Vendor leverages Intermedia partnership to launch new Univerge Blue UCaaS, CCaaS solutions
A month after announcing a partnership with unified communications specialist Intermedia, NEC is rolling out cloud-based collaboration offerings that are available now through its U.S. channel partners.
The Lowdown: NEC will extend the reach of its new Univerge Blue cloud communications offerings throughout the year so that partners around the globe will be able to sell them by 2021.
The Details: The general availability of Univerge Blue Connect, a Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) offering, and Univerge Blue Engage, a Contact Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS) solution, expands on the on-premises communications tools that NEC already had in its portfolio by giving the company a strong presence in a cloud communications space whose already fast growth has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
NEC announced a global partnership around cloud communications with Intermedia in late April. During the past month, NEC gave select partners early access to both Univerge Blue Connect and Engage to get early feedback on the offerings.
The Impact: With the sudden shift to teleworking as the global coronavirus outbreak grew during the late winter and early spring, demand for cloud-based communications skyrocketed. Even before the public health crisis, companies were seeing a growing need for UCaaS and CCaaS solutions as their workforces became more mobile and remote. Analyst firm Grand View Research a year ago forecast that the global unified communications space would grow almost 17% a year through 2024, when it would reach $167.1 billion.
The coronavirus pandemic accelerated that trend. Zoom officials said the number of daily participants on Zoom videoconferences rose from 10 million in December to 300 million in March, and Microsoft that month said that daily active users for its Team collaboration tools grew from 32 million to 44 million.
IDC analysts last month said that collaboration was taking on an increasingly important role in the enterprise in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, a role that would continue in the coming years. The analysts said that by 2024, enterprises with intelligent and collaborative work environments will see 30% lower turnover, 30% higher productivity, and 30% higher revenue per employee than competitors.
A range of companies, including Facebook, Google, RingCentral, and Verizon, have made efforts over the past couple of months to gain a foothold in the booming videoconferencing space.
Background: Intermedia in August 2019 added CCaaS to its lineup of offerings when it bought Telex. The company two months later released its own CCaaS solution, the cloud-hosted Intermedia Contact Center.
The Buzz: “Since announcing the new generation of Univerge Blue last month, we’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback from our partner community and existing customer base,” said Marc Hebner, vice president of enterprise channel at NEC Corporation of America. “Businesses today need the ability to communicate from anywhere at any time, and we believe this need will extend well beyond the current COVID-19 pandemic. We are extremely pleased to offer a suite of fully integrated UCaaS and CCaaS solutions that are easy to deploy and use, and can support our customers’ transition to the cloud.”
“Our clients have a pent-up demand for this dynamic delivery model and the migration to the cloud with advanced collaboration applications,” said Paul Diesu, CEO of Forerunner Technologies, one of NEC’s national systems integrators and resellers of the Univerge Blue platform. “This model is unique in comparison to other UCaaS offerings and allows businesses to better control the end user experience while keeping costs in line.”