As we have for the past 14 years, we will end this year with a look back at our 2013 predictions to see how well we did with our educated guesses, and we’ll wrap up 2013 with predictions for 2014. But before we get there, for the first time in our blog’s history we will look back with a “UC 2013 Year in Review” across several installments. We’ll break up our 2013 review into three categories: service provider news, infrastructure supplier news, and general trends. Today we’ll look back at highlights from the service provider community.
The year started with a deal between AT&T and Polycom, as the two companies announced an agreement to personalize, mobilize and virtualize video meetings. Also in January, 8x8 expanded its services into Canada; 8x8 also expanded into the UK later in the year. T-Mobile launched a new service that incorporates mobile devices as part of a fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) solution targeting the business customer; the solution extends desk phone capabilities to mobile phones. RingCentral announced new features for the Office@Hand service available from AT&T, while MegaPath launched its Enterprise Trunking voice offer.
Before the winter snows had a chance to thaw, IntelePeer teamed with BroadSoft to offering service providers high-definition (HD) voice and video calling beyond their existing network footprint; IntelePeer also now provides its Fluent federation-as-a-service (FaaS) as the IP backbone that connects BroadSoft VoIP service providers. Orange Business Services deployed new unified communications and voice services based on Microsoft Lync 2013, and it launched an Orange Video Meeting app providing video meetings to mobile devices.
As the flowers started to bloom, Vonage had added mobile video, 8x8 upgraded its desktop, and Broadsoft introduced an FMC solution. XO enhanced its hosted PBX service, Orange Business Services extended its UcaaS offer to six continents, and Thinking Phone Networks also launched its UC service to the EMEA region. AT&T introduced Mobile Workplace, a cloud-based service targeting SMBs.
By mid-year, we had over a dozen videoconferencing and collaboration announcements including a new joint cloud-based solution from IntelePeer and Vidtel, while Blue Jeans and Yorktel upgraded their portfolios. AGT upgraded mobile video, and Tata introduced a reservationless videoconferencing service. (More 2013 video news will be featured in our next edition focused on equipment suppliers.)
Over the summer, Zeacom introduced an operator console for Lync. IntelePeer’s SIP Trunking service earned its Microsoft Lync 2013 qualification and it unveiled new SIP-trunking bundles for hosted UC service providers. Bright House added hosted VoIP to its portfolio.
By fall, XO had integrated its hosted PBX and contact center cloud services, Comcast updated its Business VoiceEdge service with new UC features, and 8x8 enhanced its mobility options. RingCentral filed for an IPO, and Level 3 announced its "Voice Complete" solution that leverages new SIP capabilities.
In recent weeks, InterCall integrated Blue Jeans Network video with InterCall Reservationless-Plus® audio conferencing. Vonage added a video messaging app and acquired Vocalocity as a means to extend its reach into the SMB market with a business-class VoIP offer.
All in all, it has been a very year as service providers grow and enhance their unified communications portfolios. In our next installment, we’ll take a look back at UC infrastructure and equipment suppliers.