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< 05 May 2020 >

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Over the last few weeks, companies across the globe have been exploring a new era of remote work, tapping into the incredible feature sets available from leading vendors in video collaboration, VoIP, and even CCaaS technology.

As we all continue to adapt to this new environment, leading companies from every environment have been introducing new and improved solutions to keep us all connected. If you haven’t had time to read all of the latest and trending stories here at UC Today, here are just some of our favourites to keep you on the cutting edge of the industry.

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 have been 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.

Microsoft Introduces Custom Backgrounds

Have you ever been sitting in a Microsoft Teams meeting, unable to concentrate on what’s going on, because you’re too worried about how messy your office looks behind you? In the past, Microsoft offered background blur to deal with that very problem. However, a blurred background isn’t the most visually appealing thing to show off to all your colleagues.

Now that more people are working from home than ever before, Microsoft has updated it’s video collaboration offering to include a custom backgrounds feature. This solution will allow you to add a new background to your meeting, so you can forget all about your cluttered living room. We cover the details here, as well as providing tips on how to add your own custom backgrounds to the mix.

The UC Awards are Back

Celebrating innovation and Success

Building on last year’s event, UC Awards 2020 is back for a third year running with a range of categories for vendors and service providers. A fully digital event with no table, travel or accommodation required, therefore reducing the normal costs of getting involved.

Entries for UC Awards are now open until the 12th June. Download the application pack today and find out more, including who this year’s judges are and what categories we’re celebrating by visiting UC Awards.

The Top Video Conferencing Providers for 2020

From Zoom to Microsoft Teams, every business in the video conferencing world seems to be getting a lot more attention in the last few weeks. Driven by a new demand to keep colleagues connected during home working, the video collaboration landscape is growing faster than ever. However, for many businesses, the biggest challenge is figuring out which tools they should invest in.

To help you make the right choice, we’ve taken a closer look at many of the leading providers in the video landscape, from PGi and BlueJeans to GoToMeeting and beyond. Check out our full list for everything you need to know about dipping your toes into the waters of the video conferencing world.

Global Internet Outages Map Released

ThousandEyes, an Internet Cloud intelligence company, recently released their new global map, showcasing the state of internet connections around the world. The virtual map covers everything happening to internet connectivity around the globe, with insights into lost connections, and overviews of which outages will impact which customers and companies.

As more businesses are forced to work from home, having an overview of the internet connectivity in your region can make it much easier to prepare for issues. The global Internet Outages map is available to access for free. However, there’s also a full Insights solution available from the company for people who want more information on potential outages. Check the map for yourself here.

Avaya Spaces Review: A New Conferencing Option

With so many video conferencing options to choose from in the current landscape, making the right choice can feel a little overwhelming. For some businesses, the best option will be to stick to what they know, with a solution from a reputable comms provider. Avaya Spaces, the latest collaboration offering on the market from Avaya, provides video-first conferencing and modern file-sharing, with all the benefits of the Avaya heritage.

Avaya Spaces comes with everything from task management to broadcasting features and recording if you need to share files with employees later. We took a closer look at the Spaces environment and how it works, to help you decide whether it’s the right investment for you.

Google Cloud Launches New Chatbot

Google, just like many other brands in the current environment, is responding rapidly to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the impact that it’s having on businesses around the world. As the pandemic spreads across the globe, citizens have turned to healthcare providers, governments, and other companies, searching for answers. This means that the demand on contact centres has increased drastically.

To help with this, Google has introduced a new rapid-response virtual agent solution. This will give businesses the opportunity to provide consistent 24/7 conversational support to people around the globe. The chatbot solution is available in chat and voice, as well as social media, with 23 languages to choose from. To ensure rapid deployment, Google is also working with contact centre providers like Avaya, Mitel, and Cisco. Check out the full story here.

Microsoft Teams vs. GoToMeeting

If you’re still struggling to narrow down your choices for the leading video conferencing tools available right now, it might be better to check them out head-to-head. Since tracking down all the details on leading solutions like Microsoft Teams and GoToMeeting can be an exhausting thing to do on your own, we did the hard work for you.

Check out our Microsoft Teams and GoToMeeting comparison for a closer insight into the various features, experiences, and telephony solutions that are available from these two market leaders. We’ve covered everything that you might need to know about GoToMeeting and Microsoft Teams, so you can ensure that you’re picking the right one for your employees.

How to Choose the Ideal Video Conferencing Provider

Choosing the perfect video conferencing solution isn’t just about selecting the right vendor. Although you need to be able to trust the company that you’re working with, you also need to think carefully about a range of other factors too. For instance, are you going to want to spend a little more and get 4K video conferencing features? Or do you just need something that can work seamlessly on any device, including mobile phones?

In our latest guide, we’ve covered some of the top things that all business owners and buyers need to think about when they’re shopping for the best collaboration tool for their video-focused team.

Verizon Acquires BlueJeans

Verizon, one of the leading communication businesses in the current landscape, recently agreed to purchase video conferencing and collaboration company, BlueJeans. Verizon will be working with BlueJeans technology to update its already impressive UC&C portfolio. Currently, the BlueJeans VCaaS offer supplies a considerable customer base, including small and large businesses alike.

BlueJeans will now form a crucial part of the Verizon UCaaS solution. What’s more, Verizon is planning on incorporating BlueJeans technology into the 5G product roadmap too. The new integration of BlueJeans and Verizon should create a very competitive component for Verizon’s communication stack. (See the full report here.)

New Consumer Microsoft Teams in the Works

Microsoft, the company with the most popular collaboration tool on the market today, recently announced that it would be delivering something exciting for the consumer marketplace too. According to Microsoft MVP Tom Arbuthnot, there’s an upcoming version of Microsoft Teams in the works for Home use. This solution will make it easier to collaborate with members of your family on things like chores and shopping.

With Microsoft Teams for Home, you’ll be able to chat with your loved ones through instant messaging and gifs, as well as setting up video calls. There’s even an activity management environment where shared activities, tasks, and calendars can keep your entire network on the same page.

Which story was your favourite from the last couple of week? Let us know in the comments below or chat to us on social media.

Don’t forget to register and visit RingCentral’s CC virtual expo, a completely free and digital event powered by UC Summit which comes at a critical moment in the history of customer interaction. The RingCentral event concentrates on customer experience and how businesses can enhance the moments they share with their customers. You’ll leave the digital expo with plenty of data driven insights to create incredible customer satisfaction whilst boosting productivity, and reducing cost.

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