BroadSoft bolsters UC&C capabilities

Acquires iLinc collaboration solution, which it will deploy on the BroadCloud service distribution platform.

By Ted Stevenson | Posted Oct 19, 2011
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Gaithersburg, Maryland-based BroadSoft, a global purveyor of IP communications technology to communications service providers, announced the launch of its BroadCloud UC service delivery platform just about one year ago. Earlier this month, the company announced the acquisition of what will be a significant chunk of that evolving service offering: Phoenix-Arizona-based iLinc Communications and its SaaS collaboration solution.

With the completion of the acquisition—and beta testing with BroadSoft customers—the iLinc technology has been rebranded BroadCloud Web Collaboration, joining BroadCloud Video Conferencing, the SmartPackets network assessment and monitoring tool, and Family Center service.

According to BroadSoft vice president of marketing Leslie Ferry, the company pondered the "build or buy" question, eventually opting for the "buy" option, as there were several mature, high-quality products available for acquisition.

"iLinc stood out as one of the most feature-rich options on the market today," Ferry told Enterprise VoIPplanet. "If we were to have a feature-to-feature comparison of our now BroadCloud Web Collaboration service, with some of the other market leaders, we could absolutely go head to head with them," she insisted.

Indeed, the Collaboration offering—which, Ferry stressed, meets the needs of enterprises of all sizes—is more a suite of capabilities than a single application.

Some customers will utilize BroadCloud Web Collaboration primarily for internal meetings among individuals in different locations. In fact BroadSoft itself uses the technology this way.

"I was off-site for a video shoot, and I needed to meet with my boss and we needed to edit a document," Ferry told VoIPplanet. "We used Web Collaboration to do that. It's just phenomenal when you experience it. Instead of e-mailing back and forth to make sure we picked up the right changes, in 30 minutes we completed it and moved on."

The meeting component includes video, application sharing or white-boarding, annotation, and recording, and supports up to 25 participants.

Other customers will opt for the Webinar component. BroadCloud Webinars can accommodate hundreds of attendees. The service handles the registration process in addition to the actual Webinar session, which, like meetings, can be recorded.

Finally, BroadCloud Web Collaboration can be used for online training. Sessions can address thousands of participants. "Within those sessions we support video streaming," Ferry said. "There's a polling capability, there are other feedback capabilities that are embedded—whiteboarding, for example. All of the advanced features you'd expect to be in a comprehensive Web collaboration service are there."

Ferry also stressed the benefit to BroadSoft's service-provider customers of the fact that they can sell BroadCloud services under their own brand. "Consider BroadSoft a wholesaler, if you will, for these services," she said.

And to accommodate the needs of those customers, BroadSoft has packaged the Web Collaboration services in a flexible way, as to specific components, capacity, and the like. Finally, BroadSoft has priced the services in a way that is advantageous to its customers.

"While today, some BroadCloud customers sell other Web collaboration services, we believe that they will be able to achieve a higher margin by taking to market their own Web collaboration service, powered by BroadCloud Web Collaboration services," Ferry said.

This week, BroadSoft announced the addition of yet more unified communications functionality to both the BroadCloud platform and BroadWorks, the "embedded" or on-premise platform on which the company was initially built.

Joining the other BroadCloud services are an instant messaging and presence application—a federated service across BroadWorks-enabled service provider networks that allow users to chat individually and in groups, while showing phone status. And, to complete the catalog of known communications modes, BroadCloud Text Messaging brings that technology to iOS and Android devices.

BroadWorks is now further UC-enriched with the addition of BroadWorks Business Link, a fixed/mobile convergence solution that extends such PBX functions as extension dialing, attendant console, and call recording to mobile devices, and Meet-Me Audio Conferencing, a high-definition conference bridge that supports hundreds of users.

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