The Unified Communications and Collaboration market is in the midst of a rapid transformation. With big players merging and new names coming to the forefront, plus with constant innovation and new solutions making their way onto the market, it’s safe to say that more can be expected from the industry this year.
Earlier this month, trusted Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and business cloud email provider Intermedia launched a new UCaaS platform built to transform business communications for the SMB market: the Intermedia Unite platform.
VoipReview.org had the chance to speak with Mike Gold, Intermedia’s CEO, and Mark Sher, the Vice President of Product and Marketing for Cloud Voice at Intermedia, to discuss their latest offering. Gold and Sher also shared about how the company is helping their partners achieve success with the Unite platform, as well as the top trends they expect to see in the UCaaS space this year.
Empowering SMBs with Intermedia Unite
Intermedia Unite is a next-generation business communication platform that combines Intermedia's own cloud-based voice solution with integrated screen sharing, backup and file sharing, plus the video collaboration technology the company gained in September when it acquired web conferencing provider AnyMeeting. Gold shared that Intermedia relied on Microsoft Skype for years to offer the functionality that their customers wanted. But while the platform offered robust solutions, using technology that wasn’t theirs created a couple of challenges for the company, which is why they set out to build their own platform.
“Skype works well in internal communications, but not as well for connecting with people outside the corporate network,” said Gold. “Second, it wasn’t our technology,” he added. “There are also licensing costs to consider which are expensive; plus we also don't control the roadmap. There are also limitations on how much we can integrate, and the service level we can provide. So that is what we wanted to change when we built out Intermedia Unite.”
Targeted at the small and medium-sized businesses, the new Intermedia Unite is designed to be simple and easy-to-use from the ground up. It is backed by Intermedia’s J.D. Power-certified 24/7 support and 99.999% uptime SLA, which means that businesses not only gain access to a feature-rich communications system but also one that guarantees a worry-free and reliable experience, allowing them to focus on the interaction, not the tools. Some of the key highlights of the Intermedia Unite platform include the following:
90+ enterprise-grade calling features. Top features are call flip (one-touch transfer to mobile or office phone), call park, call transfer, Do Not Disturb, call recording, voicemail transcription, 3-way calling, auto attendant, hunt groups, and many more.
Intermedia AnyMeeting for HD video conferencing and screen sharing.
Unite Mobile App that helps users take their office phone anywhere they go. Top app features include visual voicemail, contacts, and call history.
Unite Desktop App. The desktop app comes with the ability to launch AnyMeeting in just a single click, control an associated deskphone, and more.
Intermedia SecuriSync® for easy and secure file sharing.
Powerful administrative tools via Intermedia’s easy-to-use HostPilot® control panel
Boosting Partner Success
In addition to the SMB market, Intermedia Unite platform is also aimed at the channel partners that deliver UCaaS solutions to SMBs. According to Sher, “Selling through and with partners is a big part of how we grow our business.” “What we have with Unite is a more partner-friendly product, it’s easy for customers to sell, to provision, to manage the service than before,” he explained. “Before, we were comparable to others in the market, with the partner-first approach...now it gets even better.”
Sher said that prior to Unite, Intermedia’s product has grown dramatically. And by the end of the year, they expect their UCaaS solution to be the biggest part of their business. “We evolved from an email company in 2011 selling direct, to becoming a partner-first UCaaS company today in 2018,” said Sher.
To assist their partners and ensure their success, Intermedia has also launched several new partner tools, including:
New partner quoting system - Choose Intermedia service quantities and prices, plus partner fees or services, and Intermedia will calculate everything including taxes
Self-service ordering - Order additional services from Intermedia’s portal in just a few clicks
New web portal - Make real-time changes via Intermedia’s easy to use web portal
Where the UCaaS Industry is Headed
In regards to the trends that will shape the UCaaS industry, Gold believes that there will be further development and deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Integration with other third party products that the SMB market would use will also increase in popularity.
Meanwhile, Sher said that regardless of trends, what remains constant is the customer's’ desire for great support and reliability. “I don't want to sound like a broken record, but the more things change the more things stay the same. No matter what’s hot and what’s new, customers would still want great support and reliability and they still want good value. As a company, we also still need to focus on that and add the things they need.”
Intermedia is a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and business cloud email provider focused on delivering easy-to-use and secure communications and collaboration solutions to SMBs and the partners that serve them. More than 110,000 business customers and 6,500 active partners rely on Intermedia for greater reliability and productivity. Intermedia’s broad yet tightly integrated suite of cloud applications is managed through one intuitive point of control and is backed by a 99.999% uptime service level agreement (SLA). Intermedia’s offering includes cloud voice, web and video conferencing, content sharing, instant messaging, presence, file backup, sync and share, business email, identity and access management, and more.
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