Skype for Business Update, Vonage Grows UcaaS, and Sprint Intros WaaS

Last week, Microsoft provided the technical preview of the Skype for Business client, giving customers an opportunity to trial Skype for Business in preparation for full-scale roll-out planned for next month. The offer will  also include a Skype for Business Server and new Office 365 services.

Microsoft also announced it will deliver three new Skype for Business services, including enterprise voice and audio conferencing in Office 365, along with enterprise-grade PSTN connectivity, beginning in the U.S. later this year and followed by a global roll out. Microsoft will partner with AT&T, BT, Colt, Equinix, Level 3 Communications, Orange Business Services, TATA Communications, Telstra, Verizon and Vodafone to deliver direct connections to Office 365.

It also unveiled that Skype Room Systems will be delivered via Skype for Business with partners Crestron, Polycom and Smart. Devices will be built on a platform based on Windows 10, and will be available for customers in the Windows 10 timeframe. Lync Rooms Systems devices will also be upgradable to Skype Room Systems.

Vonage has agreed to acquire Simple Signal, a Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) provider targeting small and medium businesses (SMBs), for a purchase price of $25.25 million. Simple Signal offers a broad range of voice, video, mobile and app services via the BroadSoft's BroadWorks platform-- that same platform used by Vonage. SimpleSignal’s 1600 customers stand to benefit as part of Vonage MPLS network supported by 16 POPs along with provisioning and customer management tools. The transaction is expected to close within the next several weeks and requires no regulatory approvals.

Also last week, Sprint announced its Workplace-as-a-Service offer. Sprint will design and manage core communication and key productivity tools, including integration and implementation, service level agreements, and a single source for support. Service options include WAN connectivity, managed Wi-Fi, voice, audio/video conferencing, mobile device management, and more. Workplace-as-a-Service comes with the option to allow each user to keep wireless service with another provider or to move to Sprint wireless service.

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