As Mitel seeks to become a UC powerhouse, Facebook lays out networking vision for the future
Much of the tech world was focused on what Mark Zuckerberg had to say at the Facebook F8 conference this past week. However, UC supplier Mitel also garnered plenty of attention with its purchase of Polycom. Read on to learn more about these and the top unified communications stories for the week of April 10 – 16.
1. Mitel and Polycom combine to create $2.5 billion UC firm
Mitel may shake up the unified communications market with its purchase of video conferencing specialist Polycom. The deal, which was announced on April 15, will create a cloud communications organization worth $2.5 billion. Mitel CEO Richard McBee called Polycom a leading brand that offers innovative conference and video capabilities. He added that the $1.95 billion merger will create a company that can deliver “integrated solutions to businesses and service providers across enterprise, mobile and cloud environments.” As Alex Scroxton wrote for ComputerWeekly.com, Mitel is betting that the deal will make it a leader in UC services such as business cloud communications, open SIP sets and conference phones.
2. Facebook highlights networking and connectivity at F8 Developer Conference
During his keynote address at the F8 Developer Conference on April 12, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the audience that he wanted to “give everyone the power to share anything with anyone.” Most of the analysis of this vision statement has been focused on the new features that Facebook will incorporate into its site. As dBrn Associates President Michael Finneran pointed out in an article for No Jitter, many of Facebook’s plans directly relate to networking as well. Finneran said he was most fascinated by Zuckerberg’s talk about the Facebook Connectivity Lab, which develops networking technologies. Through availability, affordability and awareness, this lab is attempting to help connect the world’s 4 billion people who don’t have access to the Internet.
3. New Microsoft software expands Office 365’s Groups
Office 365 users will now be able to get information from third-party online services in the Groups platform. This is all thanks to Microsoft Connectors, which was originally released as a preview last year before being officially launched on April 1. By offering the ability to drop third-party information into a shared inbox, Connectors eliminates a reason for team users to leave Groups. In an article for TechTarget published April 11, Tracee Herbaugh pointed out that the new feature, which is only available for Office subscribers, competes directly with similar products from team collaboration platforms like Slack, Redbooth and Unify.
4. Vidyo unveils new product that expands WebRTC support
Vidyo launched a new product on April 14 that enhances functionality for WebRTC-enabled browsers. Dubbed Vidyo Server, the release seems to indicate that the market for WebRTC support is growing, despite what some analysts say. By allowing users to avoid the nuisance of downloading a specific client, Phil Edholm with UCStrategies claims that Server offers a major benefit to utilizing a Vidyo-based platform for external participants. The new product allows those with guest access to a Vidyo conferencing event to use a browser that’s enabled with WebRTC. All existing Vidyo customers will have access to Server for WebRTC 3.2 for free.
5. Cisco relying on startup Springpath to get a leg up in hyper-converge marketplace
While Cisco may have been relatively late to joining the hyper-converged infrastructure market, a file system built by OEM partner Springpath may help the networking giant catch up to competitors. HCI platform HyperFlex, which was released in March, employs Cisco’s server and networking as well as Springpath’s HALO software. Partners are hoping the technology will erase the head start garnered by competitors Dell and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, both of which launched hyper-converged products more than a year earlier. In an article for TechTarget published April 11, Dave Raffo reported that the networking giant chose Springpath as its OEM partner because HALO was the original log-structured distributed object store software created for hyper-convergence.