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News in Brief: 19 November, 2015

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News in Brief: 19 November, 2015
    

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19 Nov 2015
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Collaboration platform manufacturer Compunetix has announced the upcoming release of a full-featured integration between its CONTEX Summit audio platform or Summit Olympus UC platform and Microsoft Skype for Business.  Compunetix customers and their subscribers may now initiate high quality HD voice calls – point-to-point or multipoint – from their Skype chat window or contact list with just a few clicks. As an added benefit, Compunetix voice platforms can support both IP and traditional PSTN connections, enabling all participants to join a Summit / Olympus + Skype for Business call – not just those using a Skype IP client. This new integration offers the ability to leverage the outstanding features of Skype for Business – such as chat, presence, access to Microsoft Outlook contacts, mobility and the broad Skype familiarity – together with the Summit Olympus’ HD voice, hybrid call support, *0 operator assistance, recording capabilities, hosted UC resources, and scalability.

Unify this week announced a new range of pricing packages – including a Freemium offering – for its Circuit UC offering.  The Circuit platform brings together high-quality voice, video, chat, real-time document editing and management, and file sharing into a single view across an entire team.  Unify introduced three new pricing structures to the global market: 1) a Free package that supports up to 100 users with 1 GB storage and three integrations (zero commitment and zero cost, meant for small teams with an immediate, short term collaboration need in the hopes they will move up the food chain down the road); 2) a Team package that provides foundational collaboration for any startup, non-profit, or small company at a price of $3.95 a seat per month; and 3) a Professional package, suited for small and medium businesses looking to layer a collaboration solution on top of existing communications infrastructure, with support for unlimited users and customization via additional integrations to optimize workflow, at $6.95 / €6.95 / £4.95 a seat per month.  The existing Enterprise package will continue to be tiered at $14.95 a seat per month. 

Vidyo and Mitel today announced a global expansion of the companies’ partnership to deliver high-definition video conferencing capabilities to the enterprise. The new OEM agreement extends the original distribution partnership established in 2013 and allows Mitel to leverage Vidyo’s APIs to embed multi-point video, audio, and collaboration features inside various Mitel solutions – most notably the latest release of Mitel’s MiCollab.  With Vidyo, MiCollab is now able to provide high-quality video conferencing from any mobile endpoint that is both flexible and more scalable.

Google has rolled out a few updates to Google+ that make it easier to focus on the features its Apps customers tell it they find the most useful. There’s a new Homestream to quickly browse through content, domain-restricted Communities that make it easier to safely share ideas, and Collections, which enable organizations to curate their work and keep it in one easy-to-find place.

Integra, a provider of fiber-based, enterprise-grade networking, communications and technology solutions, through its two business units Electric Lightwave and Integra Business, today announced availability of its Integra UC Cloud Voice solution. Adding to Integra's cloud services offerings, UC Cloud Voice incorporates virtualization and data center technologies to implement a highly scalable and customizable suite of communications services.

Folio3 Software Inc., maker of the MeetingMogul one-touch conference-call-connection application designed for mobile devices, has announced a new enterprise version that enhances productivity, manages conference-calling costs, and helps companies’ mobile workforces stay more in touch.  The new MeetingMogul Enterprise app was developed specifically for companies whose employees travel frequently for business or are located remotely.  It provides: 1) location-based dialing rules and low-cost local dial-in numbers all around the world, allowing the app to connect users to conference calls via least-cost dialing; preconfigured bridges for specific teams, which are published directly to employees for easier one touch dial-in to meetings and integration with corporate telecom and IT systems; and VoIP dialing to connect users to conference calls at a fraction of the cost of mobile-roaming charges to help businesses save on costs.  The Enterprise version’s self-service dashboard allows telecom and IT managers to monitor trends, set up teams, create custom bridges, and the like. MeetingMogul also integrates with NetSuite and Salesforce CRM systems, allowing users to update leads and opportunities from anywhere at any time.  MeetingMogul also enables trial-usage accounts for prospects to evaluate the services operation and effectiveness.  The Enterprise version has a per user per year fee, as well as fees for dialing internationally using Voice over IP dialing.

We tweeted the news but here’s our official take on it.  Yes, Citrix is spinning off its GoTo collaboration services into an entirely separate entity.  The company is cutting almost 1,000 (out of 10,081) employees – but those job cuts do not include the GoTo spinoff staff, so this is big news back at the mother ship.  The job cuts and spinoff moves reportedly will bring pre-tax charges of between $65 million and $85 million but result in savings of about $200 million a year.  Some of this is the result of activist investment firm Elliott Management getting into their hair. Specific pieces of Citrix being spun off into this new entity: GoToAssist, GoToMeeting, GoToMyPC, GoToTraining, GoToWebinar, Grasshopper (acquired earlier in 2015), and OpenVoice. Now this brings us to the head-scratcher.  ShareFile and Podio are remaining with Citrix.  “Moving forward, Podio will be a key element in enhancing the workflow and collaboration capabilities of ShareFile (one of Citrix’s five core products)” blogs Bill Caravano today.  I guess this is one way to do it, but what does that say about the shared technology elements of Podio contained in GoToMeeting?  My colleague Andy Nilssen points out that perhaps the mothership has thoughts of grandeur in the “Persistent Collaboration Space” as Slack and its ilk feature tight integration between workflows (Podio) and cloud file services (ShareFile) as a core capability.  But where does this leave the integration between GoToMeeting and Podio – or, for that matter, GoToMeeting Free which is used for real-time conferences within Podio – as they drift apart as separate companies? But wait: GTM Free was developed by Podio in Copenhagen, so maybe it stays with Podio. If so, oops – there goes GTM’s freemium offering.  Many questions …

Long ago in a distant galaxy I worked for the #2 video conferencing vendor and we fantasized about the mobile applications that might someday be possible in areas like manufacturing and engineering.  Well, this week a company new to us, Norway-based BARTEC PIXAVI, has announced a very targeted product for the oil and gas industry (among others): the Orbit X Explosion Proof Wi-Fi Helmet Camera. The Orbit X can transmit Full HD video and at the same time enable the operator to communicate with anyone with audio and video conferencing.  The camera has 32 GB of internal memory for several thousand images and hours of HD video, while the company provides unlimited storage using something it calls the Media Library functionality Collaboration X Cloud Management Solution.  Remote parties for live video feeds receive audio / video via web browser, Skype for Business, or video conferencing endpoint.  BARTEC PIXAVI is building on its existing Orbit X explosion-proof Wi-Fi camera, and perhaps thinking GoPro doesn’t have to own the headcam market!  It also gets kudos for putting together a nice, jazzy YouTube video.

Do you ever wonder if anybody really uses this streaming stuff besides marketeers and corporate communications staff and kids watching music videos? Well, the Great Courses Plus streaming service, which officially went national in the U.S. last week, is launching the first “What America is Learning Charts.” The charts keep track of the top-10 subjects and top-10 lectures being streamed through the new streaming service.  New members can sample the service without risk for 30 days with a one-month free trial. Apparently Science and History lead the learning-on-demand platform, which features world-class professors presenting in-depth video lessons on thousands of subjects.  Can you spell Neil deGrasse Tyson? Note that after your free trial they charge $49 per month.

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