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The Innovation Showcase at Enterprise Connect highlights startups that are doing new and interesting things in the unified communications market. This year, the Innovation Showcase focused on the theme of mobility, and six vendors were chosen to exhibit their mobile innovations.
Dave Michels, analyst at TalkingPointz and director of the Innovation Showcase, said the startups reflect an industry trend.
"There is a shift occurring in enterprise communication away from one vendor providing the whole solution to a number of best practices and partners to optimize custom solutions," he said. While these startups may not fit into an enterprise traditionally, many of them have partnered with major vendors and integrate with existing services to create specialized offerings.
The showcase is the vendors' first time exhibiting at the conference. Michels said the showcase is an opportunity for startups to increase their profile and network with other vendors. In 2011, Fonolo, a cloud-based call-back service provider, was in the Innovation Showcase and won Best of Enterprise Connect the following year.
Read on and watch this video to learn more about these startups' mobile innovations.
Leveraging WebRTC APIs for real-time voice and video
Agora.io is a platform that provides companies with real-time voice and video around the world with an overlay network that monitors the quality of real-time traffic. Lawrence Byrd, technology evangelist for Agora.io, said the startup focuses on three areas: the backbone, device and network.
The company has more than 70 data centers around the world that allow the platform to minimize bottlenecks, packet loss and latency. The platform supports voice and video communications on a range of devices, including iOS and Android devices, and WebRTC-supported browsers.
Agora.io also offers software development kits that allow organizations to integrate call functionality with their applications and websites.
"We provide APIs to let people put voice and video into any communication," Byrd said.
One mobile app to rule your conference calls
Folio3 developed a mobile collaboration connection application, Meeting Mogul. The app syncs with the calendar on a mobile device, adds meetings and puts them in an agenda. Users can create an agenda or take notes to share with meeting participants.
The app integrates with WebEx and GoToMeeting and allows users to connect to those meetings from the app. Users can also set favorite dial-in numbers and their own conferencing bridge to schedule their meetings from that number, said Adnan Lawai, CEO of Folio3.
The app is a mobile innovation for workers who travel internationally as it uses local dialing and voice over IP to make sure users can call into a meeting with the lowest cost option, he said.
"Whether you're sitting in a conference room jotting down a few notes, dialing into a conference call, or getting into WebEx," Lawai said, "we want to be the default connection platform for collaboration."
Multiple phone numbers, one mobile device
Mast Mobile offers mobile innovations by positioning itself as a next-generation mobile carrier and giving workers one device to access all their work and personal numbers.
Users can purchase a smartphone or SIM card that enables them to have multiple phone numbers on one device, and gives organizations control over the work number.
"We enable them to cut the cord, as consumers have been doing, and get rid of desk phones and legacy office infrastructure so they can go entirely mobile," said David Messenger, CEO of Mast Mobile.
Mast Mobile's service allows organizations to set policies, do split billing and secure work numbers while maintaining the privacy of users' personal numbers. The service also integrates with customer relationship management (CRM) apps like Salesforce.
Messenger said PBX functionality is built directly into the mobile number and that a user's desk phone number can become the work number associated with the service.
Extending mobile customer engagement
QWASI offers services that integrate communication with business workflows and applications to enhance customer engagement. The company focuses on the verticals of retail, hospitality, finance, manufacturing and the Internet of Things (IoT).
QWASI aims to help businesses target customers and keep them engaged after they have downloaded an app, said John Wharton, vice president of business development.
Wharton said QWASI uses APIs to give businesses a broad view of a customer on all channels. QWASI offers features like integration with social media and point-of-sale systems for targeted advertising.
"It allows companies to take the rich knowledge of information and make it relevant in the mobile world," he said.
QWASI is partnered with Cisco and leverages Tropo APIs for services.
Improving hospital-patient collaboration
SpinSci Technologies' mobile innovations look to solve two problems in hospitals. The first is improving the patient experience when calling a hospital and the second is improving the staff experience with communication and collaboration.
The company offers two services to address these problems. Agenta Snap is a mobile collaboration offering that integrates across applications, including CRM and ERP, and devices for a seamless experience for patients and hospital workers.
Agenta Cloud extends the contact center to the cloud and is supported by Cisco Tropo and Spark. Rajit Kumar, CEO of SpinSci, said Agenta Cloud helps hospitals communicate proactively with patients. For example, a patient receiving home care would have a sensor that connects to Agenta Cloud and communicates with the hospital's call center. This allows hospital workers to react to a patient's needs without requiring the patient to reach out.
Leveraging the Internet of Things in the hospital
Tagnos leverages IoT for real-time location tracking and services for hospitals.
"Every process that you can think of today can get optimized that much more with real-time data and tracking," said Neeraj Bhavani, CEO of Tagnos.
With the service, patients wear a disposable location bracelet that gives doctors, nurses and care teams real-time updates on a patient's progress and location during a hospital stay. The service allows hospitals to track how a patient's care compares with the metrics it sets for things like wait times.
Tagnos is a Cisco partner and leverages Tropo APIs and Spark for what Bhavani calls a "real-time mobile engagement service." This allows doctors, nurses and other hospital employees to communicate on any device in a Spark room or with text messaging supported by Tropo, which syncs with the appropriate Spark room.