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Facebook to Introduce Messenger Chatbot Support and Other Top UC News Stories of the Week

As Facebook and ShoreTel strive to appease businesses, an industry expert discusses the importance of satisfying employees

Organizations interested in creating chatbots will soon find Facebook Messenger more accommodating. Meanwhile, ShoreTel is taking steps to improve the Skype for Business experience for its customers. Read on to learn more about these and other unified communications stories for the week of April 3 – 9.

1. Facebook’s Messenger platform to get chatbot tools

Developers and business users can expect to see a host of big changes to Facebook Messenger in the near future. According to industry insiders, Facebook will announce the introduction of Messenger chatbot support at its F8 conference in mid-April. As Josh Constine and Steve O’Hear explained in their article for TechCrunch, chatbots are software-powered “chat robots” that could eventually replace 1-800 numbers. Facebook wants to make the transition easier for enterprises by offering developers API tools to create chatbots as well as Live Chat plug-ins for business customers. These updates are all part of Facebook’s plan to expand Messenger into a service that can connect customers with businesses through chat.

2. New Skype for Business plug-in by ShoreTel targets video conference users

ShoreTel is looking to satisfy clients who use Skype for Business video conferencing but not its premium telephony services. The telecommunications provider recently introduced a new plug-in that adds contacts, call routing and other telephony features to Skype for Business. The add-on is now available free of charge to customers of ShoreTel’s Connect ONSITE and Connect CLOUD. In a story for TechTarget published April 4, Tracee Herbaugh reported that the extension was created for Connect clients who subscribe to an Office 365 version that does not include telephony capabilities. ShoreTel is the latest UC vendor to provide a plug-in for Skype for Business, a service that’s becoming increasingly popular in the enterprise world.

3. Company security and employee moral go hand in hand

It’s an unpleasant reality that not every employee will be forever happy in his or her job. This can be a tricky situation for companies that give workers access to sensitive data and records. Not only is high turnover costly, it can jeopardize an organization’s security. Delphi President Gary Audin discussed these concerns and how to curb resulting problems in an April 8 article for No Jitter. According to Audin, there are several management actions that can help reduce turnover. For example, management should try to empower employees, provide a trusting atmosphere and reduce internal politics.

4. More customers are combining SDN technologies from Cisco and VMware

VMware and Cisco Systems may be competitors in the market for software-defined networking. However, more and more clients are finding solutions to complex networking challenges by combining technologies from both providers. Kevin McLaughlin reported in an April 6 article for CRN that clients no longer see it as an either-or choice because “the vendors have different approaches to the technology.” While the networking giant offers a software-hardware hybrid called Application Centric Infrastructure, VMware’s NSX is a software-only solution. Even though customers are embracing a harmony from the two offerings, the vendors have remained intensely competitive.

5. Maintel announces plan to purchase Azzurri Communications

UK-based Azzurri Communications announced on April 8 that it reached an agreement to be acquired by Maintel, an AIM-listed managed services provider, for nearly $70 million. While Maintel will be getting a company that has been experiencing recent revenue drops in communication services, the purchase could help it move into hosted cloud and data services. Maintel CEO Eddie Buxton said the acquisition will allow his company to take advantage of high growth areas in the UC market. As reported by Gary Eastwood for Unified Communications Insight, Maintel recently announced a 21 percent increase in revenues for 2015.

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About the Author

Amy Thacker

Amy Thacker is the Marketing Manager at Akkadian Labs. Amy's favorite way to use Collaboration technology is to make video calls to offsite co-workers.