Tag Archives: communications

4 cloud UC partnerships to watch in 2020

In 2019, unified communications vendors forged partnerships to integrate their products and plug holes in their portfolios.

Avaya and RingCentral came together to deliver cloud telephony to the midmarket, while Microsoft and Cisco reached a truce in the hopes of making it easier for users to join meetings across platforms.

Slack and Zoom inked a deal to align roadmaps, while Zoom and RingCentral agreed to keep bundling their calling and video services for at least another couple of years.

These cloud UC partnerships could bring significant new features to users and help the vendors involved stand out from the competition. But questions remain about exactly how each of them will play out in 2020 and beyond.

Avaya-RingCentral

In October, Avaya and RingCentral announced a partnership to sell the latter’s UC-as-a-service offering to the former’s base of on-premises customers.

The new product, Avaya Cloud Office by RingCentral, is supposed to launch in the first quarter of 2020. Avaya’s resellers will attempt to sell it to the small and midsize businesses that currently use Avaya IP Office.

The deal followed reports that Avaya was in advanced talks with private equity firms interested in buying the company. Ultimately, the vendor opted to partner with a competitor that had been stealing its on-premises customers for years.

The partnership brings together a leading cloud vendor and an industry stalwart with one of the largest bases of customers in the industry. But many remain skeptical about how much the deal will benefit the two companies.

Analysts have questioned whether it was smart for RingCentral to partner with Avaya when it was already successfully recruiting the vendor’s customers.

Meanwhile, Avaya’s customers are waiting to find out how different the joint cloud product will be from RingCentral’s standard offering. Avaya has said it plans to enhance the product with extra features familiar to on-premises users.

“The big question is, can Avaya really sell cloud? They have not really been successful in the past,” said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research. “Another question is, will Avaya customers embrace this?”

Microsoft-Cisco

In November, longtime rivals Microsoft and Cisco revealed they were working together to enable better interoperability between their video conferencing room systems.

Businesses currently use third-party gateways to connect room systems. But the setup is unreliable and provides limited functionality in meetings.

In the future, Microsoft and Cisco room kits will load the other party’s app in a web browser. That will provide a native meeting experience and eliminate the need for a third-party gateway. The vendors expect to launch the feature in early 2020.

Microsoft is working with Zoom to enable the same kind of interoperability, a sign that the video conferencing industry could soon unite around the new method as a standard.

But cloud UC vendors have been promising to make joining meetings quick and easy for years. Large organizations will likely be taking a “wait and see” approach to the latest attempt to do so, said Dion Hinchcliffe, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

Meanwhile, Microsoft also said it would certify Cisco as a partner providing traditional gateway services for interoperability. Plus, it will let customers use Cisco’s session border controllers to support calling in Microsoft Teams.

The cooperation between Microsoft and Cisco is welcome news to the many large organizations that use a mix of technologies from both vendors. For Cisco, the initiative could be crucial in helping convince customers to keep their Webex video gear in place.

“What this shows you is that Microsoft is no longer afraid of Cisco,” Hinchcliffe said. “The bottom line is, Cisco wants to stay in the game. We are seeing Microsoft and Zoom winning a lot and having Cisco being pulled out.”

Slack-Zoom

In April, Slack and Zoom announced that they would align product roadmaps and develop joint marketing strategies.

The team collaboration vendor and the video conferencing provider have maintained a close association for years. The deal reached in April made that relationship formal, bringing together two upstarts that have disrupted their respective markets.

One aspect of the partnership involves better integrations between the two products. The companies have already made it easier to join Zoom meetings from within Slack. In the future, they are planning to power calling in Slack using Zoom Phone.

But analysts are still waiting to see whether Slack and Zoom will pursue joint sales activities, such as offering a discount for buying both products as a bundle.

A Slack-Zoom bundle could help the vendors compete against larger rivals Microsoft and Cisco. But the package would still be missing a calling service capable of appealing to the largest businesses. Zoom’s one-year-old telephony offering, Zoom Phone, does not yet offer everything those customers need, said Raúl Castañón-Martinez, analyst at 451 Research.

“While a combined offering is very compelling, I don’t think it poses a significant threat to Cisco or Microsoft,” Castañón-Martinez said. “Still, this could set the stage for Zoom and Slack to become disruptive in the near future.”

Zoom-RingCentral

For years, RingCentral has relied on Zoom to provide a video conferencing app to its UC-as-a-service customers. Zoom’s technology powers an offering called RingCentral Meetings.

In May, the two companies announced a “multiyear” extension of the partnership. But Zoom’s push into the cloud calling market is likely straining that relationship. Zoom has been rapidly building out Zoom Phone, a product that could replace RingCentral’s calling service within some organizations.

In launching Zoom Phone in 2018, CEO Eric Yuan suggested the company did not intend to compete with RingCentral. But Zoom was far less shy about pushing the product at its annual user conference in 2019, saying it was time for all customers to adopt it.

At the conference, Yuan told reporters and analysts he expected the relationship with RingCentral to continue. Given the multiyear extension announced in May, that may be true, at least in the near term. But analysts said it would make sense if RingCentral were developing a backup plan for video communications.

“It makes sense that RingCentral might consider its own meeting app and reduce reliance on Zoom,” said Irwin Lazar, analyst at Nemertes Research. “That doesn’t preclude them from continuing to support and partner with Zoom as well, for at least the time being.”

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Office 365 vs. G Suite: Google embraces UC to rival Microsoft

For Google, the unified communications market is a means to an end: keeping G Suite competitive with Microsoft’s Office 365. In 2020, Google plans to close in on the Microsoft suite’s core communication features by migrating businesses to Hangouts Chat, the messaging complement to G Suite’s calling and video conferencing apps.

In mid-2020, Hangouts Chat will replace an older, more basic chat app called Hangouts. While the new app is an improvement, Google will have to add features and build a much larger partner ecosystem to reach par with Office 365.

What’s more, Google’s strategy of maintaining separate products for core communications services is at odds with the direction of the market. Vendors like Microsoft have consolidated calling, messaging and meetings services into a single user interface. But Google is keeping Hangouts Chat distinct from the video conferencing app Hangouts Meet.

“Their challenges are more related to fundamentally who they are,” TJ Keitt, an analyst at Forrester Research, said. “They’re a company that, for a while, had struggled to indicate they understand all the things that large enterprises require.”

G Suite has trailed Office 365 for years. In particular, Google has struggled to appeal to organizations with thousands and tens of thousands of employees. Those customers often require complex feature sets, but Google likes to keep things simple.

“It’s really important for us to provide just really simple, delightful experiences that work,” Smita Hashim, manager of G Suite’s communications apps, said in December. “It’s not like we need every bell and whistle and every feature.”

In 2019, Google tackled low-hanging fruit that had been standing in the way of selling G Suite to customers with thousands of employees. Giving customers some control over where their data is stored was a significant change. Also, adding numerous IT controls and security backstops was critical to enterprises.

But Google does not appear interested in matching Office 365 feature-for-feature. Instead, analysts expect the company will seek to grow G Suite in 2020 and beyond by focusing on specific industries and kinds of companies.

“If Google plays the long game, they don’t need to really worry about whether or not they are beating Microsoft in a lot of the companies that are here right now,” Keitt said. Instead, Google can target new and adolescent companies that haven’t bought into Office 365.

Google’s targets will likely include the verticals of education and technology, as well as fast-growing businesses with a young workforce. The company has already won some big names. In 2019, G Suite added tech company Iron Mountain, with 26,000 employees, and Whirlpool, with 92,000 employees.

In 2020, Google needs to decide whether to get serious about building a communications portfolio on par with Microsoft’s. That would entail expanding the business calling service it launched this year, Google Voice for G Suite.

So far, the vendor has signaled it will keep the calling service simple. Whereas traditional telephony systems offer upwards of 200 features, Google opted for fewer than 20. The new year will likely bring only incremental changes, such as the certification of more desk phones.

“I think, incrementally, they are continuing to improve. They are trying to close the gap,” said Irwin Lazar, an analyst at Nemertes Research. “What I haven’t seen Google really try to do is leapfrog the market.”

Nevertheless, the cloud productivity market is likely still a lucrative one for Google. As of February, 5 million organizations subscribed to G Suite, some paying as much as $25 per user, per month. 

Google Cloud, a division that includes G Suite as well as the vendor’s infrastructure-as-a-service platform, was on track to generate $8 billion in annual revenue as of July.

“Being number two in a multi-billion-dollar [office productivity] market is fine,” said Jeffrey Mann, an analyst at Garter.

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Vonage Meetings rounds out vendor’s cloud portfolio

Vonage plans to add a homegrown video conferencing app to its cloud-based business communications portfolio in December. The move is the latest example of a UC vendor combining calling, messaging and meetings.

Vonage Meetings, currently in beta, is scheduled to launch in December for businesses subscribed to Vonage’s cloud UC product. The vendor said it would not make the meetings platform available as a stand-alone offering.

Vonage currently provides video conferencing capabilities to customers through a partnership with Amazon Web Services, which makes the meetings app Amazon Chime. Vonage built the new platform using technology inherited through its acquisition of TokBox in 2018.

The release of Vonage Meetings follows moves by competitors, including 8×8, which launched a revamped meetings product in September. Market leaders Microsoft and Cisco have also built out all-in-one communications suites that include video over the last couple of years.

Vonage has a strategy of building a technology stack that doesn’t rely on third parties, said Raúl Castañón-Martinez, analyst at 451 Research. “This is a bold move but will allow them more flexibility in terms of defining their roadmap.”

Vonage Meetings will be fully integrated with the vendor’s voice platform to let users quickly move between voice and video calls. Guests will be able to join meetings using a web browser without installing a client or plug-in.

Vonage said it would provide customers with a log of past meetings, including a record of in-meeting chats.

Vonage now has a single cloud platform from which it can deliver voice and video services, said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research. “I think that will work as a very good competitive advantage for them moving forward.”

In the future, Vonage will need to integrate Vonage Meetings with conference room equipment and software, Kerravala said. Also, the vendor should focus on improving its relatively basic messaging app.

Vonage announced the meetings platform this week at Vonage Campus 2019, a user conference in San Francisco. The company also released a new logo as it continues to pivot away from the consumer market.

Founded in 2001, Vonage was among the first vendors to offer internet-based phone service to consumers, but, more recently, has transformed into a business-to-business company.

“I think the Vonage that we knew as the consumer-first company is quickly winding down,” Kerravala said.

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UCaaS vendor Intermedia adds Telax CCaaS to portfolio

Unified communications vendor Intermedia has added contact center software to its cloud portfolio. The move is the latest example of how the markets for UC and contact center technologies are converging.

Intermedia follows the lead of other cloud UC vendors, including RingCentral, Vonage and 8×8, in building or acquiring a contact center as a service (CCaaS) platform. Intermedia’s CCaaS software stems from the acquisition of Toronto-based Telax in August.

The Intermedia Contact Center will be available as a stand-alone offering or bundled with Intermedia Unite, a cloud-based suite of calling, messaging and video conferencing applications. Intermedia will sell the offering in three tiers: Express, Pro and Elite.

Express — sold only as an add-on to Intermedia Unite — is a basic call routing platform for small businesses. Pro includes more advanced call routing, analytics, and support for additional contact channels, such as chat.

Elite, the most expensive tier, integrates with CRM platforms and includes support for self-service voice bots, outbound notification campaigns and quality assurance monitoring. 

Intermedia has already integrated Express with its UC platform. It’s planning to do the same for Pro and Elite early next year.

Integrating UC and contact center platforms can save money by letting customer service agents transfer calls outside of the contact center without going through the public telephone network. Plus, communication between agents and others in the organization is more effective when everyone uses the same chat and video apps.

Based in Sunnyvale, Calif., Intermedia sells its technology to small and midsize businesses through 6,600 channel partners. Most of them are managed service providers that brand Intermedia’s service as their own.

In addition to UC and contact center, Intermedia offers email archiving and encryption, file backup and sharing systems, and hosted Microsoft email services.

Roughly 1.4 million people across 125,000 businesses use Intermedia’s technology. The company, founded in 1995 and now owned by private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners, said its acquisition of Telax brought annual revenue to around $250 million. 

Founded in 1997, Telax sold its CCaaS platform exclusively through service providers, which rebranded it mostly for small and midsize businesses.

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Cisco’s acquisition of Acacia bolsters service provider offerings

Cisco plans to acquire Acacia Communications for $2.6 billion, a move that would make Cisco a direct supplier of packet-optical transport systems for carrier networks and organizations that connect data centers across hundreds of miles.

Cisco announced the pending purchase on Tuesday in a joint statement with Acacia, based in Maynard, Mass. The companies expect to close the Cisco acquisition in the first half of next year.

Cisco offers Acacia’s packet-optical transport systems (P-OTS) with networking gear it sells today to carriers, cloud service providers and the largest enterprises. Cisco rivals Juniper Networks and Huawei are also Acacia customers, and analysts expect them to eventually turn to other P-OTS suppliers, such as Ciena, Inphi and Nokia.

“If I’m a Juniper or a Huawei, why would I buy from Cisco?” said Rajesh Ghai, an analyst at IDC.

Bill Gartner, general manager of Cisco's optical systems groupBill Gartner

Nevertheless, Acacia customers can expect from Cisco the same level of support that they receive today and equal access to products, said Bill Gartner, general manager of the vendor’s optical systems group.

“If we’re going to make this successful, we have to make sure that we’re providing the technology to third parties that they want to consume at the time they want to consume it and at the right performance and price point,” Gartner said. “I don’t think we could make this successful more broadly if we give Cisco preference on any of those parameters.”

Reasoning behind Cisco acquisition

Cisco has agreed to acquire Acacia because the company’s optical interconnect technology will let Cisco help customers design networks that can keep pace with the projected increase in data traffic. Cisco has predicted that annual global IP traffic will increase from 1.5 zettabytes in 2017 to 4.8 zettabytes by 2022. Contributors to the traffic surge include internet growth, video content delivery and emerging next-generation wireless technology to support more demanding business applications.

Today, Cisco’s proprietary optical transport technology ends in the data center, where analysts expect port speeds of 100 Gbps and 400 Gbps to become commonplace over the next couple of years. To meet that emerging demand, Cisco this year completed the $660 million acquisition of silicon photonics company Luxtera.

With Acacia, Cisco will also own the optical technology for service providers that need high-speed connections for metropolitan area networks or data centers as far as 1,500 miles apart.

“Our optics business today is primarily addressing what’s happening inside the data center — short-reach optics,” Gartner said during a conference call with financial analysts. “We don’t have a portfolio today that addresses what happens outside the data center for pluggables.”

Acacia’s portfolio includes pluggables, which are optical modular transceivers that vendors can sell as a plugin for a router or switch. The pluggable architecture, which is in its infancy, promises to simplify upgrading and repairing transceivers in networking gear.

John Burke, an analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill., said Acacia could help Cisco “stay dominant in large data center markets long term,” while also providing some technical advantages over Arista, Juniper and Huawei.

“I suspect it will also give a boost to some smaller optical companies and trigger at least one more acquisition — perhaps by Arista,” Burke said.

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Gartner UC Magic Quadrant ranking belies Avaya’s challenges

Avaya has regained its position as a market leader in Gartner’s annual rankings of unified communications vendors, after being dropped from the list amid bankruptcy last year. But the vendor will likely struggle to keep pace with Microsoft and Cisco in the years ahead, analysts said.

Avaya’s return to the leadership quadrant in the 2018 Gartner UC Magic Quadrant report is a positive development for the company as it tries to reassure customers that new leadership and a cloud-first strategy will lead to long-term financial stability.

But IT buyers should be careful not to read too much into Avaya’s latest Gartner ranking. The vendor lost its leadership spot because it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2017 — and it regained the honor this year mostly because those proceedings are now finished, according to a co-author of the Gartner UC Magic Quadrant. 

“Overall, they are looking in better shape financially,” said Steve Blood, analyst at Gartner. “What they can’t shake off yet, though, is that they did have years of underinvestment in product.”

Avaya has gotten more aggressive in building out its cloud portfolio and investing in AI technologies over the past year, acquiring the cloud contact center vendor Spoken Communications and launching a partner program for AI developers. The vendor is “moving in the right direction,” Blood said.

But Avaya still has work to do to convince businesses of the value of its relatively new cloud products, such as Avaya Equinox and Avaya Oceana, Blood said. Meanwhile, Microsoft and Cisco have continued to expand upon a “huge” product and execution advantage over Avaya and Mitel, the other top-ranked vendor in the Gartner UC Magic Quadrant.

Avaya looks to move past bankruptcy, achieve growth

Some channel partners that had previously sold only Avaya products decided to pursue partnerships with competing vendors amid the financial uncertainty in 2017 — a weakness highlighted in the Gartner UC Magic Quadrant.

For the most part, however, Avaya’s sizable customer base seems comfortable with the company’s position right now, a testament in part to how transparent Avaya was with them during the bankruptcy proceedings, said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research in Westminster, Mass.

“Now they are in a position where they are OK financially at this current revenue level and this current debt load,” Kerravala said. “From a customer perspective, these next two, three, four quarters are very important to see if the company is actually growing.”

Avaya does have a strong portfolio of public and private cloud products, Kerravala said. The company’s challenge now will be changing its public perception as a legacy on-premises vendor.

Avaya likely has more opportunity for growth in the contact center market — where its products stack up well against main rivals Genesys and Cisco — than in the UC market, which is becoming dominated increasingly by Microsoft and Cisco, said Irwin Lazar, analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill.

“I think they have got a challenge in terms of where they have opportunities to grow at this point,” Lazar said. “I don’t see them taking market share from Microsoft and Cisco.”

Windstream SD-WAN gets help connecting to the cloud

Network service provider Windstream Communications plans to release in August a service for connecting the Windstream SD-WAN to applications running on Microsoft Azure. The product, called SD-WAN Cloud Connect, is designed to provide a reliable connection to public clouds.

Windstream introduced the service in July, with initial support limited to Amazon Web Services. Windstream plans to add support for other cloud providers over time.

Connecting corporate employees to application services running in a public cloud is not a trivial matter. Corporate IT has to know the performance requirements of cloud-based applications and the expected usage patterns to estimate network bandwidth capacity. Engineers also have to identify potential bottlenecks and plan for monitoring network traffic and network connection endpoints after deploying applications in the cloud.

Windstream’s virtual edge device

Windstream’s latest Cloud Connect service is designed to eliminate some of the hassles of connecting to the public cloud. The service connects through a virtual edge device that communicates with the Windstream SD-WAN Concierge offering, which is a premise-based version of VMware’s VeloCloud.

Windstream can deploy the edge device in its data center or on a customer’s virtualized server. After installing the software, Windstream activates it and handles all management chores as part of the customer’s Windstream SD-WAN service.

Windstream provides an online portal for creating, deploying and managing SD-WAN routing and security policies. The site includes a console for accessing real-time intelligence on link performance.

Windstream’s partnership with an SD-WAN vendor is not unique. Many service providers have announced such deals to compete for a share of the fast-growing market. Other alliances include Comcast Business and CenturyLink with Versa Networks; Verizon with Viptela, which is owned by Cisco; and AT&T and Sprint with VeloCloud.

Windstream, which serves mostly small and midsize enterprises, has grown its network service business through acquisition. In January, Windstream announced it would acquire Mass Communications, a New York-based competitive local exchange carrier. In 2017, Windstream completed the acquisitions of Broadview and EarthLink.

Airbnb, Univision highlight best practices in BI

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — For multibillion-dollar industry giants like Airbnb and Univision Communications, best practices in BI help drive growth.

BI at Airbnb

Data streams in constantly at Airbnb, and top executives want insights daily, said Theresa Johnson, a data scientist and products manager for financial infrastructure at the San Francisco-based company, during a panel at the 2018 Real BI Conference.

To handle demands, Johnson helped develop an easier system for creating and linking metrics, and she fosters a workplace environment that has her data science team focusing on collaboration.

Airbnb largely uses its own set of tools for sorting data, Johnson said. But she said one of the best practices in BI she used was to create a scalable system, with linked metrics about the online market for the private vacation housing rentals that could be looked at and edited on the go with “slice-and-dice” tactics.

The system has its faults, as new metrics that harbor errors could inadvertently shut down large chunks of the system when it was introduced. Recognizing that, Johnson said she established a developer environment in which new metrics can be tested safely before linking with the system.

Theresa Johnson, data scientist on supply growth at AirbnbTheresa Johnson

Johnson also developed scalable and repeatable tools to easily link new metrics without having to do the bulk of the work manually, which she said saves time and energy.

“One thing I learned from fellow designers is that you want to preference familiarity,” Johnson said. “You don’t want people to come to your tool and have to struggle [with] it.”

For these types of tools, “the more work that it is to use, the less likely I am to use it,” she said.

Data transparency

Data at Airbnb is also transparent, according to Johnson.

A version of final reports on the data is accessible by anyone in the company, and it’s used weekly by certain key stakeholders.

Airbnb has about 4,000 employees, and most of them look at company reports, Johnson said.

Daily active users are far fewer, “but everyone in the company cares; everyone in the company should be informed,” she said, highlighting one of the best practices in BI.

Using an open and transparent platform inspires care and accountability, she noted. So, “don’t be secretive.”

Making data accessible

Simone Knight, Univision CommunicationsSimone Knight

Univision Communications has a similar philosophy, noted Simone Knight, vice president of marketing and media intelligence at the New York-based media giant, which targets Hispanic Americans, in her panel talk.

Knight also cited the need for an easy-to-use and open system.

Listing some of the best practices in BI, she suggested setting up a dashboard on an “always-on display,” preferably on a large touchscreen. With a setup like that, she said, people will be more willing to look at the data and will be able to more easily dig into it.

In meetings, she said, “stop PowerPoints.” Use a live dashboard instead, which will be more interactive and feature the freshest information.

Storytelling as a best practice in BI

Noting the importance of telling a story with the data, especially in the marketing world, Knight said it’s best to try to weave stories into new products or tools when they launch, to better hook a customer and establish a user base. Storytelling can be important, too, when trying to explain data insights to management.

Knight said she often talks her 7-year-old daughter through the data first before presenting something during a meeting.

“If I can find a way to simplify it with her, I can find a way to simplify it with anyone,” she said.

She also noted the growing relevance of automated BI systems, which can save employees valuable time and cut costs.

Everyone in the company cares; everyone in the company should be informed [about data].
Theresa Johnsondata scientist and products manager for financial infrastructure at Airbnb

In addition to BI, Univision has begun using predictive analytics for determining the potential ratings of upcoming television shows. Using an algorithm, the company can predict ratings on premieres, taking into account the time of year, other shows currently being run at that time and how well past premieres have done.

For its part, Airbnb has its own “fully automated” framework in place for sorting through and digging into data, Johnson said in her own take on best practices in BI.

“We’ve set up a framework to make sure that we’re ingesting the right data, that we’re combining the data in ways that are meaningful, and that we’re surfacing regularly and reliably,” Johnson said.

It took a “bit of infrastructure” to make it automated, she said, but now saves on time, cost and energy.

The Real BI Conference was held June 27 to 28 at the MIT Tang Center.

Ribbon Communications boosts UCaaS portfolio with Edgewater buy

Ribbon Communications said it will acquire network edge orchestration provider Edgewater Networks for $110 million to expand its unified communications portfolio and enter the software-defined WAN market.

The acquisition offers Ribbon Communications, based in Westford, Mass., the opportunity to expand its service offerings, especially for its UC-as-a-service (UCaaS) provider partners, according to Irwin Lazar, analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill.

“The Edgewater portfolio brings in a wide range of edge devices that enables UCaaS providers to monitor performance quality for voice and video services,” he said. Edgewater Networks, based in San Jose, Calif., has more than 635,000 actively deployed edge devices and more than 20 million connected endpoints, according to Ribbon.

Edgewater Networks provides service assurance, security and analytics tools for unified communications and software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) through a hybrid cloud or edge model. Its customers include communications service providers, managed services providers, and small and midsize enterprises.

Managing UC performance at remote offices

With the acquisition, Ribbon Communications will expand its UC portfolio with end-to-end service assurance and analytics for its Kandy UCaaS offering, as well as voice and data intelligence capabilities in its Ribbon Protect UC security offering.

Ribbon’s UCaaS offering is based on its Kandy embedded communications platform, and it uses Kandy’s APIs to provide voice, video and contact center capabilities. Ribbon Protect UC provides end-to-end security of the communications network to mitigate threats, such as toll fraud and telephony denial-of-service attacks.

The combined portfolio of Ribbon and Edgewater will expand Ribbon’s Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams offerings. Edgewater Networks’ services have been used in a number of Skype of Business deployments as remote survivable gateways, Lazar said.

“Blending the two companies provides a broader range of devices for both enterprises and service providers to manage UC performance at remote offices,” he said.

The combined portfolio helps Ribbon Communications toward its goal of expanding its global reach and entering new markets. Acquiring Edgewater Networks gives Ribbon entry to the SD-WAN market, Patrick Joggerst, chief marketing officer and executive vice president of business development at Ribbon, wrote in a blog post. Edgewater’s SD-WAN offering targets small and midsize organizations, but the acquisition will allow Edgewater to target larger enterprises and expand outside North America, he said.

The acquisition comes nearly eight months after real-time communications provider Genband and session border controller and UC security provider Sonus merged and rebranded under the Ribbon Communications name. The Edgewater acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter and highlights the ongoing vendor consolidation swirling around the UC market.