Big UC News from Microsoft, Google and Intermedia

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CollaborationUnified CommunicationsLatest News

Published: April 12, 2024

Kieran Devlin

New Senate Bill Would Require Zoom and Teams to be Interoperable

The US Senate has proposed a new bill requiring UC and collaboration platforms used by the US federal government to be more secure and interoperable, including Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

As first shared by The Verge, the Secure and Interoperable Government Collaboration Technology Act, brought forward by US Senator for Oregon Ron Wyden, would require government tools to communicate with each other, even if made by competitors. It would likewise establish high standards of cybersecurity, including end-to-end encryption protocols.

Wyden commented on the bill in a statement:

The Secure and Interoperable Government Collaboration Technology Act would ensure the federal government is procuring and using collaboration technology that is based on interoperable, secure standards – meaning an employee from an agency using Teams could call someone from an agency using Zoom, or send a message to another agency that uses Slack.”

Wyden stressed that the bill establishes the adoption of end-to-end encryption technology to safeguard government communications from foreign surveillance. However, Wyden says this technology has not been consistently integrated across major video-calling platforms leveraged by government agencies.

The bill also stipulates that collaboration software used by the government must enforce compliance with federal record-keeping regulations, addressing the emerging importance of maintaining official records within constantly changing collaboration platforms.

Microsoft Is Bringing Desk Booking Features and Call Record Insights to Teams

Microsoft is introducing desk booking functionality to its Teams communications and collaboration platform.

In a welcome update adjusting to hybrid working as the new normal, users will soon be able to reserve desks as soon as they get into either their company office or a shared workspace and log into the Teams platform. The service will illustrate all available desks for the workday ahead, empowering hybrid workers to take control over their desks and work management without having to rely on management to organise it for them.

Additionally, IT admins will be able to monitor the booked desks within the new capability, enabling them to collect critical insights and develop future structures or systems based on this data.

The feature will be generally available in May for desktop users, as well as Teams and Surface devices.

In other Teams news, Microsoft has announced “Call Record Insights” for Teams to help businesses effectively interpret and act upon call data within the Teams platform.

Call Record Insights includes automated call record retrieval, simplified data transformation, secure storage, no-code deployment, powerful analytic capabilities, and more. It offers full sovereignty over user data, including End User Identifiable Information. All storage and processing also take place within Azure subscriptions.

Google Upgrades Meet With AI Notes and Translation Features, Launches Vids Productivity App in Workspace

Google Meet has upgraded its service with AI note-taking and translation capabilities — although it requires an extra subscription cost.

Unveiled at this week’s Google Cloud Next, “Take notes for me” is now in public preview and allows users to engage with the conversation rather than having to manual take down notes or minutes.

Meanwhile, “Translate For Me” is coming in June and will automatically detect and translate captions in Meet. This includes support for 69 languages (equal to 4,600 language pairs), assisting users to feel more confident and connected to their colleagues, regardless of language.

“Translate for me in Meet, coming in June, will automatically detect and translate captions into your preferred language,” Aparna Pappu, Vice President and General Manager at Google Workspace. “With Translate for Me, we’re adding translated caption support for 52 new languages, bringing the total number of supported languages to 69.”

In other Google news, Workspace has launched Vids, an AI-powered video creation app singularly designed for enterprise use cases.

Vids joins Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides in the Workspace service, with full interoperability between the apps. It intends to support businesses in producing video for collaboration and productivity purposes—all within their browser rather than a separate platform.

Google stresses that it’s been designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind, with no prior experience or expertise with video production software being necessary. Example use cases Google highlights include developing a product pitch, updating your team, creating a training video, celebrating a team or coworker achievement, or breaking down a complex concept.

Intermedia Secures $345M Refinancing for Growth Continuation

Intermedia Cloud Communications has secured $350 million in refinancing in a significant boost for its growth strategy.

The new financing was achieved by Intermedia entering into a new revolving credit facility and term loan with some of its existing lenders. These new loans will give Intermedia greater flexibility to invest in its business and are set to be paid back by April 2029.

“We are pleased to have the continued support of our lenders and believe this refinancing transaction underscores the strength of our growth strategy and the value of our products, our partner platform and our global infrastructure,” said Michael Gold, CEO of Intermedia. “Our new financing facilities increase our financial flexibility as we continue to invest in our cloud communications and collaboration offerings and partner relationships.”

Intermedia stresses that this refinancing was predicated on its strong financial performance, citing high growth in revenues and profitability.

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