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Fuze links cloud communications platform with customer service data

In UC news, Fuze integrates its cloud communications platform with customer service systems, and BroadSoft's quarterly revenue rises, but profits tumble.

Unified communications vendor Fuze has rolled out Fuze Connect, which integrates existing line-of-business applications with the Fuze cloud communications platform. The software integrates with an enterprise's customer data so end users can access real-time data about a caller before answering a call.

Enterprise applications, such as customer service systems, house important data, including relationship contacts, notes from past conversations and sales opportunities. This information, often stored separately from business communications platforms, can help improve customer interactions. Fuze Connect aims to link those customer insights with the cloud communications platform.

Fuze standardizes the customer service applications through a universal connector. The integration provides caller context, and interacts with the enterprise platform back end, which lets employees add contacts and call notes from a Fuze Connect screen pop.

In other Fuze news this month, the vendor closed $104 million in new funding, which brought the company's total amount to more than $300 million. Also, Fuze named Colin Doherty as its new CEO to replace Steve Kokinos, who will serve as executive chairman.

Doherty is the former CEO of Dyn, which was in the news last year after it was hit with a massive DDoS attack that disrupted internet service. Earlier this year, Oracle completed its acquisition of Dyn, which now operates as an Oracle infrastructure-as-a-service global business unit.

BroadSoft quarterly revenue up, net income down

BroadSoft Inc., a UC software as a service company, said profits fell 50% in the fourth quarter as the company shifts focus from service providers to enterprise customers. The company posted earnings of $5.8 million in the three-month period ending Dec. 31, compared to the $11.8 million in net income the company reported in the last quarter of 2015. Quarterly revenue rose 14% to $102 million, the first time the company eclipsed the $100 million mark in sales.

For the year, revenue was $341 million, an increase of 22% compared to $278.8 million in 2015. Net income for 2016 was about $800,000 compared to net income of about $200,000 in 2015.

BroadSoft sells its cloud communications platform to service providers, such as Verizon and Vonage, which then offer the UC capabilities to enterprises. But BroadSoft is starting to target businesses more directly with BroadSoft Business, which includes cloud-based communications via a BroadSoft partner. 

With this transition, BroadSoft is at a crossroads, said industry analyst Zeus Kerravala. "They put up some good numbers," he said. "But expect some lumpiness over the next year or so while they make this transition; but it's the right transition the company needed to make."

BroadSoft, based in Gaithersburg, Md., softened its financial guidance, saying it anticipates revenue of $78 million to $82 million for the first quarter of 2017.

In other BroadSoft news, the vendor launched a campaign to lure Avaya customers to migrate from Avaya's on-premises systems to BroadSoft cloud services. Avaya filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month. BroadSoft also announced artificial intelligence capabilities for its mobile service and Apple CallKit support for BroadSoft Business UC-One mobile apps.

Study shows workers excited, skeptical about AI

U.S. workers are both excited and skeptical of artificial intelligence in the workplace, according to a survey by Atlassian, owner of team collaboration service HipChat. Artificial intelligence (AI) has recently crept into unified communications in the form of automated scheduling, chatbots and virtual assistants.

Most of the more than 2,000 workers in the survey said AI, robotics and other forms of automation will introduce major changes to the way they work. Nearly 90% of workers said their jobs will change by 2020 due to AI. Nearly 40% of workers said they're already using some aspect of AI at work.

The survey found 86% of workers are excited about AI in the workplace while 87% are skeptical. Additionally, 80% of workers are worried AI could increase unemployment. The survey also highlighted the link between collaboration and AI, saying that AI can enhance teamwork, but ultimately teams need to improve their communications.

Next Steps

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