Two Things this UC Analyst is Thankful For

Nov 23, 2016

It’s that time of the year again when we all take a moment to reflect on the things we are thankful for. On a personal level, it is usually good health, friends, family, and at least for me, the smart and cool people I get to work with. As an industry analyst covering unified communications, I have the pleasure of working with some vendors who still think outside the box, even though it would be easy to maintain the status quo. It seems only fitting to extend some gratitude to some of the truly innovative companies doing cool things.

Business Communications becoming Inclusive: A few weeks ago, I wrote up a few comments on the launch of Workplace by Facebook. My biggest knock on the offering is that it “doesn’t move the ball”. In other words, I don’t want solutions that add to the information overload. I am looking for things that are not just unified communications, but rather inclusive of all the information and communications tools I need at a given moment. And as luck would have it, I got the first taste of what inclusive communications might feel like at the recently held NEXTCON16.

At the event, Tomas Gorny, CEO of Nextiva, unveiled a substantial upgrade to their NextOS communications platform. Coming next year, NextOS is not only going to bring all of the disparate communications applications such as telephony, persistent chat, screen sharing, and conferencing under a unified communications portal, but also leverage those applications and the data they generate to provide actual business value to the organization. There is a lot of intelligence about customers found deep in call logs, emails, chat histories, and customer surveys just waiting to be tapped. Nextiva hopes, through a highly focused analytics engine and “customer journey” database, to not only surface that intelligence to help businesses better serve their customers, but to deliver it at a price even its smallest clients can afford. So, this year, I am thankful for innovators that are taking a holistic look at business communications and delivering next-generation solutions that actually add value.

A single headset for unified communications: I have a confession: I have an actual desk drawer full of headsets, and most of them work and sound really great. Some connect to my office phone, some to my smartphone, while others connect to my laptop. Each of them had a specific role, based on what communications modality I was using at the time. In other words, they drove me a little crazy, wasting a lot of time trying to figure out not only what application I needed to be in for the next conference call, but also which headset I need to use.

But since earlier this year, there has only been one headset on my desk, the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC, and I am happy to report that my downward spiral into UC madness has slowed. The Voyager Focus UC connects to all my Bluetooth-enabled devices, delivering excellent sound quality and active noise cancellation, whether I am in my office or trying to tune out the tourists on an Orlando-bound airplane. So, this year I am thankful for one headset turning my desk drawer into a headset graveyard.

Whether they know it or not, Nextiva and Plantronics share a common goal: build cool things that actually improve the lives of the people using them. They are focused on making business communications both simpler and more powerful. 

Michael Brandenburg


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