Google Hangouts Adds Peer-to-peer Upgrade

And Other Top UC News Stories Of The Week

As analysts tout the future benefits of UCaaS and video, Cisco reports impressive quarterly earnings

Whether you noticed it or not, Google quietly added a significant upgrade to its Hangouts app. Meanwhile, Cisco reported earnings that couldn’t help but attract attention. Read more about these and other noteworthy stories in the world of Unified Communications for the week of Feb. 7 – 13.

1. Peer-to-peer capability added to Google Hangouts

Users of the Google Hangouts messenger app can now enjoy improved call quality and speed via peer-to-peer connections. Google rolled out the upgrade, which will appear on the next update of Hangouts, without much notice. In fact, a Reddit user reported the new functionality days before Google confirmed the updates on Feb. 8. The p2p technology will be available on all of Hangout’s platforms, including iOS, Android and website connection. In a story for CIO Today, Dan Heilman explained that many Hangout users had previously complained about bad reception and interruptions. A p2p connection, which is routed directly to the call recipient, should improve quality. The downside of p2p is that the technology can potentially expose the IP addresses of people on a call.

2. Even strong competition can’t stop Cisco from having a successful quarter

While Cisco had to deal with a tense global market, the communications giant still managed to post a strong quarter. The company reported on Feb. 10 that it generated a revenue of $11.8 billion during the latest fiscal quarter. This was a 2 percent improvement over the same period in 2014. At the same time, Cisco’s net income jumped 8 percent to $2.9 billion. The company achieved impressive growth despite lower sales in business areas such as network switches and the data center. Cisco offset these declines with improvement in routing, security and cloud-based businesses. As Jeffery Burt reported in eWeek, overcoming the unstable world market shows that Cisco is succeeding in expanding beyond its networking roots.

3. UC-as-a-Service could be the secret weapon for workplace productivity

Most IT workplaces already use UC solutions beyond that of email and voice. According to a recent survey by West Unified Communications, however, audio tools are still the most prevalent. While this is certainly an excellent use of the technology, many companies are not tapping into the full powers of UC. In an article for CIO, Sharon Florentine discussed the potential of UC-as-a-Service, especially among the influx of millennials in today’s workforce. By making UC accessible across devices, productivity can be enhanced. While some companies may not like outsourcing solutions to multiple third-party providers, UCaaS can enable superior video, file sharing, chat, voice and more.

4. Expert explains why 2016 will be the year of the video

Tech prognosticators have long been anticipating the future boom of video communications. According to video expert Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research, that boom will be upon us in 2016. Davis, who has been following the conferencing and collaboration industry for 20 years, says visual communications is “about to go mainstream.” In an interview with No Jitter’s Beth Schultz (published on Feb. 11), Davis outlined five reasons why video will finally make a breakthrough. For starters, he says the trend of converging UC and video conferencing has made the process much easier for users. Other indicators include the growth of video conferencing as a service and the reimagining of licensing models.

5. ThinkingPhones will now be known as Fuze

What’s in a name? For the UC cloud company formerly known as ThinkingPhones, it all comes down to a unified brand. That’s why ThinkingPhones executives announced on Feb. 9 that the company will be changing its name to Fuze. The impetus for the identity change dates back to November 2015, when ThinkingPhones acquired video conferencing vendor Fuze. As Robbie Pleasant wrote in an article for UCStrategies, most assumed that the Fuze name would be dropped. According to its executives, however, the “Fuze” name applies better to the company’s platform of fusing voice, video, data and text. UCStrategies analysts say that ThinkingPhones has been aggressively making acquisitions to enhance its UC-as-a-Service offerings.

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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.