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UC Roundup: UCaaS Providers in 'Next Stage' of COVID-19 Surge

Plus, learn what CoreDial, Broadvoice, SkySwitch, TetraVX and more are up to.

Edward Gately

May 8, 2020

10 Min Read
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Unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) providers continue to prosper from the COVID-19-prompted onslaught of remote workforces.

Jay McBain is Forrester’s principal analyst of channel partnerships and alliances. He provides some latest statistics on UCaaS providers:

  • Microsoft reported moving from 44 million to 75 million customers in April alone, and 200 million participants per day.

  • Zoom’s daily participants has exceeded 300 million.

  • Google reports 100 million participants per day.

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Forrester’s Jay McBain

“The initial surge in activity has leveled off as we are moving from the triage stage into the next stage,” McBain said. “UCaaS will continue to be a bright spot in an increasingly bleak channel outlook through 2020 into 2021. We don’t expect a full return to business as usual, and there will be a new demand for remote work and digital collaboration moving forward for the next decade.”

Beyond the initial surge in remote work, partners can capitalize on moving customers to cloud infrastructure faster, he said. They also can recognize and secure new threat parameters, and automate customer workflows.

In addition, they can provide enhanced disaster recovery and redundancy protection. And they can engage deeper in business consulting to help customers survive and, later, thrive from this crisis, McBain said.

Raul Castanon is senior analyst of workforce collaboration for 451 Research/S&P Global Market Intelligence. He said it’s too early to tell how the UCaaS landscape will shift. But it’s clear UCaaS providers as a whole have benefited.

S&P Global’s Voice of the Enterprise: Digital Pulse Coronavirus Flash Survey for March shows organizations are investing in supporting technologies for remote work, he said.

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451 Research’s Raul Castanon

“Survey results show that the top priority for IT decision-makers in response to the pandemic was employee communications and collaboration (43%), followed by mobile devices and services (37%) and network capacity (32%),” Castanon said. “The anticipation of these increased investments was significantly stronger among larger organizations ($1 billion-plus revenue).”

Work from home also led to user behavior changes that should influence demand for UCaaS providers post COVID-19, Castanon said.

“Prior to the crisis, video conferencing was steadily growing, but adoption was mostly among early adopters, including startups and technology companies,” he said. “The pandemic accelerated adoption practically overnight, not just in the number of users, but also in terms of the number and length of meetings. While this reflects a spike that will probably level off as businesses reopen and employees return to the workplace, it is likely that average use will still be higher than before the pandemic.”

Furthermore, survey results also show the pandemic should cause long-term changes in ways we work, Castanon said.

“Significant portions of respondents expect policies implemented in response to the coronavirus outbreak to be permanent,” he said. “These include …

… work-from-home policies (38%), travel limitations (23%) and reduced event attendance (16%).”

Rick Beckers is CEO of XaaS1. He said opportunities for UCaaS providers “shot through the roof” because everyone realized they needed some level of it.

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XaaS1’s Rick Beckers

“Some prospects are thinking about forklift upgrades to UCaaS from on-premises,” he said. “Some will be thinking about hybrid or temporary UCaaS to give them the work-from-home capabilities that they need, but plan to go back to on-premise at the end of the pandemic. All businesses are at least looking at UCaaS, even if it’s in order to have a pandemic work-from-home contingency plan that is going to become a component of most companies risk management analysis process. This is true for all technology-as-a-service solutions that solve the remote worker need. The demand is still very high.”

How UCaaS providers have fared depends on if they embraced the technology-as-a-service UCaaS solutions prior to the pandemic, Beckers said.

“If you were hanging on to the on-premises solution as your core competency, good luck,” he said. “XaaS1 is a ‘born-in-the-cloud’ digital distributor that has been preaching the virtualized world of tech solutions for years. So, while we are horrified by the toll on humanity brought about by the pandemic, we benefited by the escalation of this need forced upon everyone by the mandatory work-from-home orders.”

The virtualized technology-as-a-service world is here to stay regardless of when businesses reopen, Beckers said.

“The benefits outweigh the drawbacks by so much that it’s too compelling for business leaders to not adapt it. I think the adaptation will be faster than anything you’ve ever seen. It’s expanding into industries like telemedicine, which is creating new opportunities for channel partners. Our phone is ringing off the hook,” he said.

Broadvoice Integrates with Microsoft Teams

Broadvoice‘s b-hive UCaaS platform now integrates with the Microsoft Teams collaboration hub in Office 365.

Microsoft AppSource is offering Broadvoice for Microsoft Teams. It allows businesses to access b-hive’s enterprise-class communications functions natively from the Teams application on any computer or mobile device.

Rebecca Rosen is Broadvoice’s vice president of marketing. She said Broadvoice has its own proprietary Communicator platform to move from messaging to collaboration.

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Broadvoice’s Rebecca Rosen

“Yet many businesses are looking to get more features into the collaboration tools they already are using,” she said. “With the Teams integration, partners have another tool to make it even easier for businesses to extend advanced calling features into their Microsoft Teams environment. New partner opportunities lie within companies that have needed to push to remote work, solved the collaboration with Teams, but lost their traditional advanced office calling capabilities with their PBX housed at the corporate office.”

Broadvoice for Microsoft Teams is an add-on to any b-hive cloud PBX seat. Broadvoice b-hive and Broadvoice for Microsoft Teams are hosted in the Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure.

In addition, they are backed by …

… monitoring and support, enterprise-grade encryption and built-in security.

“Broadvoice’s competitive advantage lies within our customers’ ability to mix and match seat types with the Microsoft Teams integration, our competitive pricing and robust PBX features, while offering customers the opportunity to work within the collaboration tools that they’re already using,” Rosen said. “Essentially, partners can continue to sell our award-winning, competitively-priced, feature-rich cloud PBX platform while connecting their customers to their collaboration tool of choice.”

CoreDial UCaaS Now Includes SMS, MMS

CoreDial has added text and multimedia messaging tools to its CoreNexa UCaaS platform.

Through CoreDial’s SMS/MMS features, users can send text messages, images, videos or documents to both individuals and groups. Inbound messages can be accessed from anywhere through the CoreNexa UC Client.

Ken Lienemann is CoreDial‘s CRO. He said CoreDial’s partners can deliver a “compelling communications” tool that is gaining popularity with businesses and end users.

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CoreDial’s Ken Lienemann

“As more people opt for text as a primary communications medium, these SMS features enable partners to satisfy the growing demand from businesses who need SMS capabilities to improve efficiency and meet end user expectations,” he said. “This feature also enables partners to stay relevant to customer demands as this trend continues.”

There are other UCaaS providers that offer SMS capabilities, Lienemann said.

“But the fact that CoreDial’s SMS features are embedded within its CoreNexa platform allows partners to quickly provision and monetize these services,” he said. “Through CoreNexa, partners can effortlessly add new capabilities as customer needs evolve, without having to go through a variety of lengthy processes to deliver revenue-generating innovations.”

Vitiello Communications Group said nearly 70% of employees believe text is applicable for interoffice communication. Salesforce.com reports 84% of businesses use, or plan to use, texting in their sales and marketing efforts.

“We continue to focus on adding the features our channel partners need to the CoreNexa platform, and will continue to develop even more compelling solutions that will empower the channel to succeed,” said Alan Rihm, CoreDial’s CEO.

TetraVX Beefs Up nVx Solution

TetraVX has added messaging and meeting collaboration functionality to its nVX solution.

These new features give nVX customers access to messaging, collaboration and multiparty video conferencing tools through their web-based nVX application and mobile nVX application.

Sara Blengeri is channel sales manager at TetraVX. She said the new nVX platform features can be sold through the company’s referral and wholesale partner programs.

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TetraVX’s Sara Blengeri

“With our new meetings and messaging tools, our channel partners can now support their clients beyond just peer-to-peer collaboration, but how to provide a better customer experience,” she said.

Video conferencing has become a key component of how businesses function, TetraVX said. A messaging and video conferencing platform allows them to focus on their day-to-day responsibilities and navigate potential disruptions during a pandemic.

The nVX meetings feature allows users to video conference, and chat with colleagues and customers. Users also can share files, access whiteboards, view calendars, schedule meetings and more.

The new messaging feature offers …

… multiparty collaboration, edit messages, create documents and folders. It also performs numerous task management responsibilities.

“TetraVX’s approach to collaboration goes beyond peer-to-peer collaboration,” Blengeri said. “With nVX, organizations can invite their external users, for example a customer or vendor partner, to collaborate directly with the organization easily via mobile or web. The goal is to open up secure lines of communications between business and customers, and enable organizations to deliver better, more collaborative customer experiences.”

SkySwitch Rolls Out Reseller Rewards Program

SkySwitch, a channel-exclusive white label UCaaS provider, announced a new rewards program designed to credit resellers for purchases of eligible products and services made through the SkySwitch Store.

In conjunction with the start of the program, SkySwitch has launched a “name the program” contest for SkySwitch resellers. Through May 31, SkySwitch resellers can submit their suggested name for the program.

The first reseller that provides the selected name will get 25,000 reward points.

SkySwitch resellers will earn points that are applied as a credit to their account at the time of check out. This includes all purchases made within the online store.

Device manufacturers and distributors can promote specific products. This allows them to earn additional rewards points, increasing the credit applied for each eligible reseller purchase.

“Resellers receive an additional benefit when they or their customers purchase eligible products and services in the SkySwitch Store,” said Kelly Osborne, SkySwitch‘s eCommerce operations manager. “Resellers purchasing through the store have always benefited from our one-step auto-provisioning of devices, and in-house expert support for all products sold through the store. Now with the rewards program, our device and fulfillment partners can launch promotions and incentive programs with ease, giving resellers better information, more choices and higher profitability.”

No registration is required. All buyers of eligible items in the SkySwitch Store qualify for instant rewards points. They are applied as a credit at the point of sale.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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