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Unified Communications Week in Review

May 24, 2014

Unified Communations (UC) news this week showed off several product announcements. Fonality is pushing its new presence management patent, and Facebook is rumored to be working on a Snapchat competitor. Mobile service provider TIM Brazil now has a communications app of its own, Cumulus and TurboBridge are tackling the telephony-related needs of the state of Texas, and iCore is providing UC servies for a Philadelphia-based real estate firm.

Fonality this week announced the release of its new Heads Up Display (HUD) application. The software is linked to a recent patent the company acquired that allows it to better use presence management. Specifically, the HUD can use the technology granted in the new patent to allow managers to tell, at a glance, the current virtual location of each of their employees. On a single display, managers can see if employees are at their desks, on a mobile device, in a conference call, or working in a call center queue. Administrators can also tailor the service to allow specific users to view subsets of employees, so not everyone knows what everyone else is doing. In that way, it can section off certain departments from viewing the activities of one another or even partition management from lower-level company employees.

A rumor is circulating that Facebook is also working on its own new application. Unable to acquire Snapchat, the app which allows users to send and receive text or images that recipients can only view for 10 seconds, Facebook may offer up its own home-grown competitor: Slingshot. The social media giant previously released a Snapchat copycat with the name Poke, but it quickly faltered and was taken off the books. Slingshot appears to have been in the works for several months and should soon appear in app stores if rumors are correct.

Telecommunications service provider TIM Brazil announced recently that it has reached out to Amdocs Unified Communications. TIM want Amdocs to power its new “blah” service—an application that can manage users' address books and social media contacts. It merges those contacts and allows users to complete instant messaging and VoIP video and audio chats from within the application. Anyone inside or outside TIM can use the app, but the open nature of the service reportedly allows the company to keep subscribers and non-subscribers alike within its brand and therefore hopefully increase brand awareness.

With respect to conferencing services, Cumulus recently partnered with TurboBridge to enhance Cumulus's contract with Texas Department of Information Resources. Cumulus was awarded a contract with the DIR in April to provide the state's department with voice, video, and web conferencing services. Its partnership with TurboBride will allow increased access to cloud-based telephony services. The pair will reportedly be managing audio conferencing in state agencies, universities, and cities across Texas.

Finally, iCore Networks recently announced its contract with the Pennrose real estate firm. Pennrose reportedly has over 160 locations and was in need of a unified communications service provider. The announcement reports that iCore will be using its CloudFUZN solution to connect all the existing phone lines in each of the Pennrose locations. In addition to being able to manage its current locations and phone lines, iCore should also handle new phone connections without the need for additional configuration, so as Pennrose expands, the communications network can move along with it.

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