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UCaaS provider success relies on 2 key strategies

In this roundup of UC blogs, analysts discuss what UCaaS providers need to do to compete in the market, why Google should look at a Slack acquisition and Poly's new Studio X Series.

The cloud communications market is crowded, and it's challenging for vendors to stand out from the competition. J Arnold & Associates analyst Jon Arnold explained in a blog that, to be successful, unified communications-as-a-service providers need to consider more than just today's cloud communications problems. Arnold mapped out two paths to success UCaaS providers can take to differentiate their services.

One approach is to focus on the SMB market. Cloud communications providers focusing on SMBs should closely examine where legacy technology isn't keeping up with newer cloud options, Arnold said. Legacy technology nearing end of life, especially telephony, is a prime candidate for cloud migration. A cloud option is a quick and easy transition, and since most of the needed core technology lives in the cloud, most SMBs should have the IT budget for the transition, he said.

The second approach is to focus on cloud services beyond telephony. Arnold noted that, while cloud service providers are adept at addressing current business needs, they should focus more on productivity tools if they want to protect their revenue streams.

UCaaS providers need to set their sights on innovations and new technology integrations, such as AI-driven tools, that automate manual tasks, he said.

Read more about how providers can better position themselves for success in the overcrowded cloud communications market.

Why Google should consider acquiring Slack

Team messaging is a highly valued tool for organizations, and Slack has been the reigning champion of that market space for some time. As more vendors began integrating team messaging with other collaboration tools, TalkingPointz analyst Dave Michels speculated whether Google should consider acquiring Slack.

Meetings, telephony and messaging are being integrated into single cohesive platforms, Michels wrote. Slack addresses only the messaging part of the equation, and Google offers both meetings and telephony with G Suite and Gmail, he said.

Google needs a strong messaging tool in order to compete with products like Microsoft's Office 365, Michels said. Initially, Google planned to release Hangouts Chat this year, but it is now on hold until sometime in 2020. If Google acquired Slack, it would have an API-rich messaging application to pair with Hangouts Meet, Google Voice and other G Suite apps, he said.

A Slack acquisition could position Google to reach more customers, Michels said. With Microsoft working to push its Office 365 subscribers to Microsoft Teams, a Slack acquisition by Google could increase market competition.

Check out the other factors that could drive Google to acquire Slack.

Poly shows off newest rooms offering

The newest additions to the Poly Studio X Series -- the X30 and X50 video conferencing offerings -- have everything needed for an easy setup. A demo of the Poly Studio X Series was the biggest showstopper at the recent 2019 Poly Analyst Event, according to Recon Research analyst Jim Kelly.

The Studio X Series is dedicated Zoom Rooms appliances Kelly described as quick to install, with only three cables required to get one up and running.

What sets the Studio X Series offerings apart from other Zoom Rooms equipment is the built-in computer, said Ira Weinstein, analyst at Recon Research. The equipment is preloaded with Zoom and has a coordinating touchpad for controls, so an additional tablet or laptop is not required, he said.

While the X30 is intended for smaller huddle spaces of up to four people and the X50 for larger groups of up to eight, Kelly said both systems have the same look and feel.

"What I really liked about them is they have a great design language now," Kelly said. "It's clean. It's sleek. It has a really modern look to it."

Learn more about what products and plans were presented at the 2019 Poly Analyst Event.

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