Unified Communications Featured Article

Unified Communications Week in Review: Amazon, Dialpad, MTS, PanTerra

May 06, 2017

Unified communications has gone through a lot of changes and false starts in recent years. But lately we’ve seen some developments in UC that are very exciting and could change communications as we know it.

One of those developments is the introduction of voice-activated personal assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Home. And now we’re seeing the first UC players take advantage of these exciting new tools by doing integrations with them.

As I reported earlier this week, Dialpad has announced an integration with Alexa that will enable its users to use voice prompts to manage their communications. That means they can simply speak commands to add a contact to a current call, check their Dialpad voicemail and text messages, control the do not disturb feature, put a call on hold, and more.

“This is true mobility in the sense that up until now, you could take your calls from any of your existing devices, but you were still required to actually have physical access,” said Vincent Paquet, vice president of product for Dialpad. “Whether it's a computer, a smartphone, a deskphone, or a tablet, with Alexa we extend mobility to the last frontier so you can now make calls using Dialpad from anywhere without having to touch any of your devices.”

Also this week, Unified Communications wrote about new UC solutions from both PanTerra and MTS, as well as BroadSoft’s work with Telstra.

PanTerra has introduced a team collaboration offering called Streams. It allows users to do text messaging, and voice and video chatting, one to one or as part of a group.

The rise of Slack and its ilk has prompted many of the existing players in the business communications and UC arena to start talking more about team collaboration, to introduce new and improved team collaboration solutions, and even to make acquisitions.

Unified communications as a service specialist RingCentral in June of 2015 acquired team collaboration company Glip. And earlier this year 8x8 bought team collaboration outfit Sameroom.

A year ago Cisco and Unify made a push into team collaboration. Meanwhile, most of the other providers in business communications were taking a wait-and-see approach to this space, analyst Frank Stinson of IntelliCom Analytics recently told me. But over the past few months, he said, it has become clear that the unified communications as a service companies need to have team collaboration solutions.

As for the MTS news in Unified Communications this week, that involved the company announcing a new version of its eXsight UC&C Management Solution. This latest version has an improved user interface; as well as expanded reporting, provisioning, and control features; and more business intelligence to help users identify trends.

Meanwhile, Telstra and BroadSoft have been working together to expand the carrier’s UC offerings.

“As Australia’s largest telecommunications provider, Telstra plays a critical role in driving world-leading technologies and services throughout the country,” said Jonathan Reid, managing director for the Asia-Pacific region at BroadSoft. “We share a very similar view of how unified communications will transform the market in the years ahead and drive workplace productivity. We look forward to working closely with Telstra’s team to accelerate their success and leadership in the Australian unified communications market with the deployment of BroadSoft Business.”