Unified Communications Week in Review: Plantronics, ShoreTel, United Office, and More
Unified communications is a field that is growing by leaps and bounds and affecting a large share of global industries. This week's UC news at TMC touches on a few advancements in the field, the spread of various software packages, and the growth of some new players in the market.
Early on this week, TMC discussed the partnership between Plantronics and Revolabs which has resulted in efforts to try to boost communications signals without creating a lot of interference in the process. The pair recently released four new devices that have achieved that goal. Plantronics unveiled the Blackwire 725 headset that contains active noise canceling technology, the Voyager Edge UC headset that has Bluetooth connectivity, the corded Calisto 610 speakerphone, and the Clarity 340 handset which features large buttons and sound amplification for people who are hard of seeing or hearing.
Once cloud-based communications are in place, businesses may find they have a hard time managing telecom and billing components of all their chosen software. Dave Gilbert, the founder of SimpleSignal, a company which handles those components while bringing together the various aspects of businesses' cloud products, says that there is healthy adoption of cloud products for midsize businesses. That adoption, though, can cause midsizes headaches when they try to manage licensing, billing, and other elements of managing multiple software products from multiple vendors. SimpleSignal manages those technicalities for their clients so they can use their handfuls of cloud products without having to stress about payment or management.
One manufacturer that businesses may have in their sights is ZYCOO which makes IP phones and delivers PBX infrastructures. It has expanded in recent years from its home market in China to the U.S. and most recently to the U.K. Medium-size businesses, in particular, are getting on board with ZYCOO's IP products, and that reality underlines the company's success and expansion. Peter Bernstein, a senior editor at TMC, noted that ZYCOO's goal of reaching businesses with 10 to 500 people is what it means to reach out to approximately 95 percent of the businesses in all the world's countries.
One other growing company, ShoreTel Communications, started its cloud partner program in January 2014. The program allows partners to offer cloud-based services to their clients. Now, just one year later, ShoreTel says that more than half of its U.S. partners are offering cloud services as part of the program. Partners can join and participate in a number of tiers that address their needs and desires as sales enterprises. Tiers range from Referral to Approved to Enabled and, respectively, offer their partners choices in how they want to receive commissions based on their own sales -- from one-time commissions to multiple commission payments that last the life of their customers.
Sometimes, the adopters of cloud-based communications products are not always what one would expect. According to Ray Pasquale, the CEO of United Office, his company's communications suite has attracted the fast food industry because of its widespread nature. Fast food chains can stretch nationally and globally. Therefore, real-time features that allow managers to look at the operations of any single branch from a remote location can be invaluable. Pasquale said Unified Office has been the perfect fit for those types of outfits because it works in real time and helps drive revenue and profits.