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UC blogs: Microsoft UC rebranding gamble

In this week's UC blogs, analysts discuss why Microsoft's UC platform rebranding is such a gamble and how American Express is setting the standard for WebRTC video use.

Nemertes Research Vice President Irwin Lazar writes about Microsoft's Enterprise Connect keynote, where the vendor released more details of its rebranding of Lync to Skype for Business. Lazar says the branding of Microsoft's UC platform was a gamble despite a history of the platform going through several name changes.

He writes the decision to rebrand Lync and Office 365's Lync Online as Skype for Business and Skype for Business Cloud, respectively, is an effort to bring the familiar user experience of Skype to its business platform. Offering seamless federation with Skype also helps Microsoft differentiate itself from its competition, Lazar writes.

Read more about why Lazar says Microsoft's Lync rebranding received mixed reactions among IT leaders.

American Express sets WebRTC video standard

Analyst Tsahi Levent-Levi discusses his favorite session at Enterprise Connect: "Real-World WebRTC Deployments." At the panel discussion, Brian Barnes, vice president of world service and global credit administration technology at American Express, discussed how the financial services company used WebRTC to improve its customer support by deploying a self-service video system in its mobile app.

Levent-Levi writes the video system is based on technology from Cisco and CaféX Communications, whose WebRTC-based customer service platform won the 2014 Best of Enterprise Connect award. He says American Express is showing the way of the future of communication, as the platform allows customers to use the channel of their choice and stick with that channel through the entire process.

Read more about why Levent-Levi believes WebRTC brings value to American Express's customer service.

Verizon hosted VoIP platform reaches out to SMBs

Analyst Jon Arnold discusses his briefing with Verizon about its hosted VoIP platform: Virtual Communications Express. He writes that the platform is an attempt by Verizon to appeal to small and midsize businesses (SMBs).

Arnold writes that SMBs have historically been low-priority customers for large carriers, and SMBs have opted for cable operators, CLECs and over-the-top providers for voice services that don't require locked-in, long-term contracts.

Arnold writes that Verizon is hitting the right notes by offering features that are important to SMBs like auto attendant, visual voicemail, mobile integration with Apple and Android, and softphone support. There is also no required, long-term contract. However, Verizon does face a branding challenge, as most people associate the carrier with enterprise customers.

Read more to learn how one SMB deployed Verizon's Virtual Communications Express.

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