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‘From: No Jitter’

The feature set looks the same, but not
the pricing or go-to-market strategy.

A year ago last month, Unify officially took the covers off of its Circuit product, becoming the first mainstream UC company to launch one of the many workstream communications and collaboration (WCC) applications available today.

With Circuit’s one-year anniversary just behind us, and the attention Unify garnered earlier this month with the news of its acquisition by Atos, I thought it would be good to take a look at how the product has been doing, what Unify has learned, what changes we should expect to see moving forward, and how Circuit might fit into the Atos portfolio. I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Unify’s Bill Hurley, CMO, and Jan Hickisch, VP of product management, regarding what’s worked, what hasn’t worked, and what’s changed with Circuit.

In a broad partnership, the networking and mobility
giants team on R&D, customer service, network
management, multivendor systems, and more.

I believe it was at Cisco Live 2014 that then Cisco CEO John Chambers said the industry would see “brutal consolidation” as vendors look to grow their portfolios to address the needs of an increasingly complex technology landscape. Today, with rising trends such as mobility, cloud, software-defined networks, network functions virtualization, and big data, that complexity is unquestionably at an all-time high — and that’s driving a definite need to deliver end-to-end, turnkey solutions that let customers deploy technology faster.

Winning in the digital era is predicated on speed. If an organization can move fast, it can capture share quickly and leapfrog the competition. Those that take too long to react to business opportunities will fall behind and join the likes of Radio Shack, Circuit City, and other companies that couldn’t make the shift to digital.

With each of these UC players poised to grow share
on its own, a consolidation seems premature.

As reported on No Jitter and elsewhere, activist investor and hedge fund manager Elliott Management earlier this month disclosed it holds equity positions of about $100 million in Mitel and Polycom — and wants the companies to merge. On paper, Elliott’s idea makes some sense… but logically, not so much, not right now.

But we must take its interest in seeing these UC peers merge quite seriously. When it comes to shaking up the tech industry, Elliott has had as much impact as any organization. In case you’re not familiar with Elliott, you should know that the company played a significant role in the recent Dell-EMC merger, was the party responsible for taking Riverbed private, and currently has a 6.2% stake in Juniper Networks.

New products aimed at supporting natural collaboration styles
could help businesses get more value from meeting spaces.

In August I wrote this No Jitter post discussing the challenges associated with physical meeting spaces and then followed that up with another article in which I debated this topic with Rob Portwood, managing director and owner of Videocall, a U.K.-based systems integrator and service provider. The theme of these blogs was that although the industry has done a nice job with the evolution of virtual collaboration tools, physical space evolution has lagged way behind. For all intents and purposes, the dynamics of huddle rooms, meeting rooms and other meeting spaces are the same as they were decades ago.

This week Polycom held an event in New York to celebrate its 25-year anniversary. At the shindig, the company unveiled a number of innovative new solutions to help evolve physical meeting spaces. While the products were each quite different, they were designed to help organizations maximize the effectiveness of a meeting space — from small huddle rooms up to large conference rooms. Here’s a closer look at the products that I felt were the most meaningful:

Intranets certainly aren’t new, but building one in a way to make it an
interactive hub for employees to collaborate is a refreshing take on it.

A technical definition of “intranet” would be something along the lines of a network that works in the same way as the Internet, yet only certain people can use. But if you ask an employee of a company with an intranet how to define it, he or she would likely say it’s more of a boring webpage that they never go to. Why? Because it’s not really like the Internet at all.

Sure, intranets may work like the Internet, but the Internet is real time, constantly in motion, and always has fresh information. Most intranets are anything but that. Content is updated very infrequently, and the information that’s on the page is often useless to the average employee.

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