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Polycom phone portfolio supports Microsoft Cloud PBX

Polycom's line-of-business phones now offer support for Microsoft's telephony service, while the conferencing services market is seeing a shift toward video.

Polycom has announced its line-of-business phones will support and interoperate with Microsoft's Office 365 Cloud PBX service. Businesses looking to migrate to Office 365's Cloud PBX for telephony will be able to use Polycom's VVX business media phones and RealPresence Trio.

Seven of the VVX business media phone models are preconfigured with Skype for Business. The phones offer SIP interoperability and additional features like a touchscreen interface and group paging.

The RealPresence Trio supports integration across multiple unified communications (UC) platforms -- including Skype for Business -- and supports voice, content sharing, and video for conference rooms.

Ashan Willy, senior vice president of product management and worldwide systems engineering at Polycom, said Microsoft's Cloud PBX service is part of the "disruptive technology transformation" trend that is leading to the end of traditional PBXs.

The Skype for Business edition of the VVX business media phones and RealPresence Trio are currently available. A software update for the RealPresence Trio to enable integration with the Office 365 Cloud PBX service and Skype for Business 2015 will be available later this month.

Younger, remote workers drive changes in conferencing services

The demand for visual collaboration is driving a shift in the North American conferencing services market, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan. A younger and more remote workforce is driving organizations to offer more video conferencing tools that are rich in features and easy to use.

"As Millennials continue to make up a larger share of the workforce, video will become more pervasive and price points will drop with newer technologies, further fueling adoption," said Alaa Saayed, unified communications and collaboration industry manager at Frost & Sullivan.

The conferencing services market earned $4.5 billion in revenue in 2014 and is expected to reach $5.9 billion by 2021, according to the report. The individual market segments of hosted audio, Web, video and managed video conferencing will see varying growth rates over the next seven years.

The market's growth will face some challenges, the report noted. The popularity of consumer-grade and free conferencing tools is cutting into the demand for enterprise-grade tools. Competition among providers is affected because conferencing capabilities are often part of a larger UC bundle, which limits market potential, according to the report.

TeleWare features integrate with Skype for Business

TeleWare has launched cloud-based offerings for Skype for Business that allow users to integrate additional features with their current Skype for Business deployment.

TeleWare CEO Steve Haworth said the offerings were developed in response to the limitations with off-the-shelf UC offerings. He said there was customer demand for features like a recording capability that can be used within the Skype for Business interface. With the availability of Microsoft telephony services, integrating additional features into Skype for Business have become more important to offer businesses the ability to improve employee and customer engagement, agility and productivity.

TeleWare's offerings include:

  • Voice recording: Users can record voice calls through the Skype for Business interface. The recoding feature is Financial Conduct Authority and Dodd-Frank compliant.
  • Voicemail: Users can access visual voicemail on any device.
  • Interactive Voice Response: Allows businesses to offer alternative contact options, including call-back, SMS messaging and email.
  • Intelligent number: A number that is associated with a user and can be accessed on any device.
  • Analytics reporting: TeleWare's analytics service offers productivity and performance reports.

Gartner evaluates video content management vendors

Kaltura, Qumu and Panopto were named leaders in Gartner's latest Magic Quadrant report for video content management. Nearly one-quarter of workers in the U.S. and Europe have access to a video library at their organization, according to the report. The market has become extremely dynamic as video content management grows in popularity and new vendors have emerged.

Kaltura's strengths are in its hybrid delivery architecture, which allows video files to bridge on-premises and cloud storage and lets organizations choose their content delivery network (CDN). Kaltura also offers a rich set of ways to establish connections with enterprise security systems.

However, Gartner cautioned that Kaltura does not offer video on demand quality of service (QoS) dashboard features for users who need detailed, real-time statistics on performance. Kaltura also lacks formal partnerships with Web and video conferencing vendors.

Qumu was recognized for its strong real-time analytics of streaming performance and rich search capabilities that use phonetic analytics. Gartner cautioned that Qumu lacks formal partnerships with Web and video conferencing providers and that development of in-video interactivity allowing navigation is limited.

Panopto was named a leader for its ease of use and ability to capture video streams from external sources, like Web and video conferences. However, Panopto lacks formal partnerships with Web and video conferencing vendors and CDN providers. Panopto also offers less QoS dashboarding than other vendors.

Next Steps

Microsoft telephony tightens Cisco competition

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Video conferencing's evolution empowers new users

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