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< 09 April 2020 >

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Welcome to another Unified Communications, Collaboration & CX Tech News roundup hosted by Isabel Blakemore, Presenter & Tech Journalist here at UC Today.

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The world is still facing the shockwaves of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses of all sizes have been forced to evolve and adapt, changing to suit a marketplace that operates almost exclusively online. The virtual world has never been more active.  

As human beings try to stay connected in a host of new environments, the collaboration and communication space has never been more critical.  

PGi are this month’s headline sponsor. The GlobalMeet Platform redefines the way people work by providing the freedom to communicate and collaborate in a whole new way. Across April we are covering all things video conferencing and collaboration, so be sure to check out all the latest features and news stories by visiting our Video Conferencing news in the Collaboration section on the UC Today website. 

Cisco Webex vs Microsoft Teams vs. Zoom 

Meeting room tools from Microsoft Teams to Cisco Webex have gained a lot of steam in recent months. As businesses strive to provide their employees with efficient and productive environments that they can use to work from home, leaders are left asking themselves which tools will deliver the best results.  

Rob Scott from UC Today met with Graham Walsh of Crestron, Jonathan George from Adoptt, and Tom Arbuthnot from Modality Systems to discuss the major differences between team collaboration tools in the current landscape. The Panel discussion is available to watch right now in our UC Summit virtual conference. 

Check out the panel discussion here for their thoughts on everything from usability and accessibility, to the unique features of the video and collaboration offerings on the market today.

Microsoft Teams Hits 44 Million Daily Active Users 

Speaking of the growing demand for Collaboration tools, Microsoft Teams, perhaps the most popular business collaboration service around, increased its user count to 44 million daily active users this week. When you consider the number of people that have been forced to start working from home as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s easy to see why Microsoft Teams is gaining so much steam.  

In just seven days, Microsoft’s Teams collaboration application gained an additional 12 million users, all logging on in an attempt to remain productive from a distance. On top of that, Microsoft is also rolling out a selection of new features, just in time for it’s latest customers.  

The Top Contact Centre Options for Small Business 

As businesses move more aggressively towards the cloud, it’s time to think not just about your internal communication strategies, but your external stack too. How are you going to make sure that you can continue to deliver the immersive contact centre experiences that your customers expect? Is now the time to unlock the feature-rich capabilities of a CCaaS cloud solution? 

In this latest guide, you can explore some of the most exciting features of the most popular cloud contact centre solutions for small businesses. From RingCentral to Talkdesk and the Five9 contact centreall of these fantastic tools are designed to suit SMB requirements for scalability, agility, and enterprise-grade performance.  

What’s Trending in the UC Market 2020? 

With so much happening in the world right now, it can be challenging to keep up to date with the latest events in the unified communications industry. However, in a space as dynamic and versatile as UC, if you take your eyes off the prize for just one minute, you might find that the whole landscape has changed by the time you look back.  

To help communications experts, partners, and buyers keep track of the space, Rob Scott put together a quick video offering a helicopter view of some of the biggest trends in the industry. where you can learn about the movers and shakers in everything from UCaaS and teams tools to CPaaSVCaaSCCaaS, and more. You’ll even walk away with an insight on what’s coming next from the industry.  

Microsoft Cortana and Teams Updates 2020 

Microsoft isn’t letting anything slow it down this week. Despite general uncertainty and confusion in the marketplace, Microsoft is taking full advantage of the growing demand for collaboration, with the introduction of new features and capabilities for millions of active users.  

The Microsoft team recently announced updates to Cortana, including solutions that allow businesses to start charts, send files, and more with Cortana AI assistance. Additionally, Teams has also introduced the concept of “Surface Earbuds” which are set to ship later this year. Here’s your guide to all the latest updates. 

The Ultimate Guide to Free Video Conferencing 

Stuck at home? We understand. Here at UC Today, we’ve always lived a remote-working lifestyle. However, now that the risks of COVID-19 are greater than ever, more companies are feeling the push to discover the benefits of video conferencing and online collaboration for themselves. If your company is in the midst of a sudden transformation, then it might help to know where you can get your hands on some free tools.  

Our ultimate guide to the free video conferencing and collaboration available on the market today covers everything from premium features available for free from Microsoft and Google to solutions from Zoom, RingCentral, Avaya, and more. Come and see which tools you can use to keep your team productive in these unpredictable days.  

RingCentral Reveals Fourth Quarter Results 

The world might be facing the beginning of a potential recession, but for now, business is still thriving. That’s particularly true for the market leaders in the communication world, like RingCentral. Recently, the company revealed its fourth-quarter results for the period ending on the 31st of December 2019. The company, known for its sensational collaboration and cloud communication tools, achieved a total revenue increase of 34%! 

According to the CEO and Founder of RingCentral, Vlad Shmunis, the fourth-quarter results are outstanding, driven by the continued momentum of sales in both mid-market and enterprise environments. RingCentral also seeing the benefits of various strategic partnerships with companies like Avaya and AT&T. Check out the results for yourself here.

Microsoft Teams Stumbles When Users Need it Most 

Just as the number of remote workers relying on such tools began to swell, Microsoft Teams, the leader in team collaboration applications, hit a significant outage. As millions attempted to log in from home to continue work while on coronavirus lockdown, Microsoft Teams failed to deliver results for workers in the US landscape.  

As usual, with a case like this, the Microsoft group took to Twitter, sharing that it had received reports about an issue with “TM206544”. The company investigated the issue, while, in the meantime, Europe started to suffer from major outages as well. Although the Microsoft Teams app was back up and running by the end of the day, it was seriously bad news for Microsoft, as the company failed to prove itself at a time when its customers were most in need.  

Microsoft Reveals New Updates 

Fortunately, not all of the news from Microsoft has been bad over the last week. The company also introduced a range of new features and updates to delight the influx of new and existing customers on the platform. Microsoft revealed some significant changes to Teams Chat, Calling, and Collaboration features, including the option to assign specific tags to entire groups of people at once.  

Teams also introduced some changes for Admins too, with a new “manage apps” page that gives administrators an excellent view of all the apps in their Microsoft tenant. Admins can also now place “legal hold” on conversations for compliance and auditing purposes. Check out the full range of updates to the Microsoft Teams experience here.

Unified Communications: 2020 Outlook from Zen Internet

General Manager of Network and Communications at Zen Internet, James Albiges, submitted a fantastic guest post to the UC Today community recently. In this blog, James talks about the concept of unified communications, and how it has changed drastically over the years. Since originally emerging in the 1990s, the definition of unified communications has evolved to include everything from video, to recording and more.  

In his guest post, James talks about the complications of installing unified comms technology into the current landscape, as well as the challenges that teams face when it comes to choosing the services and solutions that their teams need. (Read through the insightful article for yourself here) 

Which story was your favourite from this week? Let us know in the comments below or chat to us on social media. Remember, you can still check out UC Today while taking part in social distancing too!  

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