Unified Communications

BIG UC NEWS from Microsoft, Facebook and Otter

Welcome to this week’s news round-up, curated to allow you to read over this long (hopefully sunny) weekend.

This week saw Microsoft increase its prices for 365, Facebook launched its Horizon Workrooms VR collaboration app, and Comcast acquired Masergy.

Microsoft 365 Sees Price Increase

The vendor giant is increasing the price of Microsoft 365, the “first substantive pricing update” since it launched 10 years ago, according to Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365.

He added that the move is a reflection of the innovation and apps added to the software over the years. The increase will come into effect from 1 March 2022.

He stated:

“[W]e have continuously re-invested to meet the changing needs of our customers. Four years ago, we introduced Microsoft 365 to bring together the best of Office, Windows, and Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS). That same year we added Microsoft Teams as the only integrated solution where you can meet, chat, call, collaborate, and automate business processes—right in the flow of work”

Spataro also revealed that Microsoft is adding unlimited dial-in capabilities for Microsoft Teams meetings across its enterprise, business, frontline, and government suits in the next few months.

 


Comcast Business Snaps Up Masergy

In a bid to capture more global enterprise clients, Comcast Business acquired Masergy, which specialises in managed SD-WAN, unified communications, customer experience, and managed security.

Masergy boasts 1400 customers across 100 countries.

Bill Stemper, President of Comcast Business, stated:

“Masergy provides a perfect complement to our portfolio of enterprise services and solutions and will allow us to instantly and dramatically amplify our growth in the global enterprise market”

“We’re excited to welcome Masergy’s employees and leadership to Comcast Business as we bring continued innovation and superior experience to our customers.”

 


Facebook Launches Horizon Workrooms

Facebook has launched Horizon Workrooms, a virtual and mixed reality collaboration platform for business.

The app provides a virtual meeting space that can be joined by VR or video call, where colleagues can collaborate via virtual whiteboards.

The VR element of the app is available in countries where the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset is supported.

In a blog post, Facebook stated:

“Workrooms is our flagship collaboration experience that lets people come together to work in the same virtual room, regardless of physical distance”

“It works across both virtual reality and the web and is designed to improve your team’s ability to collaborate, communicate, and connect remotely, through the power of VR—whether that’s getting together to brainstorm or whiteboard an idea, work on a document, hear updates from your team, hang out and socialise, or simply have better conversations that flow more naturally.”

 


Otter Assist Available on New Platforms

Otter has announced that its virtual personal assistant feature is now available on Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Cisco Webex.

Assist automatically joins meetings in a user’s calendar – after which it can record the meeting, take notes and share transcriptions.

Otter Assist first launched in May on the Zoom platform.

“With more companies adapting to a hybrid work model where professionals work and take meetings in-office, at home, and on mobile, many are looking to Otter as a tool to improve team communication and collaboration,” stated Sam Liang, Otter CEO.

“We’re excited to make using Otter even easier and more accessible no matter where or how people conduct and participate in meetings”

 


Workplace Renews Massive Vodafone Deal

Workplace from Facebook has renewed a deal that sees its platform used by over 90,000 employees at Vodafone.

The telco and media giant first adopted Workplace in 2019 and said it has proved vital and keeping employees connected over the last 18 months.

Johan Wibergh, Chief Technology Officer at Vodafone, stated:

“More than 90,000 of our employees worldwide use Workplace to keep in touch. With many of them currently working remotely, Workplace has become an invaluable central resource for us to connect with one another, stage live events, share information, and collaborate on projects to help our customers”

“Above all, it is intuitive and accessible so our people can feel part of an inclusive community.”

 

 

Marian McHugh

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