Event Platforms Bloom in a World Gone Hybrid


Summary Bullets:

G. Willsky

• The best event platforms enable execution of hybrid events spanning in-person and virtual attendees.

• Event organizers benefit disproportionately from event platforms as compared to attendees.

When COVID-19 arrived, virtual meetings became de rigueur seemingly overnight. Almost as soon as vaccines began to be administered and a pandemic ‘exit strategy’ took shape, team collaboration platforms graduated from facilitating ‘meetings’ to enabling ‘events’. What features do event platforms typically possess and are these platforms worthy of accolades? Let’s find out.

Team collaboration platforms have expanded to include large-scale, multi-session events and conferences. Such affairs are reminiscent of the pre-COVID world when no one thought twice about jetting to destinations near and far to cram into hotel venue rooms or convention centers. The best platforms today reflect the need for some to join from the comfort and solitude of a home or office while others navigate crowds traversing miles of institutional carpeting stretching under their feet. Vendors such as Cisco, Microsoft, and Zoom have invested heavily in fortifying their event capabilities.

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X Marks the Spot: Employees Company-wide Support the Customer Experience via XCaaS

Summary Bullets:

Gregg Profile Photo
G. Willsky

• In combining UCaaS and CCaaS, XCaaS acknowledges that ultimately, employees from all parts of an organization jointly drive the customer experience.

• While the term “Customer Experience as-a-Service” sounds like a gimmick, cloud-based communication, collaboration, and customer service technology are firmly entrenched and will remain so.

XCaaS = UCaaS + CCaaS

On the surface, this equation may resemble algebra, trigonometry, or an amalgam of the two. But you won’t spot it in any mathematics textbook.

Instead, this summation depicts an alchemy that has arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has driven much higher usage of UCaaS (i.e., Unified Communications as-a-Service) and CCaaS (i.e., Contact Center as-a-Service) solutions which in turn has created a hyper-focus on employee communication and collaboration as well as serving customers. In combining UCaaS and CCaaS, XCaaS (i.e., Customer Experience as-a-Service) is an acknowledgement that every employee ultimately serves the customer, both those who are customer facing and those who are not, and facilitates communication and collaboration between those two universes to optimize the customer experience.

Continue reading “X Marks the Spot: Employees Company-wide Support the Customer Experience via XCaaS”

Cisco Aims to Facilitate Events Suited for the Post-Pandemic World

Summary Bullets:

Gregg Profile Photo
G. Willsky

• Socio’s platform enables execution of hybrid events spanning in-person and virtual attendees.

• Event organizers benefit disproportionately from the platform as compared to meeting attendees.

In May 2021, Cisco announced its intention to acquire Socio Labs, an event management platform provider. The acquisition is expected to finalize in Cisco’s Q4 fiscal year 2021 (May-July) subject to customary closing conditions and required regulatory approvals. Cisco declined to reveal the value of the transaction.

Socio’s platform enables execution of hybrid events mixing in-person and virtual attendees. As the end of the COVID-19 pandemic draws nearer, “hybrid” has emerged in the lexicon to represent a new normal in the workplace – a blending of in-office and virtual employees. Cisco’s new events capability is a corollary to that reality.

Continue reading “Cisco Aims to Facilitate Events Suited for the Post-Pandemic World”

Zoom Sheds Its Video-Centric Roots and Blossoms into a Complete UC&C Vendor

Summary Bullets:

G. Willsky

• Zoom was first to market with a free platform combined with one-click meeting access. Usage quickly soared.

• Zoom’s popularity has generated challenges but the company has addressed them head-on.

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the work environment. Enterprises have been forced to adapt with unprecedented speed to radically altered ways of doing business both internally and when engaging with customers, vendors, and suppliers. Flexible working and enhanced collaboration are now hardwired into organizations large, small, and in-between.

Continue reading “Zoom Sheds Its Video-Centric Roots and Blossoms into a Complete UC&C Vendor”

Virtual Care via BlueJeans Telehealth from Verizon Business Echoes In-Person Appointments

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G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

  • The new BlueJeans Telehealth solution narrows the gap in quality between the traditional connected health model and an in-office visit.
  • Verizon Business could leverage the technological expertise amassed in building BlueJeans Telehealth towards similar solutions for additional verticals.

The practice of administering medical care in a virtual setting has become routine. Nevertheless, remote engagement between patients and medical professionals still lags in quality to an in-office visit.  The new BlueJeans Telehealth solution by Verizon Business narrows this gap by augmenting the traditional connected health model.  While BlueJeans Telehealth positions Verizon Business well in the healthcare vertical, the competition is not sitting still and thus success is by no means assured. Continue reading “Virtual Care via BlueJeans Telehealth from Verizon Business Echoes In-Person Appointments”

RingCentral Puts Competitors on Notice

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G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

  • Recent initiatives have increased brand awareness for RingCentral and enhanced its reputation in the unified communication and collaboration market.
  • RingCentral’s diverse portfolio of voice, video, messaging, and contact center services makes it a competitor to be taken seriously.  

RingCentral is by no means a new kid on the block.  Last month marked 22 years in operation.  Since the time of its founding, noteworthy milestones have been reached.  For example, in 2003, the company introduced its cloud phone system. In 2009, a presence in the UK was established.  In 2012, a partnership was forged with AT&T.  In 2013, an IPO was completed.  Fast forward to the present and RingCentral continues to achieve.  In the past year alone, the company has propelled forward with new features, new services, strategic partnerships, and acquisitions.  RingCentral is serving notice to competitors: ignore it at your own peril.

Continue reading “RingCentral Puts Competitors on Notice”

Avaya Spaces Expands with New Capabilities

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G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

  • Avaya has added a multitude of capabilities to Avaya Spaces, a collaboration tool that enables integrations with other applications.
  • Avaya Spaces is part of the ‘OneCloud’ portfolio, which is playing a pivotal role in Avaya’s transformation from a legacy provider to an as-a-service business.

Avaya has added a multitude of capabilities to Avaya Spaces, a collaboration tool that enables integrations with apps such as Salesforce, Office 365, G-Suite, and Slack.  Spaces is built on Avaya’s communications platform-as-a-service offering (Avaya OneCloud Cloud CPaaS).  It allows businesses to connect workstream collaboration capabilities with existing on-premises equipment.

Continue reading “Avaya Spaces Expands with New Capabilities”

The Impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. WAN Market

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

  • SD-WAN improves network performance, saves costs, and helps organizations remain agile. Thus, adoption has increased, especially since the onset of COVID-19.
  • SD-WAN treats the home environment as a branch of the corporate network. For this reason, it will play a key role supporting the post-pandemic, remote workforce.

COVID-19 greatly disrupted the U.S. WAN market. Virtually overnight, the pandemic forced businesses to support a distributed, remote workforce while ensuring continuity. COVID-19 underscored the importance of agility and the need to carefully choose a WAN deployment model. Service providers have responded well to the crisis, but their ability to address long-term impacts is unclear. Continue reading “The Impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. WAN Market”

COVID-19: The Contact Center Takes the Spotlight

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

• The COVID-19 pandemic has generated a seismic shift in contact centers on multiple fronts.

• Almost overnight, the strategic role contact centers play in supporting the customer experience has entered the spotlight.

The COVID-19 pandemic has generated a seismic shift in contact centers on multiple fronts. First, almost overnight contact centers have transformed from physical locations filled with agents and their supervisors to having a virtual presence where all staff work remotely. Second, now contact centers are the result of an evolution from voice-centric call centers as they handle multiple channels. Third, with options for in-person service limited or unavailable, contact centers have become central to managing the customer experience. How has the metamorphosis of contact centers transpired? That question will be examined in this post.

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RingCentral Jumps on the Freemium Bandwagon with RingCentral Glip Pro

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

  • RingCentral is playing catch-up to competitors such as Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft, which already offer freemium plans.
  • Offering a freemium plan is a double-edged sword, but there are steps RingCentral can take to avoid pitfalls.

RingCentral just introduced RingCentral Glip Pro, a freemium version of RingCentral Glip. RingCentral Glip Pro combines RingCentral Video videoconferencing introduced in April with team messaging, file sharing, contact, task, and calendar management capabilities. Offering a freemium plan enables RingCentral to close a gap with competitors. However, providing a freemium offer also presents potential pitfalls. Fortunately, there are steps RingCentral can take to avoid mishaps. Continue reading “RingCentral Jumps on the Freemium Bandwagon with RingCentral Glip Pro”