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VIA Targets the Public Sector with G-Cloud 10 approval

By admin

20.07.18 – After growing in the SME marketplace, VIA has gained public sector framework access to strategically target the public sector.

VIA, known for their Skype for Business and Contact Centre services have been selected onto the G-Cloud 10 framework supplier list under the Crown Commercial Service. G-Cloud 10 enables public sector organisations to buy VIA UC and VIA Contact Centre, the Skype for Business based unified communications services.

As part of VIA’s public sector push, VIA have formed a strategic partnership with Softcat, one of the UK’s leading IT infrastructure providers, to offer their unified communications across many public service frameworks.

Alex Tebbs, Sales Director of VIA says, “VIA has always attracted public sector and non-profit clients as we are known to be an expert in education, charity and local government. Being listed on G-Cloud 10 through The Digital Marketplace and our partnership with Softcat helps us service more public-sector organisations who are looking to revolutionise their communication systems.”

Under G Cloud 10, VIA are listed in the Cloud Software service categories, offering:

  • VIA UC – Skype for Business unified communications.
  • VIA Contact Centre – A feature-rich Skype for Business call centre service.
  • VIA Command and Control (turrets) – Mission critical voice dispatch.

Partnering with Softcat, VIA is available through the following public-sector frameworks.

  • Crown Commercial Service
  • HealthTrust Europe
  • NoE CPC
  • Crescent Purchasing Consortium (CPC)
  • Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium (SUPC) / SUPC Software


About VIA

VIA is the leading company in the Unified Communications market. VIA has grown to be the largest provider of hosted Skype for Business in the UK.

VIA’s main products, VIA UC & VIA Contact Centre, enable organisations to consolidate all their voice, instant messaging, video calls and conferencing into one simple to use system. VIA’s products bring new efficiencies to customers as well as providing cost and efficiency savings.

Based in Nottingham and started by three friends, Alex Tebbs, Eddie Worthington and Gareth Sobocinski, the company has grown from an idea around a kitchen table to a company that is doubling turnover every year and is now on track to make revenues in excess of £3 million.

For more information, please contact:

–          Christopher Fitton – VIA’s marketing manager

–          Telephone: 0203 004 5910

–          Email:

–          Or visit: for more information

More information about G-Gloud

The Crown Commercial Service state, “Since 2012, more than £3 billion of cloud and digital services have been procured by public bodies through G-Cloud, with 48 per cent of that spend going directly to SMEs. G-Cloud gives central government, local councils, NHS Trusts and other public-sector bodies a way to purchase cloud-based services such as web hosting from a single, central website.”

To Learn More about G-Cloud Click Here:

The post VIA Targets the Public Sector with G-Cloud 10 approval appeared first on Unified Communication.

Cisco, Oblong, and LG Come Together to Optimize Meeting Experience, New Bundle Offered Through ScanSource

By admin

Los Angeles, CA (July 24, 2018) – Oblong Industries, Inc., the pioneer of interactive spatial computing environments for the new era of collaborative work, announced today a new distribution agreement with ScanSource, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCSC) a leading global provider of technology products and solutions, to meet the growing demand for advanced collaboration technology for the enterprise. This is the first time that Mezzanine, the groundbreaking platform for immersive collaboration by Oblong Industries, will be available through distribution to the ProAV market – in a unique new ScanSource bundle that also leverages the power of advanced commercial displays from LG Electronics and Webex Room Kit Series from Cisco.

With this more seamlessly integrated joint offering – Cisco Webex for virtual meeting excellence, LG for visual display excellence, and Oblong Mezzanine for a content-rich and immersive experience – collaborators in enterprises around the globe will be more productive and engaged. Together these vendors have focused on providing through ScanSource a modern meeting room solution for more effective teamwork that is simpler to specify, swifter to install, and easier to use.

Mezzanine joins the ScanSource line card with its entire product family, including the Mezzanine 600 Series for larger conference rooms and briefing centers, and the Mezzanine 200 Series solution for smaller teams and spaces. Mezzanine is defined by its unique user interface that makes it easy for collaborators (wherever they are) to share and control multiple content streams simultaneously. Mezzanine enables users to do this easily across Cisco’s Webex virtual meeting platform.

“End users are continuing to look for innovative UC solutions, and Mezzanine delivers a content-rich workplace collaboration experience that enables resellers to meet this growing demand,” said Brian Cuppett, senior vice president, ScanSource KBZ. “We look forward to providing this content-centric conferencing solution, in addition to support, training and services for our reseller partners’ continued success.”

With this integrated offering from Cisco, Oblong, and LG, a new product bundle was developed by ScanSource to answer the call for meeting experiences that elevate the role of content in collaborative work sessions. The new product bundle brings the Cisco Webex Room Kit and Cisco Webex Room Kit Plus Collaboration Endpoints into the Oblong Mezzanine content collaboration platform and utilizes LG UH5C series commercial UHD displays to share information, video, graphics, and data from multiple sources simultaneously. Within this new content-rich visual meeting environment, insights are more easily surfaced, projects move ahead more quickly, and teams are more productive.

Initially, this product bundle will be offered in two sizes mapped to Oblong’s popular Mezzanine 200 Series with dual LG displays for smaller team collaboration, and the Mezzanine 600 series for more immersive environments wrapping a room in an LG pixel-rich canvas for high-value work. Special incentives built within this bundle are set to enhance Mezzanine’s proven ROI.

By collaborating on this specific product bundle at ScanSource, market leaders Cisco, Oblong, and LG signal their intent to work together on streamlining the technical details of the installation process with components optimized prior to arrival on the job site for a conference room build or refresh.  Installation wizards will facilitate the process for AV integration specialists and will reduce the time it takes to get systems up and running.

“The introduction of this new product bundle means that it is now easier to specify and install a state-of-the-art system for immersive visual collaboration utilizing our popular Webex Meetings and Teams platforms with Webex Room Kits to bring people together,” said Finn Helge Lunde, Director of Product Management, Cisco.

Clark Brown, vice president, digital signage, LG Business Solutions, concurs. “Driven by advances in display technologies, more visual and collaborative experiences are redefining today’s workplace. LG commercial displays, bundled by ScanSource with Oblong and Cisco technologies, exploit the rapid expansion of information, graphic and data, creating new ways for people to meet and collaborate,” he said.

Stephen Vobbe, VP of Business Development at Oblong Industries, concludes, “With the finest collaboration endpoints and displays combined with Mezzanine, which sets the bar for multi-screen collaboration as noted by Gartner analysts, organizations have a new and extremely engaging standard of excellence for their meeting spaces.”

About ScanSource, Inc.

ScanSource, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCSC) is a leading global provider of technology products and solutions, focusing on point-of-sale (POS), payments, barcode, physical security, unified communications and collaboration, cloud and telecom services. ScanSource’s teams provide value-added solutions and operate from two segments, Worldwide Barcode, Networking & Security and Worldwide Communications & Services. ScanSource is committed to helping its customers choose, configure and deliver the industry’s best solutions across almost every vertical market in North America, Latin America and Europe. Founded in 1992, the Company is headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina and was named one of the 2017 Best Places to Work in South Carolina. ScanSource ranks #647 on the Fortune 1000. For more information, please visit

About Oblong Industries

Oblong Industries’ innovative technologies change the way people work, create, and communicate. With roots in more than two decades of research at the MIT Media Lab, Oblong’s flagship product Mezzanine™ is an immersive visual collaboration solution that defines the next era of computing: simultaneous multi-user, multi-screen, multi-device, multi-location immersive visual collaboration. Mezzanine’s groundbreaking Infopresence capabilities multiply the effectiveness of distributed organizations and catalyze new, more effective, more collaborative workflows. Oblong is headquartered in Los Angeles and supplies Mezzanine systems to Fortune 500 enterprise customers and reseller partners.

Learn more at, and connect via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.


Media contacts:

Jennifer Üner, Oblong Industries, Inc

+1 213-683-8863 x 301

Chris Allieri, Mulberry & Astor Public Relations (USA)

+1 646 245 8937

Tanya Houston, Wildwood Public Relations (EMEA)

+44(0)1293 851 115


The post Cisco, Oblong, and LG Come Together to Optimize Meeting Experience, New Bundle Offered Through ScanSource appeared first on Unified Communication.

Crestron Wins 2018 Microsoft Global IoT Partner of the Year Award

By admin

Built on Microsoft Azure® platform, Crestron XiO Cloud IoT-based cloud service recognised for revolutionising provisioning and management of workplace solutions.


Cobham, Surrey – July 16, 2018 – Crestron, a global leader in control and automation technology for the modern workplace, today accepted the prestigious 2018 Microsoft Global Partner of the Year Award for Internet of Things (IoT) in a ceremony at the Microsoft Inspire event in Las Vegas. Microsoft® recognised Crestron for providing outstanding solutions in IoT in the form of Crestron XiO Cloud, a revolutionary IoT-based provisioning and management solution built on the Microsoft Azure® platform. Crestron XiO Cloud is revolutionising provisioning and management of Crestron’s popular open UC, room scheduling, AV, and content sharing solutions at the world’s leading companies, resulting in up to 90% reductions in installation time, improvements in device uptime, and optimisation of people, space, and technology.

Powering the digital transformation

As businesses across every industry continue along their digital transformation journey, Crestron IoT enabled automation and control solutions enable facility management and IT staff to control entire environments with a push of a button or click of a mouse, integrating audio, video, digital signage, scheduling, lighting, building management systems (BMS), HVAC and security systems.  The strength of Crestron IoT-enabled devices and systems is their integration in the Crestron XiO Cloud, providing all-in-one monitoring, management and control from a single platform.


“Intelligent workplace solutions are the springboard for digital transformation- but managing the devices that enable it can be costly and complicated.  Crestron XiO Cloud reduces the complexities associated with deploying, tracking, managing and evolving the ecosystem of IoT enabled devices that make communication and collaboration seamless.  Crestron is honoured to be recognised by Microsoft for developing game-changing connected technologies that help propel digital transformation at Fortune 500® companies worldwide,” said Ted Colton, Vice President of Unified Communication Strategies at Crestron.


Celebrating partner achievement

The annual Microsoft Partner of the Year awards celebrate top Microsoft partners who demonstrate excellence in innovation and implementation of customer solutions based on Microsoft technology. Microsoft received more than 2,600 nominations from 115 countries for the 2018 programme. The IoT category was judged by a number of IoT stakeholders and leaders from Microsoft Common Data Service, One Commercial Partner, Windows and Azure. The judges selected the winners based on their commitment to customers, the solution’s impact on the market, and exemplary use of Microsoft technologies.


“Our ecosystem of partners is crucial to delivering transformative solutions, and this year’s winners have proven to be some of the finest among their peers,” said Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner, Microsoft Corp. “We are pleased to recognise Crestron for being selected as winner of the 2018 Microsoft IoT Partner of the Year award.”


About Crestron

At Crestron we build the technology that integrates technology. Our automation and control solutions for homes and buildings let people control entire environments with the push of a button, integrating systems such as AV, lighting, shading, security, BMS and HVAC to provide greater comfort, convenience and security. All of our products are designed and built to work together as a complete system, enabling you to monitor, manage and control everything from one platform.


Our products are backed by more than 90 fully-staffed offices that provide 24 x 7 x 365 sales, technical, and training support across the globe. In addition to its World Headquarters in Rockleigh, New Jersey, Crestron has sales and support offices throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Australia. Discover the world of Crestron by visiting


All brand names, product names, and trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Certain trademarks, registered trademarks, and trade names may be used in this document to refer to either the entities claiming the marks and names or their products. Crestron disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others. Crestron is not responsible for errors in typography or photography. ©2018 Crestron Electronics, Inc.


For more information, please contact:


Petra van Meeuwen                           or                     Emily McKay 

Media Relations Director                                            Junior PR Executive EMEA
Crestron EMEA                                                          Crestron EMEA

Munro House                                                              Munro House

Portsmouth Road                                                        Portsmouth Road

Cobham, Surrey                                                         Cobham, Surrey

KT11 1TF                                                                    KT11 1TF


Tel: 0845 873 8787                                                                                 


To get all the latest news, information and product updates, “Like” us on Facebook®, follow us on Twitter® and connect with us on LinkedIn® – See more at:

The post Crestron Wins 2018 Microsoft Global IoT Partner of the Year Award appeared first on Unified Communication.


By admin

Challenge: To provide a user-friendly control solution for a central collaboration hub, at the heart of Condé Nast International’s new London HQ.

Solution: A future-proof Crestron solution, built upon Crestron DigitalMedia™ system, with Crestron TSW-760 and TSW-1060 touch screens and Crestron AirMedia® Presentation software to provide a revolutionary, interactive collaborative hub for Condé Nast International employees.

Due to the rapid expansion of its Digital Team, the Condé Nast International Headquarters was re-located to the banks of the River Thames, overlooking the iconic London eye.  The new HQ for the world-renowned publishing house, which produces well known titles including Vogue, World of Interiors, WIRED and House & Garden, is a breath of fresh air for its two-hundred plus employees. Designed to create a working environment with a sense of community, the HQ is an inspirational and engaging space, bringing together employees from all 143 magazines, almost 100 websites and more than 150 tablet and mobile apps, all under one roof.

Architects MCM worked with an internal Condé Nast International ‘move team’ to come up with the idea to create a ‘central hub’ auditorium in the new stairwell, linking the two floors of the Adelphi building. This created a desired heart to the office space, where teams of people could come together socially to collaborate. Working closely alongside MCM, was IT, communication and audio-visual technology specialists, MiX Consultancy and audio-visual integration experts, AVMI (formerly Focus 21), who together went one step further to develop the hub area with a giant media wall, with the ability to showcase the company’s digital imagery and supported collaborative working.

MiX Consultancy and AVMI chose Crestron’s control technology for the project, due to its flexible and reliable user-friendly inter-face. Simplicity was a key element to the project and the Crestron solution fitted this perfectly.

The HQ’s ‘central hub’ LED media wall, which spans across two floors, is centralised by Crestron DigitalMedia™. The technology underpins the system by providing an end-to-end solution for managing and distributing digital AV and control signals, for flexible and easy connectivity by any employee, via laptops, phones or any other portable device to share visual posters, video content, music and event info, which is also easily connected via Apple’s wireless streaming software, AirPlay. Content sharing is also made possible via Crestron AirMedia® Presentation software, for wireless sharing of presentations using PowerPoint®, Excel®, Word and PDF documents. Crestron TSW-760 and TSW-1060 touch screens in both black and white smooth finishes, allow for the media wall and other outlets throughout the HQ to be accessed simply and wirelessly at the touch of a button. With edge-to-edge glass, advanced high-definition Smart Graphics®, voice recognition, web browsing and a built-in camera, the touch screens simplify and enhance the way the technology is used, doing away with endless remote controls and cluttering wall switches.

“The media wall had to be beautiful, but also practical, and the goal was to create a simple user experience. To achieve this, the technology solution needed to be intuitive, open, approachable and reactive, with interactive support for all, across all functions,” comments Lynnette Lawrance, Project Manager, Condé Nast International Digital. “We had one aim, you shouldn’t need loads of training, it should just work, the solution should be clear enough that my mum could do it. The interface is so straightforward that anyone can use it.  We made it so everyone in the office can link to it with their laptop but also any visitors could just share with their phone using Crestron AirMedia®.”

“Crestron was used throughout the office to provide best-in-breed video distribution and control which helped keep the user experience the same no matter which meeting room was being used.  The easy to use icon control panel meant that anyone, be it staff, guest or the cleaners could operate the screens throughout the building.” Comments Phil Hallchurch, AV Consultant at MiX Consultancy.

Since the project was completed earlier this year, there is a new sense of ambition and team work throughout the office. The central hub has become a pivotal part of employee life, where teams can share their latest and greatest achievements, to reflect the monumental company they work for.

To learn more about Crestron’s market leading technology and how it can be employed within working environments visit

Kit list available on request.

About Crestron

At Crestron we build the technology that integrates technology. Our automation and control solutions for homes and buildings let people control entire environments with the push of a button, integrating systems such as AV, lighting, shading, security, BMS and HVAC to provide greater comfort, convenience and security. All of our products are designed and built to work together as a complete system, enabling you to monitor, manage and control everything from one platform.

Our products are backed by more than 90 fully-staffed offices that provide 24 x 7 x 365 sales, technical, and training support across the globe. In addition to its World Headquarters in Rockleigh, New Jersey, Crestron has sales and support offices throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Australia. Discover the world of Crestron by visiting

All brand names, product names, and trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Certain trademarks, registered trademarks, and trade names may be used in this document to refer to either the entities claiming the marks and names or their products. Crestron disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others. Crestron is not responsible for errors in typography or photography. ©2018 Crestron Electronics, Inc.


For more information, please contact:

Petra van Meeuwen                                      or                               Samantha Ward
Media Relations Director                                                               Senior Account Manager
Crestron EMEA                                                                                Wildwood PR
Munro House                                                                                    The Stables
Portsmouth Road                                                                             Faygate Lane
Cobham, Surrey                                                                                Faygate, West Sussex
KT11 1TF                                                                                             RH12 4SJ

Tel: 0845 873 8787                                                                          Tel: 01293 851115                                                       

To get all the latest news, information and product updates, “Like” us on Facebook®, follow us on Twitter® and connect with us on LinkedIn® – See more at:


The post CONDÉ NAST INTERNATIONAL OPTS FOR CRESTRON FOR ITS NEW HQ appeared first on Unified Communication.

UC Specialist streamlines solution for Call Centres

By admin

Demand for a Skype for Business Contact Centre solution which allows businesses to reduce average call handling times, customer waiting times and improve customer satisfaction has led Nottingham-based VIA to further invest in its contact centre offering.

Last year, VIA, the Skype for Business and Unified Communications specialist launched its Contact Centre offering, called VIA Contact Centre, which features intelligent inbound call queuing, real-time wallboards and skills-based routing, determined by a clever in-built algorithm called Smart Agent Selection (SAS).

The current success of the VIA Contact Centre has been accounted to the solution having full unified communication features and being based on Skype for Business. Customers who  had wanted a contact centre product based on Skype for Business could not get this from Microsoft directly, so VIA decided to fill a gap in the market.

Now, a year since its launch, VIA is investing in increased product functionality to meet growing demand. New features include wallboards and dashboards to help contact centre agents and supervisors manage the contact centre in real time as well as the ability to look at historical data to see how the contact centre has been performing.

CRM integration for Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics, amongst other CRMs, is also newly-available. This makes dealing with enquiries much quicker, therefore reducing average call handling times for contact centre agents, as customer information is instantly available.

Sales director Alex Tebbs, who co-founded the company in 2012, said: “After many years of working with contact centres and businesses in the customer service sector, we knew there was a demand for a dedicated Skype for Business contact centre solution.

“We are really pleased that we’ve been able to help businesses such as Autovista Group to transform their communication platforms. We’ve a pipeline of new features and are excited to be releasing these to our customers soon.”

Autovista Group – Europe’s leading provider of independent pricing and specification data for the automotive industry – took the step of streamlining its various business communications across 19 global offices by introducing VIA UC and VIA Contact Centre. Now its 800 staff work from one central unified communications system, helping to ensure that the company’s flexible working ethos is practical to implement.

The firm uses the VIA Contact Centre solution specifically for its UK and European inbound call centre agents. Features include secure call and Instant Messaging (IM) recording, visual call queuing, wallboards and supervisor dashboards.

Simon Edwards, head of IT service management at Autovista Group, said: “We identified that we needed to unify our communications across our 19 office locations and after speaking to VIA, we decided that Skype for Business was the ideal solution for us as we could have office staff, as well as contact centre agents, use the same application. Autovista Group’s back office runs on Microsoft Office 365, so to have a Microsoft communication product with Skype for Business that seamlessly integrates with O365 was essential.

“Skype for Business was also indispensable in helping with the deployment of our flexible working strategy. With VIA UC, staff now have the options to work remotely or at different office locations and still feel connected to the rest of their colleagues due to the integrated communication system.

“Now that staff are all on the same system and using wired and wireless headsets, we can clearly see improvements across the offices and we can call or conference at a click of a button without having to go through the hassle of using other applications.”

About VIA

VIA is the leading company in the Unified Communications market. VIA has grown to be the largest provider of hosted Skype for Business in the UK.

VIA’s main products, VIA UC & VIA Contact Centre, enable organisations to consolidate all their voice, instant messaging, video calls and conferencing into one simple to use system. VIA’s products bring new efficiencies to customers as well as providing cost and efficiency savings.

Based in Nottingham and started by three friends, Alex Tebbs, Eddie Worthington and Gareth Sobocinski, the company has grown from an idea around a kitchen table to a company that is doubling turnover every year and is now on track to make revenues in excess of £3 million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Fitton – VIA’s Marketing Manager
Telephone: 0203 004 5910

Or visit: for more information.


The post UC Specialist streamlines solution for Call Centres appeared first on Unified Communication.

Oblong’s Mary Ann de Lares Norris to deliver keynote on the Digital Workplace at UC EXPO 2018

By admin

VP EMEA of Oblong Industries, Mary Ann de Lares Norris, will be taking part in this year’s UC EXPO on Thursday 17th May, addressing attendees in the Keynote Theatre on Shaping the Digital Workplace; the Importance of Collaboration for Industry 4.0

London (April 10, 2018) – Mary Ann de Lares Norris, VP EMEA of Oblong Industries, will take part in UC EXPO, the largest Unified Communications and Collaboration event in Europe. The two-day expo which takes place on the 16 and 17th May at ExCel London, is aimed at enterprises looking to find out how the latest unified communications can drive and support their business. The event showcases senior level insights from across the industry.

Mary Ann’s talk will focus on the importance of collaboration for Industry 4.0. Her talk will discuss how the profound digital transformation that is taking place globally is requiring enterprises to reconsider how they align their workforce to support the structural changes to the business environment.

Mary Ann comments:

As big business embarks on the era of Industry 4.0, enterprises must be ready to adapt in order to become Factories of the Future. This means embracing high-tech strategies, characterized by adaptability, innovation, resource efficiency and seamless collaboration, which can meet the challenges of a distributed workforce and create value. In my talk, I’ll explore the importance of collaboration for Industry 4.0 and discuss how it’s shaping the digital workplace. I’m looking forward to sharing my ideas at this year’s UC EXPO 2018, which looks set to be an exciting and engaging event for all those interested in the future of work.”

The 2018 UC EXPO event will bring together 6,000 ICT professionals, 100 specialist suppliers and world class exclusive education through 100 free to attend seminars. With two days of presentations, seminars and panel debates from industry leaders, Mary Ann de Lares Norris joins the roster of over 100 inspirational speakers.

In her talk, Mary Ann will be sharing not only industry insights but also Oblong customer stories—illustrating the business value of collaboration in today’s enterprise environment. Oblong’s innovative Mezzanine platform creates a common digital workspace where teams can share content and ideas, accelerate decision-making, and collaborate more effectively. Mezzanine creates a visually immersive meeting environment for collaborators, which powers content distribution across multiple screens in a single space and in connected spaces. The dynamic multi-screen workspace commands attention, and real-time content-sharing from multiple sources makes complex data accessible to all, so that team members can make better decisions together.

UC EXPO 2018 takes place on 16-17 May 2018 at ExCeL London. Registration for Mary Ann’s keynote session is free and can be booked via the event website The session will take place on Thursday 17th May 11:40 to 12:10 in the Keynote Theatre. 

About Oblong Industries

Oblong Industries’ innovative technologies change the way people work, create, and communicate. With roots in more than two decades of research at the MIT Media Lab, Oblong’s flagship product Mezzanine™ is an immersive visual collaboration solution that defines the next era of computing: simultaneous multi-user, multi-screen, multi-device, multi-location immersive visual collaboration. Mezzanine’s groundbreaking Infopresence capabilities multiply the effectiveness of distributed organizations and catalyze new, more effective, more collaborative workflows. Oblong is headquartered in Los Angeles and supplies Mezzanine systems to Fortune 500 enterprise customers and reseller partners. Learn more at, and connect via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.


The post Oblong’s Mary Ann de Lares Norris to deliver keynote on the Digital Workplace at UC EXPO 2018 appeared first on Unified Communication.

Crestron delivers secure conferencing solution at Semafone

By admin

Challenge:  To provide a streamlined end-to-end conferencing solution for global payment security company Semafone.  The new state-of-the-art installation needed to seamlessly integrate seven meeting rooms to support video/telephone conferencing and presentations, while providing an easy-to-use room scheduling service.


Solution:  An integrated Crestron Fusion™ solution, controlled via touch screens, delivers an intelligent monitoring and scheduling service to manage the meeting rooms, while Crestron Mercury™ provides high quality in-room conferencing.


Semafone tasked Crestron with installing an intuitive meeting room solution within their new UK offices, located in the heart of Guildford, Surrey. A leading provider of data security and compliance solutions for contact centres, Semafone selected Crestron due to its reputation for providing high quality, secure technology solutions.


An important aspect of the project was the integration of a room scheduling system, which could be accessible to all Semafone employees across the globe, as well as being simple to use. Crestron Fusion not only allows the user to book rooms, but also integrates with popular calendaring programs like Microsoft Exchange® and Office 365 to improve workflow and room usage. The Fusion software features global device monitoring, as well as data collection and reporting, to help optimise investment in people, spaces and technology.


Externally, each meeting room was fitted with a Crestron touch screen (TSW 560) to manage room bookings, feeding the information back to the Fusion software for monitoring. The touch screens allow quick and easy room booking and scheduling of ad-hoc meetings, without having to step foot inside the room. Their contemporary appearance with edge-to-edge glass makes for easy navigation around the screen, especially for those unfamiliar with the technology.


“When it comes to booking a room we simply go onto Outlook and select a meeting room”, explains Mandy Pattenden, Marketing Communications Director at Semafone. “Once the booking is accepted and confirmed, Crestron Fusion stores the details and displays them on the touch screen outside each room and the larger screen inside, so anyone can easily see whether the room is booked or available. The system also counts down when the meeting starts and indicates how much time you have left in the room, which helps ensure that you don’t overrun.”


A key product in the installation was Crestron’s latest all-in-one tabletop conference system, Crestron Mercury™, the only room solution that supports any video conferencing software. Easy to deploy and easy to manage, Crestron Mercury is a secure system that simplifies collaboration, turning meeting rooms into highly effective work spaces. Crestron Mercury enables Semafone’s staff and customers to work together and share content, irrespective of location. This is perfectly suited to the company whose client base now spans 25 countries, across five continents and covers a wide range of industry sectors including financial services, media, retail, utilities, travel and tourism and the public sector.


“The Crestron Mercury system is incredibly easy to use”, comments Mandy. “Learning the new system took very little training from the Crestron Mercury team and we’ve been very pleased by how versatile and flexible it is. For a company with international offices, customers and partners, it’s essential to have reliable channels of communication. Using Crestron Mercury has also helped reduce travel costs and time spent out of the office.”


Further adding to the user-friendly aspect, Crestron FlipTopsTM (FT 600) were installed within the conference tables, allowing instant and easy connectivity with any device, including HDMI®, RJ45, DisplayPort, USB and analog audio and video. Aesthetically pleasing, Crestron FlipTops enable wires and cables to be connected discreetly and tidily, making charging and connecting devices simple.


“When we moved to our new UK HQ, with a growing number of employees and more meeting rooms, we needed a much better system for managing meetings, presenting and video conferencing”, says Mandy. “Crestron’s conferencing solution has provided a state-of-the-art system, which enables the team to work efficiently and effortlessly.”


To learn more about Crestron’s market leading conference technology and how it can be employed within working environments visit

The post Crestron delivers secure conferencing solution at Semafone appeared first on Unified Communication.

Dialpad Debuts New Gmail Add-on in G Suite Marketplace

By admin

Dialpad, the pure-cloud business communications provider, and a Recommended for G Suite Partner since 2015, today announced it will provide a business phone system with native G Suite integration for Gmail’s ecosystem of enterprise Add- on applications. With the addition of the native integrations, users of both services will discover how easy it is to use Dialpad and Gmail together in their daily work activities.


With the recent addition of Add-ons, Google Cloud offers a new way to develop native enterprise workflows within Gmail. Once users download and install the Add-on from the G Suite Marketplace, Dialpad is immediately available for use within the browser and across Android mobile applications.


Once activated, the Dialpad Add-on enables users to message, call, view history or save a new contact from within Gmail. With the Gmail Add-on, Dialpad is able to identify and pull contact information from within the individual email message and check to see if there are any existing contacts. Should none exist, Dialpad suggests creating a new contact.


Dialpad was selected to be part of a select group of ISVs who were provided early access to Google’s Developer Preview for Gmail Add-ons. Together with the Google Cloud team, Dialpad’s developers built an Add-on that provides companies of all sizes a more tightly integrated business communications experience. Built on Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Dialpad provides a uniquely native, integrated business communications solution with Google. And now, G Suite users can combine two universal forms of communication with email and phone combined into one native interface, freeing them from the constraints of legacy enterprise integration and interoperability.


Worldwide, Dialpad has helped more than 48,000 customers move their daily business communications to the cloud, avoiding the use of any on premise legacy PBX hardware, with 85 percent of the customers completely eliminating their desk phones. Dialpad’s software-only platform is built on GCP and allows companies, from small storefronts to the largest enterprises to instantly launch, provision and scale their communications platform, often on the same day they sign up. This makes voice, video, messaging and meetings available on any device, anywhere, at any time, all within a single easy-to-use application. Dialpad also has native integrations with Salesforce, Zendesk, and LinkedIn.


“Being selected as an initial Gmail Add-ons provider is an amazing opportunity to help companies ditch their desk phones and move towards the dynamic ecosystem of cloud communications,” said Craig Walker, CEO at Dialpad. “With this program, companies will no longer be trapped in their antiquated PBX communications systems and can begin to provide a cloud first, mobile solution for today’s anywhere worker.”


Additional Information



Dialpad is communications simplified for every business. Available on any device, anywhere, Dialpad includes voice, video, messaging and meetings; and is integrated with Microsoft Office 365 and Google’s G Suite. Dialpad is also the only business communications system built on the Google Cloud Platform. Today, over 48,000 customers and more than 65 percent of the Fortune 500 have joined Dialpad’s mission to kill the desk phone, including Uber, Motorola Solutions, Vivint Solar, Xero, Financial Times, Betterment, PagerDuty, Stripe, Quora, and others. Dialpad is funded by some of the world’s best recognized investors including Amasia, Andreessen Horowitz, Felicis Ventures, GV (formerly Google Ventures), Section 32, Softbank and Work-Bench. To learn more about our mission to kill the desk phone, visit and follow @DialpadHQ on Twitter or like us on Facebook.



Shelby Valdez


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Businesses Transform Customer Engagements with Oracle Live Experience Cloud

By admin

Delivers Digital Transformation through Rich, Highly Personalized Mobile-First Interactions

Oracle announced Oracle Live Experience Cloud, a customer engagement service for the mobile generation. With the mobile and digital landscape shaping the way customers interact with businesses, companies must quickly adapt to changing expectations to deliver frictionless, real-time, contextual experiences across channels. With Oracle Live Experience Cloud, users can address these new requirements and bring a new dimension to their mobile and business applications by being able to serve customers in the way that best meets their needs, be it HD voice, HD video, screen sharing, and annotations.

As such, businesses will have the ability to quickly resolve customer issues, drive greater customer loyalty, and increase satisfaction by engaging users on the right channel at the right time. Agents will also be empowered to deliver better customer experiences by having access to contextual customer data and insights, cutting call times and limiting customer frustration.


“Nearly 70% of IT and business leaders say ‘improving customer experience’ is the goal of their digital transformation initiative, and advancements in the contact center are crucial to success,” says Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research1. “Successful digital transformation requires short time to market. By leveraging a cloud-based solution, organizations can start seeing improvements in CSAT scores, revenue, and customer retention immediately. What’s more, the ability to retain context across channels from within the native app is a huge development and will dramatically boost customer satisfaction.”

A recent Oracle report titled “The Future of Enterprise Communications: The Cloud Redefines Customer Experience” noted that while 65 percent of companies agree communications embedded within cloud applications will become the dominant way of communicating with employees, suppliers and customers, many currently lack the ability to do so effectively. Oracle Live Experience Cloud enables embedded contextual data and business analytics so users can easily switch between channels without losing key information already shared. Regardless of the customer’s preferred channel, the user will enjoy a more streamlined experience while the business gains valuable customer insights that can be leveraged within its core business applications.

“Nothing is more aggravating than dealing with a call center or service desk where you are stuck in a long, dehumanized loop of menu options with a slow resolution,” said Doug Suriano, senior vice president, general manager, Oracle Communications. “With Oracle Live Experience Cloud, businesses can eliminate customer friction points by harnessing the power of contextual communications and real-time engagement capabilities to offer a personalized and highly interactive digital experience that builds customer loyalty and improves business outcomes.”

A cloud-native solution, Oracle Live Experience Cloud can be easily integrated into web and mobile apps and used to proactively engage customers at key moments of their individual journey. It modernizes existing Call Center and CRM solutions, supporting enterprise digital transformation efforts employees to deliver contextual and responsive cross-channel engagements that satisfy the customer and ultimately drive sales. Finally, businesses can optimize engagement success by measuring interactions in real-time and provisioning updates to further improve overall business results.


Features of Oracle Live Experience Cloud:

  • Real time communication capabilities – HD voice, HD video, screen sharing, annotating
  • In application channels and mobile controls
  • Rules based contextual  routing for all channels
  • Escalate from chat bot to live assistance
  • Customer context
  • Real-time recording, search and playback
  • Integrated Analytics
  • Pre-built API integrations for key CRM systems
  • Modern desktop agent experience
  • Design personalized engagement scenarios based on context, history and business priorities
  • Insights on individual and overall service team performance, engagement success KPIs, with supervisor and administrator views.
  • Encryption and Bring Your Own Key capabilities Elastic network, compute, and storage resources optimized at all layers for real time communication service

Additional Resources


About Oracle

The Oracle Cloud offers complete SaaS application suites for ERP, HCM and CX, plus best-in-class database Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) from data centers throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information about Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), please visit us at


Nitesh Khetani

Manager – Technology


  1. + 44(0) 207 067 0836

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Is contextual comms the next step in UC?

By admin

UC&C has done a lot of the heavy lifting to improve comms technology for business and most tools now exist online and operate as cloud based web apps without plug-ins, which can be accessed easily from anywhere. The next step is contextual communications, which takes advantage of the new generation of ‘always on’ apps, and will fundamentally change how people communicate. Contextual comms integrates rich, real-time communication interactions with applications themselves, putting voice, text and video capabilities inside an application, website or device delivered alongside any pertinent information required about that interaction. In short, information and communication will seamlessly “flow” in the way people expect and ultimately will not be recognisable as a distinct, friction-bearing operation.

contextual comms 2

There are many applications for contextual comms today. For customer focused businesses, service agents can quickly and easily predict or pre-empt why a customer is contacting them. An agent would be able to see which web page a customer is on before they hit the ‘click to call’ button, and how they got there, and what other services they use. This puts the agent is in a much stronger position to deal with the call quickly and efficiently. Additional context such as that customer’s previous contact history can also set the stage for more meaningful interactions.


Even entirely new services could also be created. For example, forward-thinking units of the NHS have already started to explore how they can revolutionise mental health provision to young people with remote counselling. Housing associations, and other organisations that provide accommodation to vulnerable people, are already improving daily contact for thousands of people with real time communication software. By analysing patterns of communication they can identify when the cognitive state of an individual is changing, and give a predictive assessment about the needs of every resident calling in to them before that call is even answered. Successful companies will create processes based on data analytics and what they know about their customer in a similar way.


Rob Pickering will be speaking more about contextual communication and why today’s collaboration tools are sabotaging user experience at IPExpo on Wednesday 4th October at 14.20.


Rob Pickering: Biography

By Rob Pickering, founder and CEO at IP Cortex. Previously, he has held a variety of technical

roles and fondly remembers the days when he was a proper engineer and wrote a TCP/IP protocol stack from scratch for a microprocessor vendor.


Social media handles

Twitter: @ipcortex

Rob’s Twitter: @RobinJPickering


Rob’s LinkedIn:

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Be more effective – turn off the TV and collaborate

By admin

As we continue to demand better work/life balance and greater job flexibility, Maintel set out to discover the attitudes of UK workers towards flexible working.


The research has been completed, the results from 1,000 participants are in and the conclusions are obvious – most people feel able to work from home, and people are more productive when working from home.


While there’s no surprises there, I found the result that 30% of people say that the largest distraction to home working was the television intriguing.


An independent poll taken from a random sample* found the TV not to be a distraction when working from home. (*Methodology for the sample: I asked colleagues sitting near me in the office, “When you work from home, can you see the television?” To which 75% answered “no” and one said “yes – but I never turn it on”.)


The research highlighted that flexible working is such a fundamental part of our working lives that 38% of people would not take a job which didn’t allow flexible working. So why are people like Ms. Mayer of Yahoo banning execs from working from home? This approach is in stark contrast to Google, where more than a quarter of people work flexibly at least some of the time.

Interestingly, Mayer justifies the ban using the very same words we at Maintel apply to the technology we use to help multi-site companies work more productively: to improve communication and collaboration.


Whilst I am all in favour of the corridor-conference, anyone working in a large organisation will recognise that this is a flawed approach. It’s hard to build informal relationships with people who work in an office many miles away, often in a different time zone with different seasons.

In order to continue to be effective and work collaboratively we need to embrace these changes and differences, not go back to an attitude where work is a place one simply goes to – I think we all know it is what we do that counts.


This is why we use instant messaging, social media, quick phone calls and conference calls on a daily basis. We use them because they help us to be more effective – wherever we are.


Long live flexible working and encouraging everybody to use communication and collaboration tools – whether you are in the office or not!

Brian Mackow-McGuire, Data Product Manager, Maintel

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Dubber Selected for BroadSoft Business Unified Communications Suite

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  • Dubber selected as the native recording platform for BroadSoft Business unified communications as a service (UCaaS) users running on the BroadCloud platform
  • Dubber’s ‘On Demand’ recording enabled as a standard BroadCloud Carrier feature
  • Dubber’s full suite of products available across BroadCloud Carrier’s extensive network in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia
  • First services going live in Australia
  • Targeting availability to all customers globally by 31 December 2017


Dubber Corporation Limited (ASX: DUB) is pleased to announce it has signed an agreement with BroadSoft, Inc. whereby the Dubber Cloud Call Recording Platform will provide recording and data capture service embedded within the BroadCloud Carrier infrastructure services. Dubber’s call recording platform will run on the global BroadCloud managed services cloud platform supporting BroadSoft Business cloud PBX, unified communication and call centre applications for telecommunications service providers.


BroadCloud Carrier Services enables telecommunications service providers to quickly deploy BroadSoft Business, a fully integrated suite of enterprise-ready cloud, unified communications, team collaboration and contact centre applications, for their customers with a flexible OPEX service delivery model. BroadCloud Carrier includes a comprehensive solution set that can eliminate the need for service providers to make substantial capital investments and dramatically speeds time-to-market for new service offerings.


These services will now include call recording, data capture and Dubber’s intelligence engine (“Zoe”) that powers an array of speech analytics features to unlock the data in recorded calls. Dubber will be provisioned as a standard feature for BroadCloud Carrier service provider customers.


The agreement provides for two substantial components including:


  • Dubber’s full suite of services will be provided for call recording customers of BroadCloud Carrier
  • ‘On Demand’ recording will be enabled as a standard feature for all BroadCloud Carrier users


The global deployment is targeted to be completed by 31 December 2017. The first services will commence this quarter, in Australia, where BroadCloud Carrier has recently been launched.


Steve McGovern, CEO, Dubber:


“Dubber’s call recording platform has been designed to provide scale across a service provider’s customer base, enabling solutions for use cases which go beyond ‘always on’ recording for specific regulatory and contact centre requirements. By enabling Dubber as a standard feature, service providers around the world using BroadCloud Carrier will be able to quickly meet end user demand for call recording, with absolutely no capital equipment outlays.


Customers will be able to record a call ‘On Demand’ and, by having the service already enabled, the service provider will be able to take the customer on a journey from ‘On Demand’ to various packages of call recording based on required usage. We also see significant opportunities to progress Dubber’s long-term goal of providing ‘Big Data’ applications via our intelligence suite ‘Zoe’ across BroadCloud’s global telecommunication service providers.”


Taher Behbehani, chief digital marketing officer, BroadSoft, Inc.:


“Dubber’s call recording and data capture services will form part of our core BroadSoft Business cloud PBX and unified communication applications and the underlying highly scalable BroadCloud platform. We believe this will be particularly advantageous to service providers given a number of regulatory changes around call recording that are currently taking effect in the US and Europe in the financial services industry.”


Having Dubber’s services integrated in the BroadCloud platform will allow service providers around the world to easily and cost effectively meet existing and future call recording and compliance demand from their end users, while Dubber is not currently able to provide any forecasts, Dubber believes that this agreement will increase Dubber’s current user numbers and associated revenues, and advance Dubber’s core strategy of becoming the global cloud based call recording leader.


About Dubber:


Dubber is the world’s most scalable call recording service which enables telecommunications carriers and customers to capture voice data in a way never before available. Dubber’s use of a true native cloud platform is revolutionary and is revitalising the call recording industry. Its high availability, unlimited scalability and true Software as a Service (SaaS) offering enable telecommunications carriers to deploy and manage new services and revenue streams without the need for hardware, productisation or capital expenditure.

Media Contact:

Jessica Dickman

+44 (0) 20 7608 4687

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Three Realities of Today’s Worker to Consider When Choosing a UC Vendor

By admin

By Pat Harper, CTO of PGi,

While Boomers and Gen X’ers still play a prominent role, the faces of today’s workforce are increasingly those of the Millennial generation. Last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that those aged 25-34 made up the largest population of employed people in the United States. With this finding comes an understanding that today’s employees have grown up alongside the rise and rapid advancement of technology, and, therefore, have greater expectations than ever before.

The modern workforce is tech-savvy, constantly on-the-go and, most notably, always connected. Understanding how today’s workers, well, work is crucial for businesses to recognize, and foresee, the technology that will be necessary to keep employees productive and engaged well into the future. While Unified Communication (UC) vendors are looking to keep up with changing workplace habits, it’s imperative that businesses put the user experience at the forefront when choosing technology solutions. Three key considerations should be considered when choosing the technology for today’s workforce and for the workplace of the future:

High expectations for quality

In the race to invent the next big thing, quality is often overlooked when it comes to the latest tech tools. Today’s workforce demands a higher caliber of tools to alleviate stress and remain productive throughout the day. If the audio in a video conference lags or the visuals are pixelated, employees become frustrated and are less likely to get things done in an efficient manner. What’s more, an estimated 36 percent of conference calls take place on mobile devices today – a number that is expected to jump to 50 percent by 2020. Despite this fact however, a 2014 Consumer Report survey found that none of the 100+ smartphones surveyed earned better than a “Good” score for voice quality. With so many people joining calls on the go, it is critical that businesses are supplying employees with tools that don’t inhibit their abilities to connect to and participate in critical conversations or meetings.

Reliance on personal assistants

While collaboration tools have allowed employees to communicate across departments and regions in real-time, people are looking to interact with more than just each other. Artificial intelligence (AI) assistants have become the norm at home and are starting to make their way into the workplace as people look to them for help in making decisions, organizing tasks or simply seeking a solution to a problem. Gartner predicts that, by 2020, smart agents will facilitate 40 percent of mobile interactions, meaning more people will be turning to their tech for everyday solutions and information. Employees will soon expect all workplace technology, including UC tools, to utilize AI-driven features in order to do things like help recall meeting notes and chat conversations, prioritize emails based on learned behaviors and overall be a source of business-critical information via chat bots, all of which lead to a frictionless and more efficient experience at work.

Need for automation

While modern workers have increased their expectations of the tools they use to communicate and be productive every day, employers now expect more from their employees as well. Often moving straight from one project or meeting to the next, workers can become less productive during the day as they become bogged down with mundane tasks. Additionally, poor time management and planning can often be associated with unnecessary or ineffective meetings. In the near future, employees will look to UC vendors who can provide automation tools that make meetings more efficient by doing things like determining when or if meetings are necessary based on chat logs and email threads, automatically scheduling and rescheduling meetings based on priority and recording, and distributing meeting notes and tasks.

What were once workplace trends have now become realities, and employees’ wants and needs are continually evolving with the development of new technology. To succeed, businesses must adapt their vetting processes and buying decisions to factor in the habits of their employees when choosing a UC vendor. Doing so will strengthen the end-user’s ability to get things done quickly and efficiently, setting employees and businesses up for success now and into the future.

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Video Meeting or Video Nasty?

By admin

Whether you love or hate meetings, they fill up a significant proportion of our working day. Once upon a time they would have been formal, physical and at a fixed time. On a good day they even included coffee and biscuits. Now they are increasingly informal, virtual and spontaneous.

But how come the sales gloss for virtual meeting rooms never matches the reality? They all promise that they are easy to use and that you can start a meeting in just a few taps, but the reality is no one ever knows how to use the equipment and meetings always start late! Why?

For physical meetings there are contributing human factors that might delay the start of a meeting such as waiting for the room to empty, the traffic on the M25, the insistence on scheduling back-to-back meetings, the meeting organiser turning up late, or the “shall we wait until (insert most senior attendee) gets here?” excuse.

But virtual meetings nearly always start late for a host of totally different human and technology factors. The benefits of virtual meetings are numerous: they can be arranged quickly, no travel is involved, you can join from your desk, share your desktop and most importantly you can see your colleagues’ faces! People respond more positively when they can see each other, and it’s much easier to communicate both verbally and through body language.

But increasingly team members are late or miss phone, video or online conferences. There’s really no excuse for starting, late but here are some reasons why they do:

  • “Sorry, I couldn’t find the dial in number”
  • “Sorry, I joined the wrong bridge!”
  • “Does anyone know which HDMI input it is?”
  • “Does anyone know how to work this remote control?”
  • “Can you turn the microphone and speakers off on your laptop because we are getting feedback?”
  • “Are you sharing your screen? I will dial back in from my laptop – this mobile won’t show anything.”

There is also a third category of meetings that are becoming ever more popular – the half physical, half virtual meeting, where half the participants are in a VC room and the rest are at remote locations. These are usually the biggest nightmare because inevitably the first 15-20 minutes of every meeting is spent trying to link up with remote offices or home workers. Invariably it is pure wasted time, as each meeting room has slightly different equipment and usually relies on the one person in the meeting who has the required amount of confidence and techie flair sorting it out. Everyone else, meanwhile, is looking at their phones/laptops/emails during these awkward moments.

If that person isn’t there and there are issues, then that would mean trying to understand the laminated instructions or even worse, calling IT and hoping they can help. Often the technology in the room gets abandoned and replaced with a good old fashioned audio-only call. Or if you really want the meeting to start late then resort to trying online conferencing, because this is when you find out that your laptop is locked down and you can’t download the necessary software or plugin required! Ever seen a huddle of people around a single laptop because it’s the only one that’s working?

Lots of companies have multiple technologies and systems for web/audio/video conference calls and this causes mass confusion, training issues, hidden costs and security implications. So how do you get it right? This is important, as when you do incorporate virtual meetings into business as usual, they can be a powerful communication and collaboration tool.


Here are my top five ways to help you get it right first time, every time:

Prepare the environment: what you save on travel time you need to spend preparing for the meeting. Get the right location and the right environment – choose somewhere quiet and make sure mobiles are turned to silent, the dog is asleep and you’re not in your pyjamas!

Prepare the technology: the technology needed always requires a little time to get up and running. Sign in well in advance, download any updates necessary, check the network bandwidth will support video, test the audio devices and remember to check the camera angle – there’s no point getting it right if people can only see your left shoulder.

Familiarisation: staff may need support and reassurance when faced with new technologies, so create user guides, plan in training sessions and regular updates to keep them familiar. They may also have had negative experiences in the past, so make sure that well trained support is available to them when needed.

Standardisation: if you have lots of different systems then close them down and standardise them on one – if there’s only one system in use then there’s no excuse for not being able to use it! For rarely used technology, employees often end up forgetting how to use it or forgetting passwords and end up sharing login details, which is a security risk. Use one – it will be cheaper than using multiple services, help you track usage and help make it become part of business as usual, so everyone gets familiar with the same service.

Have a back-up plan:  if you’re arranging a virtual meeting to communicate with partners and clients and they run different systems, connectivity and compatibility may be an issue. Test it out well in advance and have a back-up plan for last minute hitches on the day.

Get all of those right and the days of the video nasty are long gone – so long as you can control random pitch invasions from your family.

Paul Fawcett, Mobility Product Manager, Maintel

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Implementing Skype for Business: what you need to consider

By admin

It’s official: we’re in the midst of a business communications revolution.

First came the open-plan office, usurping the cubicle and quite literally breaking down the barriers to collaboration and communication. Snapping at its heels was the realisation that time spent on the commute could be time spent actually getting work done, and along came remote working and the hot desk. And then there was unified communications, bringing together previously standalone tools into a set of communications products with a single user interface.

While business aren’t bidding farewell to email and traditional telephony just yet, the ushering in of unified communications has seen myriad solutions thrust under the spotlight. But there’s one platform in particular that has been quietly raising the game when it comes to helping teams get stuff done: Skype for Business.

The days of “wait and see” for tentative CIOs as Skype dipped a toe into corporate waters have long past – Skype4B has proven itself well and truly fit for purpose in enterprises of all shapes and sizes. In fact, research by Spiceworks issued in January highlighted that of the large-scale enterprises utilising IM within their UC solution, 36% of them opted for Skype4B – far more than any other tool.

But for those considering a transition to Skype4B, the journey can throw up its fair share of challenges – and not from a solely practical point of view. Take employee adoption and change management, for example. While it’s all well and good having a CIO keen to consolidate existing applications with Skype4B, that doesn’t necessarily entail that the wider workforce will welcome the cultural shift. Strategies for change management, training and adoption are, therefore, an important tool to have in your arsenal from the get-go.

Another key consideration is the form your transition is likely to take, as this will impact the resources you require. For many companies a move to Skype4B isn’t a standard rip-and-replace mission – enterprises are often looking to complement an existing UC solution with Skype4B, or roll it out for a specific department, for example.

If a full move isn’t on the cards, you’ll need resources with expertise across both your legacy systems and the new platform – only then will you understand the full scope of your UC journey and gain the insight needed to create a transition plan that minimises any potential disruption.

But it doesn’t stop there – here are some other considerations you should be looking to include on your Skype4B implementation checklist:

  • Ensuring the right infrastructure is in place
  • Transferring data across systems while keeping your organisation operational
  • Synchronising central email with mobile laptops
  • Ensuring your network can meet increased demand in real-time communications
  • What you’ll do with your existing technology investment
  • Ensure your organisation is culturally ready for the changes

While there’s no right or wrong approach to these considerations, having the right expertise onside is a sure-fire way to stay on the front foot throughout your deployment.

In Maintel’s whitepaper, Skype for Business: officially ready for business, we share our expertise on all things Skype4B and take you through a number of key considerations you should keep in mind if you’re looking to make the move to Skype4B. We also share four different strategies for deploying Skype4B in your business, along with answers to some of the most common questions the Maintel team are asked by customers around the tool.


Rhianne Muir, Content Marketing Manager, Maintel

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UK flexible working held back by “traditional mind-set”, despite technology

By admin

Three years after flexible working was made available to 20 million UK workers, the UK still lags behind other major developed economies in adopting collaborative remote working. Tim Stone, VP of Marketing for EMEA at Polycom, explains how organisations can migrate to remote working and realise the benefits that modern technology offers.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of UK businesspeople now work remotely but we do not use collaborative tools as widely as other countries, despite clear benefits. That was a key finding of a global survey Polycom recently conducted.

Less than half (46%) of the UK’s remote workers use collaborative tools daily. This is far lower than many leading economies, including Russia (61%), Australia (55%), Singapore (54%), United States (53%), Canada (51%) and France (49%).

So, three years after the UK government granted everyone the right to work remotely, many organisations appear to be culturally or technically prepared for effective remote working.

Tim Stone

Tim Stone

The technology is there to enable seamless, cordless, real-time video conferencing and touchscreen collaboration between teams, regardless of location and device, and yet many organisations haven’t kept up. This despite the clear benefits. For example, 38% of people use email “considerably less” in favour of the phone or instant messaging when provided with collaborative tools.

British working culture stuck in 20th Century

Business culture is a key issue – the nine-to-five mind-set very much still exists, and many workers are probably unaware they can ask for flexible hours – plus many organisations are involved in digital transformation programmes so remote working is delayed while firms establish what they want from their technology strategy.

What needs to happen? More organisations need to embrace the philosophy that “work is a thing you do, not a place you go”. Human Resources, Facilities Management, IT and the C-suite need to sit down together to create an employee-centric vision of what a flexible working environment would look like at their organisation, and talk to technology vendors who will show them the tools they need to make it happen.

The post UK flexible working held back by “traditional mind-set”, despite technology appeared first on Unified Communication.

VIA develops ‘clever algorithm’ to help call centres improve customer service

By admin

VIA, the Skype for Business and unified communications specialist, has launched a brand-new service offering which will enable call centres to reduce call waiting times and improve customer satisfaction.

With many years of providing solutions to the contact centre and customer service sector, VIA has developed a special set of features for call centres, such as intelligent call queuing, real-time wall boards and skills based routing, determined by a clever in-built algorithm called Smart Agent Selection (SAS).

Calls are routed based on team members skill level (out of 100), activity level and availability. Businesses can also prioritise customers or calls, putting them at the top of the queue or directing them to a specific agent – without the need for a switchboard operator. This results in a shorter wait time for the customer and a higher level of first call resolution.


VIA’s development director Gareth Sobocinski said: “We know how tricky it can be when setting up call queuing to optimise a contact centre. We wanted to design a system where call queueing works hand-in-hand with the manager to make their life easier and crucially, give customers a great experience on the phone. SAS does this, and when rolled out to our existing customer base, we have received extremely positive feedback on how SAS has reduced call waiting times and improved working efficiencies in the call centre. What’s more, because our Contact Centre solution is based on Skype for Business, it gives staff a seamless unified communication experience too, making it easier, and less time consuming for them to navigate and use their own internal systems.”

“We’re not finished yet though and have a host of innovative new features for our Contact Centre solution in the pipeline, and as our solutions are fully managed and hosted, customers get free updates whenever we implement new features.”

VIA has also unveiled its brand new website, to coincide with the launch of its Contact Centre solution. Together, these investments will support the firm’s plans to double its turnover to £3.5 million in the next financial year.


Sales director Alex Tebbs, who founded the company in 2012, added: “Launching our Contact Centre product comes at a very exciting time for VIA. We have been investing heavily in the growth of our Unified Communications platform, and this reflects on our new website and brand. We believe we are pioneers in the marketplace and hope this comes across with our new image. We believe our customers will like our new direction and the modern approach we are taking.

“We’ve also got some other exciting news – we’re moving offices next month to accommodate our growing support and development teams. The new office will have more than double the floor space and puts the company in a good place for future expansion. We’re also going to be hiring for a number of roles across the business over the next few months, so watch this space!”

Last month VIA was shortlisted for the ISPA (Internet Services Providers’ Association) UK’s annual awards. The company is in the running for the Best Cloud and Best VOIP categories, which it will find it whether it has won at a ceremony in London on July 13.


For more information, please contact:

  • Christopher Fitton – VIA’s marketing manager
  • Telephone: 0207 871 9563
  • Email:
  • Or visit: for more information

The post VIA develops ‘clever algorithm’ to help call centres improve customer service appeared first on Unified Communication.

SMEs demand more value added services from telcos

By admin

Research reveals call to better cater for a mobile, digitally distracted workforce

 Dubber, the next generation cloud call recording software solution company, has conducted a UK SME Market Survey looking at the role of telephony for business. It reveals the need for mobile operators to offer more value added services to SME businesses, beyond minutes, text and data.


The survey also demonstrated the rise in demand for UC platform systems to streamline workforce communications and make them more manageable. For the first time these services are available to SMEs where before it has only been accessible to large corporations with big budgets.


UK SME survey results: Topline Statistics:


  • The telephone as a tool for business remains at large –4 % of SME confirm they use the telephone for “all” or “some” of their day.
  • Business becoming more personal – mobile is our chosen handset for doing business – survey reveals the dominant phone system used in the office is a personal mobile. 38.3% of workers use their personal mobile, only 10% use a fixed work phone.
  • Workers are “always on” but desire additional services – 71% of SME work force use instant messaging in addition to phone system however, 42.5% have stipulated call recording as a service they would choose to have on their phone if available.
  • Telephony providers are failing to upsell and share the full range of telecoms services available to customers – 35% of respondents claim they have not been offered additional services by telephony provider.
  • Customers desire a streamlined services approach and UC platform –the level of digital distraction is growing as workers are encouraged to communicate over multiple digital channels. 64.2% claimed they would like to have all of their business communication (mobile, internal messaging, conference call facilities) provided to them on one platform.


James Slaney, co-founder of Dubber comments, “The survey shows that combined with the pressure to reverse declining revenues, customer demand means it is now time for telcos to better anticipate the needs of the ‘always on’ mobile user, by offering them streamlined, mobile solutions. The mobile work force has grown and the key to understanding mobility is embracing the concept of ‘always connected, anywhere, anytime’ access to key services and information.”


On the demand for call recording, from 42.5% of those surveyed, Slaney adds, “For a workforce that logs onto phones, computers and tablets interchangeably, the ability to create a constant thread via cloud-based solutions –, where they are able to quickly access their latest conversation and identify any actions from it –, provides a simple and flexible solution for people on the move.”


“There is a clear demand for a greater variety of value add services in order to drive greater efficiencies in SMEs businesses’ every day productivity. By utilising Communications Platforms as a Services (CPaaS), these solutions are increasingly accessible to SMEs, and with mobile increasingly the communications medium of choice, operators are uniquely positioned to provide the supply that meets demand.”



Dubber surveyed 168 UK based SMEs using Google Consumer Surveys, asking the following questions:

  • How often do you use the telephone as a business tool?
  • What phone system do you use for work?
  • How many people are in your company?
  • What sector is your business in?
  • What additional services do you use on top of your phone system?
  • What services would you have on your phone system which aren’t currently available?
  • Has your telephony provider given options for additional services on top of your normal phone service?
  • If you don’t have already, would you like to have all your business communications provided to you on one platform? (i.e mobile, internal messaging, desk phone, conferencing)


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What Mobile-First Means for Your Organisation

By admin

We all know the term digital transformation and understand the implications behind the kind of impact this movement can have on an organisation. The era of digital transformation has given rise to the digital worker, who is no longer centrally located in one physical space but can be found at any given time in one of a million locations around the world. With this evolution comes the need to keep employees connected in a seamless manner without sacrificing quality in tools to drive business momentum and productivity.

In this digital age, collaboration is critical to driving communication for our global workforce. And over the years, a number of over-the-top (OTT) vendors have popped up offering bundled teleconferencing and collaboration technologies with office tools to the enterprise market.

At the same time, digital workers are increasingly accessing these apps, audio and web conferences from their mobile devices or tablets. Our data shows that mobile participation on our audio conference calls is rapidly growing, with 36 percent of conference calls taken on mobile devices in 2016, a number that is expected to jump to over 50 percent by 2020.


Despite the number of conference participants joining global calls via mobile, many companies still rely on cheaper data applications which could mean sacrificing voice quality and reliability for the sake of convenience.


Global, Mobile Collaboration

When we combine the trends of digital transformation, the emergence of the digital worker and the uptick towards a mobile preference for communication and collaboration, it becomes clear that OTT apps – while cheaper – may not always be the best option for a companies that needs to conduct global business.

So, why does it matter? With the number of VoLTE subscribers expected to rise from 488 million to three billion by 2021, it becomes even more critical that the tools IT teams are implementing within their organisations be able to deliver on a high-quality experience and not detract from the flow of work or diminish productivity. As such, the need for a high-quality VoLTE conferencing option with HD audio has never been more present for the enterprise.

So, how can enterprise IT teams ensure that they support HD audio conferencing via mobile devices across their enterprises without sacrificing quality? Furthermore, how can they curb poor quality and deliver on a mobile-led UC strategy?


The Mobile-First Evolution

Global conference calls tend to feature a distinct lack of quality, with poor audio that hinders clear, effective communication. PGi’s mobile collaboration exchange provides a first-of-its-kind global conferencing and collaboration service that leverages PGi’s existing global conferencing network and audio infrastructure to provide a next-generation level conferencing experience – from any mobile device.


Currently, mobile HD audio is only experienced on point-to-point calls, but by interconnecting to PGi’s platform for mobile collabo­ration exchange — either directly or through an IPX — HD audio conferences can be experience by any VoLTE customer on any network, in any country. High-definition audio dramatically increases the clarity and effec­tiveness of conference call communication, thanks to both a wider frequency range and a higher signal to noise ratio. This means your conference calls will feature decreased background noise, less clipping of double talkers, increased intelligibility for speakers with different accents or soft-spoke voices and less fatigue from strain­ing to hear on poor-quality calls.

Preparing for and integrating digital transformation into your organisation is a necessity to meet the demand of our globalised workforce. And while settling for low-cost or free OTT options may be a short-term fix, they could negatively impact your organisation’s efficiency in the long run.

Learn more about our mobile collaboration exchange and how it can help your business achieve better quality collaboration.

By Lyndsay Cook, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Product, PGi

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How SMEs can capitalise on productivity-boosting communications tools

By admin

Douglas Grierson, Vodafone’s Head of London, Regional Business, explains why SMEs are missing out on productivity-enhancing ICT tools – and some starting points for unlocking growth.

We all want to get more out of the resources we’ve got. If you’re keen to boost business productivity, but you’re unsure where to start, you’re not alone. Adopting the right information communications technology (ICT), when combined with improved managerial practices, can lift productivity by as much as 20%, according to a report by the London School of Economics (LSE). But many SMEs miss the opportunity to capitalise on digital communications. Here’s why.

Three-quarters of managers – especially in SMEs – are not aware of the ICT tools that promote productivity, according to the LSE study. Even when managers do know about their digital options, more than two-thirds aren’t sure whom to turn to for assistance, the LSE found. Most managers believe they need to recruit expensive consultants or hire an IT manager, but smaller firms may not be able to afford additional staff. As a result, these SMEs are missing out on the productivity-enhancing potential of ICT.

At Vodafone UK, we are working to make ICT adoption easier for UK companies. A critical first step is to undertake a review of your business. The importance of self-assessment is highlighted in “The Power of Productivity”, a report on UK productivity levels prepared by the LSE and commissioned by Vodafone UK. In this report, the LSE urges businesses to take advantage of a variety of self-analysis tools as a starting point to assess performance and identify areas to improve.

Because we believe the task of self-assessment should be as simple as possible, we created the Vodafone Ready Business Indicator, an easy-to-use online diagnostic that helps you determine how well your business is performing across four pillars: connecting with customers, connecting with your staff, operating your business and planning for the future. The Indicator enables you to benchmark your business readiness against other similar companies, and suggests a range of ICT options to match your responses to the survey questions.

The LSE report also suggests three ways UK businesses can boost their productivity – by capitalising on ICT, for example. At UC Expo, I’ll be on hand to share insights and best practice around unified communications, and I’ll dive into key findings from the LSE report. I’ll also be giving a talk about how we can rethink work as we know it. I’ll be presenting steps that you can take today to bring new gains to your organisation. I look forward to seeing you at the Expo!

For more information about Vodafone’s unified communications solutions, please visit:

To register for the conference, please visit:

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