The activity in the small- and medium-sized business (SMB) unified communications (UC) sector is happening against the backdrop of the continued migration from on-premises data centers and data closets to the cloud.
Last week, business telecommunications provider Windsteam Holdings said that it has agreed to acquire cloud UC provider Broadview Networks Holdings in an all-cash transaction valued at $227.5 million. Broadview offers SMBs services under the OfficeSuite UC brand. The boards of both companies unanimously approved the transaction, as did a majority of Broadview shareholders. The deal, which Windstream expects to lead to $30 million in annual operating synergies within two years, is expected to close during the third quarter.
Earlier this month, UC provider BroadSoft said that telecommunications provider Veracity Networks will use its CC-One application. The press release describes CC-One as an omni-channel contact center solution. The deal comes as no surprise: Veracity Networks has been a user of Broadsoft UC since 2010. The CC-One application offers integration between contact centers and businesses’ other phone networks, affordability for SMBs, and integration with Salesforce, the company said.
A key to the evolution of UC will be the ability to tie together cloud and on-premises platforms. The idea is simple: Vendors and companies have investments in on-premises equipment that are not going to write off. At the same time, however, the cloud world is perfectly suited for the cloud. The press release for Frost & Sullivan’s 2017 Global UCC Industry Outlook, which was released last week, suggests that protecting investments while not impeding the transition into the cloud is a pressing dynamic of the sector. The pressures are being felt, the release says, on the pricing, packaging, feature, functionality and business model levels.
CommsTrader, a site in the United Kingdom, provides some good context for those considering UC systems. The detailed piece mentions vendors whose products are available in the United States, so the information should be relevant on this side of the Atlantic.
Writer Rob Scott splits users into four groups, from micro businesses (10 or fewer users) to enterprises. He then provides makes and models on several categories of UC products. The categories are on-premises platforms, virtualized (on-premises or cloud PBX) and UCaaS. Finally, Scott indicates which platforms are optimal for each size user.
UC is inherently complicated and a bit counter-intuitive because it’s in essence a clever repackaging (with some expansion) of existing functionality. The migration to the cloud that has been ongoing for several years makes it even more difficult to understand.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at email@example.com and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.