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At the recent Genesys 2015 G-Force, I saw a futuristic demo in which pressing a button on a broken fridge automatically connected a person to a live agent to report an issue.
Google Wades into Enterprise UC
Google has long been a bit of a quiet player in the unified communications space. Google mail, used by 27% of participants in our 2013-14 Enterprise Technology Benchmark who were using cloud-based mail/calendar apps, has established a strong market presence. Google also plays in the enterprise via its search appliance, a cross-platform tool used by many large companies to index files stored across multiple stores and repositories. However, Google’s own recent moves, as well as that of partner Vidyo, coming just in advance of Microsoft’s recent Lync conference, signals that Google is getting serious about enterprise UC.
First off Google introduced Chromebox for Meetings, a $999 high definition video conferencing codec designed to extend its browser-based Hangouts video conferencing application to conference rooms. Google’s low price point makes its offering instantly competitive, especially for companies that have already adopted Google Apps for Business for email/calendar and IM and who are starting to use Hangouts as an alternative to separate web conferencing services.
Secondly, Google’s partner Vidyo, itself a vendor of video conferencing platforms and applications, introduced VidyoH2O for Google+ Hangouts, a gateway that enables users of H.323 and SIP video conferencing and VOIP systems to connect to Google Hangouts.
Taken together, Google’s UC offering is looking at lot more like that of Avaya and Cisco, with their own video and web conferencing platforms, and Microsoft, who partners with a variety of companies to extend Lync into video conferencing endpoints while offering its own web conferencing capabilities. What’s still missing from Google’s arsenal is telephony. Today through Esna companies can link their on-premise PBXs to Google. Longer term, perhaps Google finally integrates its Google Voice platform into Apps to deliver a complete enterprise UC offering in direct competition with the aforementioned vendors and more.