First American Business Enterprise

Who is playing in the Clouds?

Top Cloud Providers Generated $11 Billion on IaaS in 2015

The world’s top cloud providers made $11.2 billion in revenue selling raw compute and storage power as virtual services in 2015, according to a report by Structure Research. It forecasts that collectively this group will reach more than $120 billion in revenue in 2020, growing the market more than 10-fold in just five years.

Based on estimates from both Gartner and Structure Research a bigger and bigger piece of the IaaS cloud pie will be taken by the biggest players in the space.

Data Center Buildings

Aggressive cloud market growth forecasts are good news for the largest wholesale data center service providers, who have been unable to build data center space in key markets quickly enough to keep up with demand for capacity from the top cloud providers.

Who is Big Enough?

The report takes a narrow scope, focusing on pure Infrastructure-as-a-Service and looking at seven companies Structure Research considers to be raking in the most revenue from IaaS. This is revenue only… not profit which is harder to obtain.

The largest cloud provider by far is Amazon Web Services, which by Structure’s estimate made $7.88 billion in revenue from IaaS last year. The company currently holds just over 70 percent of the market.

Microsoft is a distant second with close to 11 percent of the market and $1.2 billion in IaaS revenue.

Rackspace, IBM Cloud, Chinese internet giant Alibaba’s cloud arm Aliyun, and Google Compute Engine follow (in that order):

cloud-market-picture

Source: Massive-Scale Cloud, April 30, 2016, Structure Research

Portions of this post are from:  BY YEVGENIY SVERDLIK ON JUNE 7, 2016

Genesys to Buy Interactive Intelligence

$1.4 Billion Deal.

Amy Thomson /Melissa Mittelman

August 31, 2016

Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories Inc., the maker of call-center software, has agreed to buy Interactive Intelligence Group Inc. in a deal valued at about $1.4 billion.

Genesys will pay Interactive Intelligence holders $60.50 a share in cash, the companies said in a statement Wednesday. That represents a 36 percent premium to Interactive Intelligence’s price on July 28, before media reported that the company was exploring strategic alternatives, the companies said. It’s 6.8 percent above Tuesday’s closing price.

The deal will give Daly City, California-based Genesys access to Interactive Intelligence’s cloud-based software, which is designed to help call centers improve the customer experience. In recent years, the old 1-800 model has been giving way to services that don’t simply provide support but also follow people as they browse the web, arming companies with data they can use to sell more products and services.

“Customer engagement is the hot topic,” Terry Tillman, a Raymond James analyst in Atlanta, said in a telephone interview. “Whether it’s interacting with your customers in self-service mode on a website or social media, or with the traditional call into a contact center, engaging with your customers and delighting them is as important as ever.”

Tillman also said that Interactive Intelligence’s ongoing shift to a “pure cloud” play could have been difficult if it remained public. By selling itself to Genesys, which is private, the company can sidestep Wall Street skepticism.

Genesys, which received a $900 million investment last month from private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, is looking to use the recent infusion to expand its business, people familiar with the matter said this month. The company also is considering acquiring Avaya Inc.’s call centers, one of the people said at the time.

The deal, which is expected to close by year-end, is being funded through a combination of cash and debt financing, provided by Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Royal Bank of Canada, the companies said in the statement. Those banks are also serving as financial advisers to Genesys. Union Square Advisors LLC advised Interactive Intelligence.

Infographic: Hosted PBX or On-Site?

The PBX debate, simplified.

It’s an encouraging sign of progression when a company moves to an IP-PBX (private branch exchange) business phone system. The big question it has to ask itself then is whether to host the PBX solution on its own premises or leave it in the hands of the service provider. There are strong arguments for either option; it’s generally a case of which one is best suited to a particular company.

Irish Telecom created the infographic below that compares on-site PBX and hosted PBX side by side using a variety of key criteria. If you are a manager who likes to have full control over every aspect of the business, and if you have an abundance of resources, hosting the solution yourself is usually the better choice. You can tailor the solution exactly the way you want it and expand it in accordance with your company’s growth. It is also cheaper to manage on-site PBX on an ongoing basis.

However, hosted PBX is more advisable if you’re in charge of a small business, or if the business is in a transitional period. Leaving it up to your service provider will clear one task off your shoulders and allow you to concentrate more on other aspects of managing the business. Also, the service provider will have access to resources that you wouldn’t, while setup costs for hosted PBX are much lower than if you managed the solution yourself.

Before making a decision, weigh up all the pros and cons of each option and apply those arguments to where your company is at. This infographic is intended to be a fair, objective comparison between on-site PBX and hosted PBX by making several clear distinctions between the two options. Take a look below.

 

Apple Reinvents Mobile UC

The new iOS 10 will allow VoIP services, including those from the UC vendors, to use the native dialing capabilities of the iPhone, spelling a new day for Mobile UC.

Giving developers access to Siri along with APIs to access key elements of the address book and dialer app will create a great opportunity for UC to finally start working smoothly on iOS devices. Users will be able to place the call themselves by clicking on an address book entry or ask Siri to “Call Jack on Skype” or just “Skype Jack.”

With these new APIs, developers will be able to create apps that will allow users to make and receive VoIP calls directly from the enhanced address book. With the new APIs, users of any VoIP app will be able to place calls directly through the address book rather than with a separate app, putting an end to the “separate app” dilemma that has left mobile UC as little more than a demo capability. Those calls will also be tracked in the phone app’s Recent and Favorites folders.

The process of receiving calls will improve as well. Today when you receive a call in a voice app like Skype or WhatsApp, you get a notification on the lock screen. With the new APIs, calls received in those apps will be able to get an alert like you see in the image to the right with the ability to answer with a swipe. The contact card is also enhanced and will remember which service you prefer to call each contact.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering, did make mention of the partnership announced last August between Apple and Cisco, talking about how calls to a Cisco user’s business number could now be handled the same way as calls to that user’s personal cell number. However, as these APIs are apparently open to all developers, it is unclear whether Apple has given Cisco any special advantage over other VoIP apps or any other UC solution, other than possibly a few months head start in development.

Apple will also include voicemail transcription.

As developments in the mobile device market have slowed to a crawl, the battle is clearly shifting to software, which has long been Apple’s forte.

For UC suppliers, opening key APIs in the dial app provides the first real possibility to deliver a mobile UC experience of which users may actually take advantage. With these new APIs, Apple has opened a whole new competition in mobile UC that will at long last give UC vendors the opportunity to integrate meaningful mobile capabilities into their products and develop some real product differentiation.

Session Manager Controls Calls

The Avaya Aura Session Manager is the core of Avaya’s SIP-based architecture, unifying all Avaya UC services. Aura Session Manager integrates with Avaya’s Aura Communication Manager, media gateways, messaging services, session border controller, conferencing, contact center and more, creating a centralized infrastructure that helps lower the total cost of ownership and administration costs.

Avaya’s Aura Session Manager has the unique ability to allow enterprise-wide dial plans across multiple vendor PBX environments. It can create system wide network routing rules to route calls in a cost-efficient manner using least-cost routing methods, alternative routing, time-of-day routing, toll avoidance and more.

Session Manager is truly an enterprise product, as it can support up to 250,000 SIP users, 350,000 SIP devices, 300,000 dial patterns, 1,000 SIP domains and many more. It supports connectivity to Cisco, Siemens, Alcatel-Lucent and other third-party PBXs, making it flexible and easy to integrate with existing infrastructure.

With a tolerance of up to 1,000-millisecond (ms) round-trip delay — from the source to the destination and back — it is suitable for almost any network environment, even satellite connections, which typically fluctuate between 600 to 900 ms round-trip delay.

Enterprise PBX Market Continues Slide Despite Improving Economic Conditions

Campbell, CALIFORNIA —Technology market research firm Infonetics Research, now part of IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), reported in 2015 that the global enterprise telephony and unified communications (UC) market closed down 4 percent in 2014, to $8.7 billion, as businesses continue to hold off new purchases and upgrades of PBX equipment despite improving worldwide economic conditions.  The trend appears to continue thru all of 2015 as well.

The overall market decline masks the health of the evolving UC applications segment, which jumped 20 percent in 2014, energized by the demand for tools to increase workforce productivity.

The data comes from Infonetics’ fourth quarter 2014 (4Q14) and year-end Enterprise Unified Communications Voice Equipment market share, size and forecast report, which tracks PBX phone systems, voice over IP gateways, UC applications and IP phones.

“The enterprise telephony market continues to be tough. Just as we see one area begin to improve, it’s offset by slowdowns in geographies or market segments. Underscoring the declines are not only slowing businesses purchases but also competitive pricing, which has created unpredictable swings,” said Diane Myers, principal analyst for VoIP, UC, and IMS at Infonetics Research, now part of IHS. “The move to the cloud is having an impact in certain markets, particularly North America.”
MORE ENTERPRISE TELEPHONY MARKET HIGHLIGHTS

  • Globally, PBX revenue, including TDM (time-division multiplexing) and IP PBXs, dropped 6 percent in 2014
  • Vendors remain in a battle to gain customers and hold onto existing ones as enterprises migrate to IP and UC solutions: In 2014, the top four PBX revenue market share leaders were, in alphabetical order, Avaya, Cisco, Mitel and NEC
  • Microsoft continues to see strong sales on the UC front, solidifying its position atop the unified communications market share leaderboard

Avaya Messaging voicemail

Avaya’s Aura Messaging (AAM) server is another component of the Avaya UC platform. With Aura Messaging, companies can have fast and easy access to messages. Critical new messages can alert employees and help maintain high customer service standards in any type of business.

Aura Messaging is more than a simple messaging and voicemail server. It carries advanced functions, such as Speech Auto Attendant, which allows callers to say a name instead of entering an extension; Notify Me, which sends text messages and email notification while calling the user; Voice Recognition, which allows users to say names to address voicemail messages; and many more functions.

Some other neat features include Speech-to-Text, which converts voicemail to text and delivers it to a user’s email; Self-Administration so users can manage their options via a provided Web portal; Internet Message Access Protocol support, which allows companies to use their preferred email client; and Avaya one-X Speech, which gives users the power to manage their voice messages, email and calendar via verbal commands.

Aura Messaging can support up to 20,000 users and 300 ports, depending on the deployment configuration.

Presence Services for enhanced collaboration

Avaya’s Aura Presence Services is an Avaya UC server designed to help users collaborate more effectively by collecting and broadcasting presence information across all users connected to the Aura Platform. Using the presence information, users can see who is busy, away from their desk, on the phone, doesn’t want to be disturbed, or simply not available, therefore saving time.

Aura Presence Services are primarily used to power other Avaya presence and instant messaging clients, adding more value and functionality to them and delivering full UC services. Some application examples include Avaya Communicator (softphone); Avaya Aura Agent Desktop; Avaya one-X Communicator; Avaya one-X Attendant; and Avaya IP phones, such as the 96X0 Series and 96X1 Series.

Mitel announces definitive agreement to acquire Polycom

Polycom logoCombines global technology leaders to create a complete communications and collaboration portfolio and an enhanced ability to deliver profitable growth

  • Creates new $2.5 billion revenue company with scale and differentiated portfolio to expand in evolving enterprise communications market
  • Delivers attractive value for Mitel and Polycom’s shareholders with significant operating leverage and synergy opportunities
  • Polycom brand to be retained
  • Results in a significant reduction in net debt leverage ratio
  • Transaction expected to be accretive to Mitel in 2017 

OTTAWA and SAN JOSE, Calif., April 15, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Mitel (Nasdaq:MITL) (TSX:MNW) and Polycom(Nasdaq:PLCM), today announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement in which Mitel will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Polycom common stock in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $1.96 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Polycom stockholders will be entitled to $3.12 in cash and 1.31 Mitel common shares for each share of Polycom common stock, or $13.68 based on the closing price of a Mitel common share on April 13, 2016. The transaction represented a 22% premium to Polycom shareholders based on Mitel’s and Polycom’s “unaffected” share prices as of April 5, 2016 and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

New company with shared vision for seamless communications and collaboration

The combined company will be headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, and will operate under the Mitel name while maintaining Polycom’s strong global brand. Richard McBee, Mitel’s Chief Executive Officer will lead the combined organization. Steve Spooner, Mitel’s Chief Financial Officer, will also continue in that role. Once merged, the combined company will have a global workforce of approximately 7,700 employees.

“Mitel has a simple vision – to provide seamless communications and collaboration to customers. To bring that vision to life we are methodically putting the puzzle pieces in place to provide a seamless customer experience across any device and any environment,” said Mitel CEO Rich McBee. “Polycom is one of the most respected brands in the world and is synonymous with the high quality and innovative conference and video capabilities that are now the norm of everyday collaboration. Together with industry-leading voice communications from Mitel, the combined company will have the talent and technology needed to truly deliver integrated solutions to businesses and service providers across enterprise, mobile and cloud environments.”

“Together, Polycom and Mitel expect to drive meaningful value for our shareholders, customers, partners and employees around the world,” said Peter Leav, President and CEO of Polycom. “We look forward to working closely with the Mitel team to ensure a smooth transition and continued innovation to bring the workplace of the future to our customers.”

Global scale and strategic scope provide key customer benefits

The combined global company will offer customers an integrated technology experience supported by an impressive ecosystem of partners. Key market positions include:

  • #1 in business cloud communications (i)
  • #1 in IP/PBX extensions in Europe (ii)
  • #1 in conference phones (iii)
  • #1 in Open SIP sets (iv)
  • #2 in video conferencing (v)
  • #2 in installed audio (vi)
  • Installed customer base in more than 82% of Fortune 500 companies
  • Deep product integration with Microsoft solutions
  • Mobile deployments in 47 of the world’s top 50 economies
  • Combined portfolio of more than 2,100 patents and more than 500 patents pending
  • Global presence across five continents with approximately 7,700 employees worldwide

Enhanced platform expected to deliver profitable growth with opportunities for synergies and significant debt deleveraging

The combined company will have a significantly larger financial platform with the scope, scale and operating leverage needed to strategically expand in an actively evolving market.

Transaction Details

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, subject to stockholder approval by Polycom and Mitel, receipt of regulatory approval in certain jurisdictions and other customary closing conditions. Following the closing of the transaction, former Polycom shareholders are expected to hold approximately 60% and current Mitel shareholders are expected to hold approximately 40% of the outstanding Mitel common shares.

Source:  Mitel Website

Avaya Marks a Decade as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Corporate Telephony

Old Phone 2Avaya, a global leader in business communications systems, soft-ware and services, today announced it has reached one full decade as a Leader in Gartner Magic Quad-rant for Corporate Telephony with the most recent report.

The 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Corporate Telephony report notes that the “market is evolving from a focus on innovation in proprietary hardware to use of commodity hardware and standards-based software. While most telephony solutions shipping today are Internet Protocol (IP)-enabled or IP-PBX solutions, the associated endpoints are a mix of time division multiplexing (TDM) and IP.”

Avaya has fully embraced these trends by offering telephony as both a fully virtualized solution for customer-preferred servers and in an appliance model on commodity servers optimized for Avaya. In terms of end points, Avaya uniquely offers TDM and IP enabled end-points for H.323 and SIP as well as a comprehensive client for Windows, Android and iOS devices.

When it comes to purchasing new or upgrading systems, Gartner recommends that “decision criteria for corporate telephony platforms should focus on high-availability, scalable solutions, which support Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), desktop and softphone functionality, and the ability to integrate with enterprise IT applications while delivering toll-grade voice quality.”

Avaya’s standards-based (SIP) telephony software delivers high quality voice capabilities that can be seamlessly extended to and accessed from desktop phones, softphones and mobile devices. Avaya Aura® Communication Manager, the company’s flagship telephony and unified communications technology for enterprises, supports some of the world’s largest contact centers, global businesses, and highly critical emergency communications operations.

With the acquisition of Esna earlier this year, Avaya now enables workers to access communications from inside browser-based applications such as Salesforce, Google for Work, Microsoft 365 and others, eliminating the need for them to move in and out of different applications and thus streamlining work streams and display screens. Avaya Engagement Development Platform enables developers to use a simple tool to tightly integrate communications into business processes and contextual data to further streamline workflows and increase productivity.

Quotes
“The expectation of simplicity, quality and speed of implementation for telephony is higher than any other technology. It’s been a driving factor in everything we do even as business communications technologies grew into multimedia applications over any device. We continue to set new benchmarks in developing and delivering the communications experience that engages the world’s businesses.”
Gary E. Barnett, SVP and GM, Avaya Engagement Solutions

Aspect Software Files Bankruptcy to Cut Debt Load

Debt

March 10, 2016 | CFO.com | US – Matthew Heller

The call-center software company plans to execute a restructuring that would eliminate $320 million in debt and equitize another $60 million.

Aspect Software, a provider of software systems and equipment for call centers, has filed bankruptcy so it can reduce a $795 million debt burden that has limited its ability to invest in next-generation products and services.

In a Chapter 11 petition filed Wednesday, Aspect said a capital restructuring plan backed by its creditors would eliminate $320 million of second-lien debt and convert $60 million of first-lien debt into 100% of the reorganized company’s equity.

“By resetting our capital structure and dramatically improving our balance sheet, we will be well-positioned to compete over the long-term while continuing to accelerate investments in our

Over the past three years, Aspect has invested $160 million in acquisitions, technology agreements and partnerships. It serves 2,200 call centers in more than 70 countries, generating annual sales of more than $400 million.

But in a bankruptcy court declaration, Bloom said staying on the “cutting edge of software solutions has been especially challenging given Aspect’s highly-leveraged capital structure,” which includes annual cash interest payments of approximately $34 million on about $475 million of first lien secured debt and about $320 million of second lien secured debt.

The chief executive noted that, as with other call-center software companies, Aspect has been shifting to cloud-based solutions, but has incurred downward revenue pressure in part because of the high costs of adapting to another technology platform.

Cloud revenue is also recognized over the period of the subscription contract, resulting in a deferred revenue backlog of more than $100 million, Bloom said.

The planned restructuring will bring Aspect out of Chapter 11 under the control of its lenders. Aspect said it expected the reorganization to be completed within 105 days.