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< 20 July 2020 >

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Here are some of the most popular stories in UC Today:

Five9 Strengthens its Global Presence

Leading communications company, Five9, has big dreams. Anand Chandrasekaran took over the EVP role for Five9, in 2019. Before working at Five9, Anand was responsible for Facebook’s Business Messenger platform. With Anand’s help, Five9 has been working on new opportunities for strategic growth and development.

Over the last 12 months, Five9 has celebrated a massive 41% year over year growth in international revenue. The company has branched out into Toronto, Sydney, Sao Paulo, and London. The scale of Five9’s growth means that the company will be looking to leverage new crucial partnerships. These collaborations will build on the existing connections that Five9 has with companies like Google Cloud.

Microsoft Teams and Breakout Rooms

Over the last few months, Microsoft has been working hard to make Teams the go-to place for team collaboration in the world of remote work. We’ve seen the arrival of virtual backgrounds for people who wanted to hide their messy living rooms from team members. Microsoft also promised that it would soon support up to 49 on-screen participants in Gallery view.

However, while Microsoft Teams does keep getting better, it still hasn’t quite caught up with all the features available from video-first solutions like Zoom. For instance, we’re still awaiting the arrival of breakout rooms, where teams can split video and audio into corresponding sessions. The good news? There might be a workaround. (Check out our latest article here to find out more.)

Cisco Collaboration Welcomes New Leader

Cisco has been busy over the last week, with lots of exciting updates for its community. One recent blog published by Cisco leader, Chuck Robbins, announced that Cisco would be updating its leadership team again. Jeetu Patel is joining the crew as the Head of Collaboration, Security, and Application. Two independent sources have confirmed that Sri Srinivasan is leaving his role as Head of Cisco Collaboration too.

Founder and Principal Analyst, Zeus Kerravala, spoke to us about the change in the leadership suite. He told Moshe that although Sri is coming back to the team, he won’t be the head of collaboration. Instead, Sri will be focusing on something new. (See the whole story here)

Transform Your Zoom and Teams Backgrounds

One of the most exciting parts of video conferencing right now has to be the ability to change your background to anything you like. On both Zoom and Microsoft Teams, users have the option to either blur their backgrounds, or replace them with a different image.

So, what if you want to spruce your background up with something a little different? We’ve got you covered. We tracked down some of the most impressive background options for Zoom and Microsoft Teams from around the web. All of these options, from the Death Star control room to the Tardis, are free to use and legit. (See them here.)

Google Snaps Up Some New C-Suite Execs

Google, one of the market leaders in the tech and cloud landscape, has been collecting some new talent lately. Senior Vice President for Salesforce, Pip White, will be responsible for the sales efforts of Google Cloud throughout the UK and Ireland soon. With more than 2 decades of experience in her field, Pip has had various leadership roles over the years.

She’ll be joining another major addition to the Google roster in the form of Chief Product Officer for SAP, Abdul Razack. Abdul will be acting as the newest Google Cloud VP of Tech Solutions for the US. Razack was head of technology and architecture at SAP for more than a year. He also has 25 years of tech experience to bring to the table. He’ll be coming to Google from SAP with Lori Mitchell-Keller and George Nazi. (See the facts here.)

Slack and Microsoft Teams Offer Cisco Calling

Cisco’s Product Manager, Bryan Morris, recently released a blog post about new opportunities for companies to take their meetings to the next level with Cisco calling. The Webex unified app offers a comprehensive meeting, messaging, and calling solution for today’s business leaders. However, some companies still want to unlock the functionality of Slack and Microsoft Teams.

Since neither Slack nor Microsoft Teams have the best history with calling capabilities, the addition of Cisco calling to their platforms will be an exciting update. Users can now use Slack and Microsoft Teams with enterprise-level calling straight from Cisco. The result is a top-level business phone service, combined with your preferred collaboration tool.

Microsoft Teams Introduces New Features

Microsoft Teams is soaring to the head of the pack for collaboration tools lately. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the application has become one of the most popular business tools in the world. In May, Teams announced an impressive 75 million daily active users. To support this onslaught of new customers, Microsoft has been rolling out a variety of features to help teams feel connected.

Enhancing the work from home environment, Teams introduced a new “Together Mode”. This fresh feature uses artificial intelligence to place meeting attendees in a room together. You can see yourself sitting alongside all of your colleagues, as though you were in the same auditorium. Learn more about together mode, and other amazing Teams features here.

Google Meet Adds New Backgrounds

Google Meet is the video conferencing option available as part of the G Suite from Google. In recent months, the solution has had a tough time keeping up with leaders like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. However, as the world continues to shift into the remote work era, Google is working harder to catch up. Lately, the G-Suite team shared the arrival of background blur and background replacement features in a document about upcoming features.

One slight downside is that the Google team hasn’t fully confirmed the arrival of these features or when they’ll be available yet. They’re listed alongside a selection of other potential upgrades to the service that may or may not happen. (See the story here. )

Microsoft Certifies Cisco SBCs

Another piece of interesting news from Microsoft this week, is that the company certified Cisco’s Session Border Controls for use with Teams. Both the Cisco SBC, and the (CUBE) Cisco Unified Border Element are certified to use with Microsoft Teams Direct Routing. According to Tom Arbuthnot, Microsoft MVP, this is big news for the collaboration between Cisco and Microsoft.

Although companies are still waiting for the day that Microsoft Teams rooms can connect directly with Cisco Webex Meetings, the two brands have been operating in closer quarters lately. Cisco will join companies like AudioCodes, Ribbon Communications, MetaSwitch, and Oracle. All of these companies also have phone systems that integrate deeply with the Microsoft Teams app. Learn more about the story here.

What’s New in Cisco Collaboration?

Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google aren’t the only companies making significant changes to their collaboration tools lately. Cisco, with the Webex portfolio, is also taking steps to ensure that the new remote workforce can be as productive as possible. After tripling its usage in the last few months, the Webex portfolio has begun some major upgrades, including the arrival of new Webex assistant integrations, and Cisco Webex Desk Pro.

In our latest Cisco Live Roundup video, Dave Michels, the Lead Analyst of TalkingPointz, discusses what’s coming next for Cisco Webex and collaboration in the years ahead. Points covered include everything from the arrival of new AI features, to contact centre enhancements.



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