and information that have historically been tied to a physical location are seamless, and where handoffs between enterprise and mobile networks are instant and undetectable.” That’s their pitch anyway. A few more specifics about strategy and product, with strategy first: 1) Mitel is targeting power mobile enterprises using the real-time cloud, leveraging involvement with software-based 4G LTE mobile networking solutions and mobile carriers and 2) Mitel has established a dedicated technology accelerator.  So product specifics?  1) “easy” tap-to-connect communications and collaboration tools optimized for smartphones; 2) what it claims are the world's first Wi-Fi calling services in three continents (first mobile solution provider to deliver Voice over Wi-Fi – VoWiFi – capabilities to mobile carriers in Asia, Europe and North America); 3) expanded geographic support of multi-tenant, multi-instance cloud platforms and path to the mobile cloud by expanding the MiCloud platform into France, UK and Germany; 4) enhanced analytics for the MiContact Center, which connects the mobile enterprise with the mobile consumer; and 5) new mobile capabilities for hospitality industry customers, enabling personalized guest experiences.   As a frequent traveler, I suggest they also target the airline industry.  Hotels smoke the airlines for wrapping themselves around you and me.

Unify and ScanSource are now in bed together.  The ScanSource Catalyst business unit, which distributes voice, video, and data convergence solutions, is now an authorized reseller of Unify’s OpenScape solutions and Circuit platform.  May the bromance begin!

Biamp Systems, a provider of networked media systems, has announced the availability of its new Tesira 2.4 platform and HD-1 hardware dialer. Designed to meet the needs of VoIP and PSTN conferencing requirements, the solutions provide customers with new Lync Enterprise Voice and Skype for Business integration capabilities, a physical dialing device, and a number of networking enhancements.  The HD-1 hardware dialer, which provides a telephone dial pad for accessing the dialing functions of the Tesira platform, is now shipping. Tesira 2.4 firmware and software upgrades are available for download from Biamp's website.

Vaddio has launched the ClearSHOT 10 USB camera – an enterprise-targeted USB 3.0 PTZ conferencing camera with remote manageability that is being introduced at an (unannounced still) entry-level price.  Planned for November ship date, the ClearSHOT 10 USB includes simultaneous, uncompressed USB 3.0 and IP (H.264) streaming outputs. Its built-in web server allows the camera to be controlled and operated anywhere in the world. It also includes the latest generation Exmor 1/2.8”, 2.38 megapixel, full HD (native 1080p/60) high-speed, low noise CMOS image sensor, which combined with a new Image Signal Processor (ISP), produces according to Vaddio “vivid and realistic color with super-fast, razor sharp and transparent auto-focus and iris routines.” 

California-based webinar and web conferencing provider AnyMeeting, which especially targets small businesses, has announced integration with popular business apps including Salesforce, HubSpot, Constant Contact, Eventbrite, LinkedIn, LeadPages and over 400 others through an integration with Zapier. Zapier is a service that interconnects business apps by enabling users to specify triggers and actions between apps using a simple point-and-click interface.  Customers can now connect AnyMeeting to leading marketing automation, email marketing, and CRM platforms using one of many prepackaged "shared Zaps" – automations created using defined triggers and actions between apps – or by creating their own Zaps. One of the goals is to enable marketers to be able to connect meeting and webinar engagement data with records in their marketing and CRM platforms. 

Colorado-based ReadyTalk has officially announced the public beta version of FoxDen, a video conferencing and collaboration platform it has built for modern, mobile users and small teams.  This WebRTC-based engine is designed with a millennial-hat-on, with a very simple registration and invitation process based on one’s email address, and a mobile-first design.  Their goal: make meetings fun and less like “work.”  Each FoxDen user owns an exclusive collaboration room, or “den.” The den is accessible via a reusable personal hyperlink, which can be quickly distributed to up to ten concurrent participants. FoxDen is available for download from the App Store on iTunes or Google Play, or at my.foxden.io.

Want to travel to Chicago in May?  Our friends over at Internet2 are calling for papers for their 2016 Global Summit.  Want to stay at your desk but vote?  Our friends over at Let’s Do Video are accepting nominations for their Reader’s Choice Awards.

Is there life after working in the collaboration space? Of course, if you are Paul Roberge and Donna Christopher.  These two, both formerly with Blackboard and Centra, are now involved with Paul’s startup, Lingk.  While I keep having trouble remembering how to spell it – and the resemblance to Lync as a name is unmistakable, this firm has a different kind of product it is soft-launching at Educause and specifically targeting education.  (Where I’ll be hanging out with a few dozen vendors and clients on the 28th and 29thLingk aims to facilitate technology deployment and integration at global scale through a highly secure, cloud data service that takes the work out of connecting student information to an institution’s application ecosystem. The company calls this Data as a Service (DaaS).  Lingk’s features deliver to IT teams in educational institutions datasets built on Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) and learning events gathered from the IMS LTI standard.  Lingk is also designed to benefit education technology vendors developing applications that need access to high quality data from campus systems for business success (umm, that might include e-Learning and collaboration apps, if you are wondering why we are talking about a data service).  Using open, REST APIs, developers can integrate just once to the Lingk platform to meet integration requirements of multiple customer institutions.   And the real goal: outcomes, influence and understand a learner’s final grades: how did my piece of the learning puzzle affect the outcome?  Lingk intends to be the system that allows final analytics to be shared as needed.

People & Places

Know someone in the industry who changed jobs?  Jump into a new role yourself as vendor, end user, or channel partner?  Email us at [email protected] to share the good news.

  • Biamp Systems, Matt Dichirico, Technical Support Specialist

  • Biamp Systems, Andrew Verburg, Technical Support Specialist

  • Pexip, Åsmund O. Fodstad, CEO