UC Advanced - Issue #8

Issue #8


News, analysis, insights and more



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Into the Swing of things

that serves more than 100 countries today. With that in mind, this requirement to do more than get businesses online is one that is largely embraced by all. While it may be an inconvenience for resellers to sing for their supper so to speak, it is good for the industry that businesses have a rich range of options to look through as they aim to improve productivity and their own bottom line. In an industry that seems to be dominated by two names, it’s great to see Cavell, RingCentral, Logitech, Gamma, Nimans, and 8x8 all make announcements and host events that show there is still innovation happening in the UC and CC industry, and that partners can choose from a myriad of ways to differentiate. I suppose that’s the theme of the magazine. Coincidentally we have interview pieces with Andy Cooper, Head of Nimans Connect division, John Finch Vice President of Product Marketing at RingCentral this issue, along with an interview Dhwani Soni, Global VP of Product Management Design & Operations at 8x8 who spoke about the company mission alongside her own personal ambitions. We have the usual insights from thought leaders and a couple of reviews, and a round up of the news coming out of MWC. Normal service will be resumed next issue, with features covering the challenges in the financial and legal sector, mobile, data storage, cyber security, and healthcare. As always feel free to let me know what you think of the magazine, good or bad, and I hope you...

It’s nearly two months since I wrote the comment for the last magazine and I can confirm, ISE is a distant memory. It feels like the industry hasn’t stopped, from warnings about connectivity, new solutions from global players, and a handful of rebrands, it’s hard to find the time to take a step back and see what’s what. Luckily, in this job, I can kill two birds with one stone a lot of the time, and Cavell’s Summit provided the perfect opportunity to listen to some of the more knowledgeable members of the UC&C community talk about the challenges that they face and the trends that they can see coming down the line. What struck me the most is the competition in the communications market. Up to half of new customers for UC resellers were pouched from a rival cloud communications provider in 2023, when two years ago new customers were primarily those moving from older communications technology. That threat of competition emphasises the need to offer more than just a rudimentary service. Whether that’s becoming a one-stop- shop for all connectivity, bundling a solution with a platform, or including added services like CRM integration or AI capabilities, particularly in the UK, is less of a perk and more of a necessity. Obviously evolution is a natural part of any successful business. Nokia for example have gone from producing rubber wellies, to selling one of the most successful devices of all time – 126 million 3310 phones for those who are interested – to a mobile infrastructure division

Elliot Mulley-Goodbarne Editor


Support your Channel Distributors and Resellers by using the new FREE Stock in the Channel functionality: “Authorised Distributors”. Click here to learn more




News You should know p6 Profile: 8x8 Designing for a New Experience p12 A Decade in ISDN The state of the market p18 Conference Phones The most searched for on Stock in the Channel p20 MWC Barcelona News from the Show p21 Thought Leadership Customer Experience p28 UCaaS Connecting the workforce p30 Cavell Summit The top takeaways p34 Customer Experience The future EXperience p38 Thought Leadership 3GPP standards for satellite IoT p41 Large Rooms Can you hear me at the back? p48 Product Review Jabra PanaCast 20 p50



How 8x8 is creating solutions for new customer service professionals.



Jabra introduces the PanaCast 20, a revolutionary personal video conferencing device.

There is a “huge opportunity” for selling UCaaS solutions throughout Western Europe according to research from Cavell Group.


Rumour is rife of an extension to the PSTN switch-off scheduled for December 2025.

Written permission from the publisher is required before any part of UC Advanced can be reproduced. © 2024 In the Channel Media Ltd. Editorial Elliot Mulley- Goodbarne 07910 441 024 elliot@ucadvanced.com Dan Parton 07941 979 845 dan@ucadvanced.com Head of Sales Martin Jenner-Hall 07824 552 116 martin@ucadvanced.com Publishing Director Justin Penn 07816 573 186 justin@ucadvanced.com



Although where we work is still up for debate, keeping us online is the main priority.

RingCentral hit the headlines recently with the expansion of the RingCX platform and the launch of the RingEX solution.


Published by: In the Channel Media Ltd Company registration number: 14363401 Registered office address 14-18 Heddon Street,


With low earth orbit satellites fast becoming the norm, and 3GPP Standards issuing in an ‘open source’ market.

Mayfair, London, United Kingdom, W1B 4DA In conjunction with:




8x8 Launches 8x8 Engage to Enhance Cross-Organisation Customer Engagement

8x8 has unveiled 8x8 Engage, an innovative solution designed to revolutionise cross- organisation customer engagement. The AI-powered offering aims to elevate customer experiences, foster loyalty, and drive business success by empowering customer- facing employees across various departments with tailored tools and capabilities. According to the findings of the 8x8 2024 Customer Experience Responsibility Beyond the Contact Center report, a significant portion of customer interactions—up to 60%—take place outside of traditional contact centre environments. Recognising this trend, 8x8 Engage is meticulously crafted to cater to the unique needs of customer engagement professionals outside of the contact centre, equipping them with the necessary technology and data to deliver exceptional service. Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst at ZK Research, highlighted the significance of addressing the technology gaps faced by customer-facing employees. He

stated, “8x8 Engage is the first solution in the market specifically tailored for these workers requiring customer-facing capabilities in order to drive more successful business outcomes and competitive advantages.” Key features and benefits of 8x8 Engage include a unified interface combining CCaaS and UCaaS, advanced queue management, deep integration with native and third-party enterprise apps, including the 8x8 Technology Partner Ecosystem, AI-powered features such as speech analytics and interaction summarisation, and a centralised customer interaction journey analytics. Hunter Middleton, Chief Product Officer at 8x8, emphasised the importance of integrating CX professionals outside of the contact centre into the customer experience journey. Middleton stated, “With 8x8 Engage, we are bridging the customer experience gaps within an organisation by eliminating the silos that have traditionally existed between unified communications, the contact centre, and different technology vendors.”

Hunter Middleton


Exertis Expands Partnership with Epson to Include Business Projection

Exertis has announced the extension of its collaboration with Epson UK to encompass business projection solutions. This development marks a significant expansion of their existing relationship, which previously focused on Epson printers and large format printer (LFP) solutions. The addition of Epson business projectors to Exertis’s AV business unit offerings represents a strategic move towards diversifying its product portfolio. This expansion coincides with the appointment of Peter Vernon as the Projection Business Manager, leveraging his expertise in business projection technology to spearhead Exertis’s entry into this domain. Jamie Brothwell, Chief Sales and Commercial Officer of Exertis AV, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, “We are delighted to welcome Epson Business Projection to our portfolio along with the appointment of Peter Vernon who will head up our Projection pillar within Exertis AV.”

Epson brings a range of business projectors renowned for vibrant colours, sharp images, reliability, and flexible presenting options. These projectors’ compact design and high brightness make them suitable for various venues, promising immersive viewing experiences. Peter Vernon, newly appointed Business Projection Manager at Exertis AV, expressed excitement about the partnership with Epson. He highlighted the alignment between Epson’s business projectors and Exertis’s extensive AV portfolio, positioning them well to serve diverse AV customer needs, adding “I’m thrilled to be joining Exertis at the same time as the extension of our partnership with Epson – a leading and respected brand in the business projection sector.” The collaboration between Exertis and Epson signifies a strategic alliance aimed at meeting evolving market demands and delivering cutting-edge AV solutions to customers worldwide.

Jamie Brothwell




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Zoom Launches Zoom Compliance Manager to Streamline Regulatory Compliance for Organisations

Zoom has introduced Zoom Compliance Manager, a comprehensive solution designed to streamline regulatory compliance and mitigate communications compliance risks across the Zoom platform. This all-in-one offering provides archiving, eDiscovery, legal hold, and information protection capabilities, catering to the needs of organisations operating in regulated industries. Ritu Mukherjee, Head of Product Business Acceleration and Readiness at Zoom, emphasised the importance of addressing customers’ compliance needs seamlessly. Mukherjee stated, “With Zoom Compliance Manager, we are making it easy for our customers to have an end-to-end experience — seamless buying, easy setup, centralised management, and simplified support — with a comprehensive solution that addresses their communications compliance needs across the Zoom platform.” Organisations today face stringent regulatory requirements and compliance risks, both internally and externally. Zoom Compliance Manager, powered by Theta Lake, offers key features to help organisations confidently utilise Zoom while fulfilling

regulatory requirements. These features include the automatic capture of meeting data, AI summaries, phone recordings, team chat, whiteboard content, and more, ensuring compliance with long-term record retention requirements. eDiscovery which facilitates easy access to communication archives, enabling organisations to discover insights across the Zoom platform and analyse, evaluate, and export content effortlessly, and Legal Hold which allows organisations to capture and hold communications of specific individuals, manage cases through custom workflow, and fulfil data export requests as legally mandated. Future iterations of Zoom Compliance Manager will include additional features such as Risk Detection and Data Loss Prevention to further enhance compliance capabilities. Zoom Compliance Manager covers various aspects of the Zoom platform, including AI Companion, Meetings, Team Chat, Phone, Whiteboard, Rooms, Webinars, Events, and Contact Center. It is available as an add-on to Zoom customers with a paid plan, with support for other Zoom products expected later this year.

Ritu Mukherjee


Logitech Unveils MX Brio 705 for Business

Logitech has introduced MX Brio 705 for Business webcams designed to meet the diverse streaming and video collaboration needs of both end-users and enterprises. Anatoliy Polyanker, General Manager of the MX Business at Logitech, emphasised the importance of delivering top-notch video and sound quality to users across various environments. He stated, “MX Brio is our highest quality webcam, featuring customisation and the ability to showcase oneself or their work in the best possible way.” The MX Brio boasts Ultra HD 4K resolution and an advanced webcam sensor, representing Logitech’s commitment to continuous innovation. With 70 percent larger pixels than its predecessor, the Brio 4K, the MX Brio offers an ultra-sharp image, enhanced by AI-driven image quality improvements. These enhancements include face-based

image enhancement for a more natural appearance and superior video quality, particularly in challenging lighting conditions. Advanced customisation options empower users to fine-tune their appearance and environment using Logitech’s software suite, including Logi Options+, Logi Tune, and G HUB. The webcam’s innovative features, such as Show Mode and RightSight auto-framing, streamline the sharing of physical objects and ensure optimal framing of speakers during video conferences, respectively. For enterprise users, the MX Brio 705 offers plug-and-play compatibility with major video conferencing platforms, including Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Zoom. IT teams can manage firmware updates and troubleshoot issues seamlessly through Logitech Sync, ensuring a smooth experience for hybrid teams. CONTINUED

Anatoily Polyanker




In line with Logitech’s commitment to sustainability, MX Brio is certified carbon- neutral and utilises recycled materials in its construction. The webcam’s packaging is sourced from FSC-certified forests, further reducing its environmental footprint.

Both MX Brio and MX Brio 705 are available in Graphite and Pale Grey colour options, catering to diverse preferences. MX Brio is available globally through Logitech’s website and retailers, while MX Brio 705 can be ordered directly from authorised resellers.


New Research by Cavell Projects Significant Growth in UCaaS Market

According to the latest research findings released by Cavell, the Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) market is poised for substantial growth, projecting over 131 million users worldwide by the end of 2028. The research indicates a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3% over the next five years, underscoring the increasing significance of cloud-based communication solutions. Cavell’s comprehensive study, conducted as part of its 2024 Cloud Comms Market Reports , involved surveying more than 100 service providers across the UK, Europe, and the US. Among the key insights unveiled, mobile UCaaS services have emerged as a significant contributor, accounting for over 15% of the market. Despite the overall growth, the research highlights a shift in the market dynamics, with the total available market shrinking due to a notable portion of on-premise PBX users not transitioning to cloud-based solutions. Instead, many enterprises are opting for collaboration-only licences without external PSTN functionality.

Dominic Black, Director of Research Services at Cavell, highlighted the evolving landscape of the UCaaS market. He noted the increasing competition among providers and the imperative to differentiate in a maturing market. Moreover, Cavell’s research indicates a shift in customer acquisition patterns, with nearly half (49%) of cloud communications providers winning the majority of their customers from competitors. The research also underscores the growing significance of Microsoft Teams in the enterprise segment, with a substantial portion of the market adopting voice services within the platform. While Operator Connect is gaining traction, Direct Routing remains the most adopted solution currently. Cavell’s insights into the convergence trend between communications, IT, and productivity sectors were discussed at the recent Cavell Summit Europe in London. Attended by senior figures from telcos, cloud communications service providers, MSPs, channel providers, and vendors, the summit provided a platform to delve deeper into the evolving dynamics of the UCaaS market.

Dominic Black


Utelogy Corporation Partners with Neat to Enhance Workspace Efficiency and Management

Utelogy has announced a strategic integration with Neat, an innovator in video devices. This collaboration utilises the Neat Pulse API to seamlessly integrate Neat devices into Utelogy’s platform, offering advanced features aimed at optimising workplace efficiency and simplifying device management. The partnership between Utelogy and

Neat introduces a suite of innovative features designed to streamline workspace management and enhance user experiences. Key highlights include accurate people counting and occupancy insights, real-time environmental data monitoring, and advanced

control and configuration capabilities. Through the integration, Utelogy’s platform now provides real-time space






utilisation insights derived from Neat devices, allowing organisations to make data-driven decisions about workspace design and resource allocation. Additionally, users gain access to environmental data such as CO2 levels, humidity, and temperature, ensuring optimal meeting conditions for enhanced productivity. Furthermore, the collaboration emphasises sustainability and operational efficiency by offering enhanced energy savings and robust environmental monitoring capabilities. The integration with Utelogy’s U-Automate enables sophisticated room readiness checks, remote automation, and sustainability efforts, facilitating intelligent workspace management. Nicole Corbin, Vice President of Business Operations at Utelogy, expressed excitement

about the partnership, highlighting its significance in delivering comprehensive, intelligent solutions tailored to modern workspaces’ evolving needs. Corbin emphasised the combination of Utelogy’s powerful analytics and control capabilities with Neat’s advanced hardware, setting new standards for workspace technology management. From Neat, Hellene Garcia, VP of Emerging Technologies GTM, also expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration, emphasising the value it brings to joint customers. Garcia noted that by leveraging Neat Pulse APIs, Utelogy can unlock the robust capabilities of Neat devices, enabling organisations to create more efficient, productive, and sustainable work environments.



Lightware Visual Engineering has announced significant advancements in its strategic alliance relationships

By partnering with industry leaders such as Barco, Cisco, Logitech, Sennheiser, and Utelogy Corporation, Lightware aims to deliver innovative and reliable AV solutions tailored to meet the diverse needs of its customers across various vertical markets and geographic regions. The evolution of Lightware’s alliance partnerships has led to the development of integrated AV solutions designed to enhance collaboration and productivity in modern work environments. One notable collaboration is with Sennheiser, where Lightware’s Advanced Room Automation (LARA) technology is combined with Sennheiser’s advanced ceiling microphones, providing clear audio and visual communication in hybrid working environments. Moreover, Lightware’s partnership with Barco focuses on enhancing the meeting room experience by combining Lightware’s Taurus UCX USB and HDMI Switchers with Barco’s ClickShare Conference, addressing multiple use cases and improving user experience. In collaboration with Cisco, Lightware offers seamless integration with Cisco Room Devices, enabling users to expand the number of sources, extend signal transmission range, and control sources and displays across multiple

rooms using Lightware’s Taurus UCX/TPX and MMX2 series. Additionally, Lightware and Logitech are working together to enhance meeting room

functionality and reduce hybrid work challenges. Lightware’s Taurus UCX, part of the Logitech Collaboration Program, enables effortless connection of personal devices and integration with various third-party video conferencing applications. The partnership with Utelogy Corporation has led to further integration with Utelogy’s driver for the Taurus UCX, enhancing firmware management and upgrades. Notable success stories, such as at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, demonstrate the effectiveness of this partnership in creating dynamic learning environments and maximising AV technology efficiency. The expansion of strategic alliances underscores Lightware’s dedication to innovation and its commitment to delivering high-quality AV solutions that meet the evolving needs of its customers worldwide.





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Designing for a New Experience

Dhwani Soni, Global VP of Product Management, Design & Operations shares how 8x8 is creating solutions for new customer service professionals.

A few weeks ago I had to make a complaint after a bit of a rubbish stay in a hotel. It’s not something that comes naturally to a lot of people but we all have those points where we say enough is enough. On this occasion, it was being woken up at 7 am by the loudest gaggle of hens I’ve ever heard, along with the unmistakable sound of drilling just over an hour later. It’s never an easy conversation, which may be why the place where these interactions have spread as the way we communicate changes. Some will prefer the in-person approach if it’s possible, others will pick up the phone, personally one of the more effective ways that I’ve found a resolution to an issue is by tweeting the brand. But while finding a resolution may be easier if you criticise a company on social media, for the business, dealing with the issue in the first place is one of the modern headaches they have to deal with. Naturally, there are solutions on the market, combining social media and chatbots with the traditional call centre, but none are specifically tailored for who Dhwani Soni, Global VP of Product Management, design and operations at 8x8 describes as a “knowledge worker”. “We realised there are users outside of the contact centre who will interact with customers or support those who do,” said Soni. “They need the same information that

the contact centre agents need, like the CRM integrations, AI analytics, and the calling capability so they can jump on calls as and when they need to. “But these workers are very different from an agent, in fact, they’re really not an agent, they identify as a knowledge worker, or a software engineer, a billing specialist, a researcher, nurse, or receptionist. “These are the roles that we see as a ‘knowledge worker’, they collaborate internally, but then jump on calls with customers to help them out. When they touch base with customers it creates high value for the customer which converts into high CSAT scores.” With such value on the line, 8x8 has launched Engage, a cross-organisation solution that seeks to connect every department to the contact centre in order to bridge the “gaps” that appear when customers have a problem. The idea is to improve the quality of the resolution for the customer by giving these knowledge workers the tools to deliver a quality service. As Soni points out, these interactions are often more important than the average call and often need first-hand experience to find a resolution. “The KPIs for these employees are different than the contact centre agents,” said Soni. “In the contact centre, the most important number is the fastest time to close a ticket, whereas customer satisfaction is more important for knowledge workers. “These are a very different group of workers and it’s where we started blurring the lines between UC and CC, to offer one platform that can have capabilities from our CPaaS solutions. For example, Engage uses the same data lake so if a customer comes in on a contact centre call but is then touched by somebody outside the contact centre, it will be logged as the same interaction, same support ticket, even though it is a different kind of interaction.”

Dhwani Soni


8x8 has launched Engage, a cross- organisation solution that seeks to connect every department to the contact centre in order to bridge the “gaps” that appear when customers have a problem.

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Elevate Customer Engagement with 8x8 Engage

Engaging with Customers As the areas of communication usually separated between the customer-facing and the business-orientated roles begin to converge, an opportunity presents itself. With Engage customers are able to feed data lakes with rivers of customer interactions, allowing businesses to quench their thirst for actionable insights. “Now this interaction data is stored in a data lake, we can generate insights like health scores, sentiment scores, the customer NPS and CSAT. These insights are a lot richer for both an agent inside the contact centre and our CX user professional outside the contact centre. “That’s where we felt this was a truly underserved market. Around 60 per cent of employees in each organisation are sitting there helping customers, but they don’t have the right tool with the CC-centric features, that’s what brought about Engage.” The Way of Water The contact centre is one of the many areas where artificial intelligence has been able to make a significant impact on the productivity of employees. While a lot of the communications industry is worrying about jobs, Soni says that the approach that 8x8 is taking is to treat AI as a

commodity everyone has access to. “We treat AI like electricity, it’s going to be the norm,” said Soni. “The capabilities are ramping up at the moment but we don’t have to go shout about our solutions having AI in it; of course they do! “The approach at 8x8 is to have a native AI layer which is augmented using a solution from our Technology Partner Ecosystem. But the real benefit is found when this data flows into a customer interaction data platform (CIDP) layer. “This CIDP is where businesses get the insights based on AI in the workspace. Whether with Engage, UC, or CC solutions, employees can already find AI-centric tools like automatic summarisation or automatically syncing back to the CRMs. “The insights get stronger the deeper you go into a platform. Businesses using contact centre, for example, will see a lot of agent assists showing up in order to solve the users’ problems, and the insights filter through to all of our customer base.” When Two Become One While the merging of unified communications and the contact centre brings an opportunity to analyse more data, the end product still needs to improve the day-to-day experience

We treat AI like electricity, it’s going to be the norm... ...The capabilities are ramping up at the moment but we don’t have to go shout about our solutions having AI in it; of course they do!






research into the issues out there in the market that informs the design of the next solution. “When we talk to our customers they don’t tell us they want UC and CC, they tell us the problem they have and ask us to solve it,” said Soni. “That’s why my approach to product management and design is that we are solving a problem for a business or a user. “We start with that premise and then build the UI, build the product, and scale it up. We are catering to the customer rather than just adding features.” Proof in the Pudding Soni said she’s proud of the changes that she has brought in that have led to award-winning platforms and “A-Grade” usability scores. One of the things that caught my ear when speaking to Soni was that customers can “leave their brain at home” when they are using a lot of 8x8 solutions, essentially

End-to-end visibility and actionable insights for team leaders

for employees. In producing the Engage solution, it seems that 8x8 has put the knowledge worker at the heart of the solution; and that is not by accident. “Throughout my career, I’ve grounded myself in creativity with a view of the customers,” said Soni. “I think we have to put the customer at the heart of everything that we build from a creative design standpoint, and even from a solution standpoint, the problem statement starts with ‘what does the customer need?’ “If our approach to product design or product management was just filling the RFP, we’d produce the same as everybody else. Yes, we’d check all the boxes, but that’s not the approach we want. Our approach is to solve the problems that customers have.” Soni is coming up to five years at 8x8, in which time she has combined the necessity for creativity with a Masters in Strategic Management, by no means an easy undertaking. On the road to becoming Vice President of Product Management, Design, and Operations she has been able to instil a design approach that centres around the customer and values

meaning that employees can still be productive even on their worst days.

When we talk to our customers they don’t tell us they want UC and CC, they tell us the problem they have and ask us to solve it.

An interesting concept, and one I dare say we’ll see a lot more of in the coming years. For now though, Soni says this culture change is bearing fruit, adding that “in the 2023 Metrigy Report , 8x8 was voted number one against all our UC and CC competitors for customer sentiment and business success. “That means that the seats that we have sold are starting to show in terms of customer satisfaction, which is something I value. “For me, launching a product is just step one, it’s like delivering a baby you have to nurture it and watch it grow. We ask if it is delivering value for the user? Are our users still happy? Are they recommending the product? Is adoption growing? Is the daily active usage rate where we want it to be? “It’s about grounding the company and the product managers into building a product that they can be very proud of. That’s the kind of approach I have brought to 8x8 and I am very happy with where we are today.”

In the 2023 Metrigy Report, 8x8 was voted number one against all our UC and CC competitors for customer sentiment and business success


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What do businesses want from their communications systems in 2024?

The evolving technology landscape, and an increased preference for flexible working practices, is leading more companies to implement agile, robust and easy-to-manage communication solutions.

A unified communications strategy – in which telephony, video, email and messaging converge – is essential in enabling organisations to create a smarter, more efficient workspace. However, it’s always vital that companies consider the needs and preferences of their employees. Growing demands for flexibility It’s important for businesses to recognise that employees don’t just communicate from the office but are often taking calls at home or on the move. Therefore, any communication solution must be flexible. If employees are working from home, for example, this could mean providing an IP phone and base station, powered by DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications). The base station can easily be plugged into the router to connect

to the company telephone system – giving people access to all the usual functions they have in the office, such as their phonebook and call transfer capabilities, with the same uninterrupted call quality. As an established IP telephony provider with a wide range of products available on the market, Snom Technology is aware of diverse business needs – and recognises the importance of providing solutions that adapt to individual preferences. Identifying business and individual needs When it comes to doing business successfully, reliable communications solutions should be considered a cornerstone across any industry. Anyone making a phone call wants to ensure it is done in the highest quality, without interference, as well as with maximum security and outstanding comfort.


If organisations want to achieve these high standards, there are several key factors that they should bear in mind: 1. High quality audio Many of us have experienced the frustration of not being able to hear the other person speaking clearly during an online meeting. Speakers and microphones on laptops and tablets are often insufficient in terms of their audio quality and range. As such, high- quality audio should be considered as non- negotiable when implementing telephony. 2. Interoperable With more businesses collaborating online rather than face-to-face, it’s also important that new communication solutions are interoperable with the main video conferencing services used today, to ensure slick and seamless meetings. 3. Future proof IP-based phone systems can offer businesses far more than just communications – they can control a variety of smart tasks and functions in the office. For example, lights can be turned off or dimmed, room temperature can be controlled and air quality monitored from an IP device. As more businesses prioritise efficiency and sustainability in the workplace, these ‘smarter’ capabilities will become a bigger factor when selecting new telephony solutions. 4. Easy to use Employees want products that make their lives easier. They don’t want to waste time configuring a phone when they set it up for the first time – or to have to worry about updating it with the latest features further down the line. Ideally, the device should be ‘plug-and-play’ or require an easy and seamless set up. 5. Secure Finally, businesses need to find solutions which are secure. Any communications device must have additional security measures in

place, to ensure that sensitive information being shared is safeguarded and potential security breaches prevented. These might include regular firmware updates which address security vulnerabilities proactively – or the exchanging of unique certificates and mutual authentication to prevent unwanted guests from listening in on calls. Finding the right partner and solution Having access to the right products, services and support is key to ensuring that organisations can make the most of their new communications solutions and meet growing business and individual demands. With more than 25 years of experience and continuous innovation in the functions of its devices, Snom Technology has always demonstrated its total commitment to offering a great user experience. Snom offers a wide range of products, from its desk phones to accessories which can be connected to different devices, such as computers and smartphones. These products are capable of working perfectly with the most popular UC platforms on the market and require no configuration. The manufacturer offers a three-year warranty on all its items, based on the fact that failure rates are very low. With advanced protection mechanisms and applying European security and privacy criteria, Snom also carefully evaluates security compliance required by law and offers additional resources to secure voice traffic. These criteria make the difference between Snom’s IP phones and those of other well- known brands. The company’s worldwide sales network includes many renowned distributors and over 10,000 specialist dealers. These partners benefit from a dedicated partner program as well as personal remote and on-site support services that, alongside its leading technology, contribute to Snom’s outstanding international reputation. Want to find out more about Snom’s product offering, or becoming a Snom partner? Get in touch at office.uk@snom.com

With more than 25 years of experience and continuous innovation in the functions of its devices, Snom Technology has always demonstrated its total commitment to offering a great user experience.




A Decade in the ISDN? With rumour rife of an extension to the PSTN switch-off scheduled for December 2025, Andrew Cooper, Head of Nimans Connect talks us through the state of the market.

In 2017 Openreach announced that it would be ‘Switching off’ the analogue telephone network, suggesting instead IP Telephony would be better. Given the state of the broadband network at the time, some may have criticised the decision, for example, anyone who I was beating on FIFA just had to call my landline and my online world would come crashing down. Since that time, connectivity throughout the country has gotten better. The change therefore does suit the UK as the vast majority of calls are made using a mobile but, as far away as 2020, three-quarters of the UK had a landline that they used to make and receive calls on. But as we quickly approach the year anniversary of the sale stop, concerns about the elderly potentially being cut off without knowing it have given rise to rumours of potentially a two-year extension to the December 2025 deadline. While nothing is confirmed, and the delay may only apply to those in vulnerable households, the topic of the PSTN Switch off has been a topic at the forefront of many minds, including that of Andrew Cooper, Head of Nimans Connect, who is expecting an uptick in the number of switches as we move closer to the deadline. “We’ve produced some surveys which back up other surveys that you kind of read that say that about 50% of the market are aware of the PSTN Switch off,” said Cooper. “I think a lot of people are aware but it’s whether they’re active is the key thing. “I think when you look at the numbers that carriers like Zen put through, you can see there’s been a shift but there’s still a long way to go. To effectively be on track to switch off in 2025, a circuit needs to be moved every four seconds, which is ridiculous. “But you can imagine there’s a real hockey stick effect that we’re expecting. I think there are probably still some people out there who think it will get delayed again because it’s been

delayed so many times before, and then there will also be partners who are organised and will have their customers make the transition as part of the natural resigning process.” Opportunity While interest in the Switch Off will change depending on who you speak to, the interest from businesses still leaves a lot to be desired. Just before the turn of the year, research from the Centre for Economics Business Research found only 54 per cent of businesses that will be impacted by the Switch-Off, are aware of discontinuation. According to the research at the time, 74 per cent of businesses were yet to complete essential migration tasks. Around half of the businesses surveyed hadn’t researched alternatives or formed a migration plan to ensure a seamless transition. However, the report also showed a significant disparity in awareness across different regions and industries. Businesses in Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of awareness, followed by businesses in Southeast England where the figure was less than 50 per cent of businesses. Although these numbers may seem daunting a year away from a deadline, Cooper says the approach from Nimans is to focus on the opportunity for partners. “The core message to partners is that we’ve lived through lots of change and any change brings opportunity,” said Cooper. “If you stay in an industry for a long time you live through lots of change in different forms, this is another one. “Any change gives you an opportunity to go and talk to customers, and it may be that that conversation around upgrading their connectivity leads to a bigger conversation about upgrading some of their existing technology. “From our point of view, we want our partners to use the Switch off as a positive and as an opportunity rather than seeing it as a negative.”

Andrew Cooper, Head of Nimans Connect


To effectively be on track to switch off in 2025, a circuit needs to be moved every four seconds, which is ridiculous.


Yet, Cooper said that sitting on their hands may not be an option for many businesses. “There’s been talk of a delay for a while, mainly due to challenging migration scenarios such as vulnerable users and care lines,” said Cooper. “My guess would be any delay could be targeted towards the likes of the vulnerable, alarm systems, and careline type customers but ultimately as far as we’re aware no decision has yet been reached. “We know that products and services like SOTAP (Single Order Temporary Access Product) are being developed to support the migration of those types of challenging services and scenarios. “With regards to the pace of change, any postponement or delay would give partners and end customers additional time which I’m sure some would look to take advantage of. That said whilst there’s still a long way to go in terms of completing the 2025 rollout many partners are engaged in the journey so slowing the pace of change now may not be an option.” But while some will take advantage of a delay, to use Cooper’s words, others will have already swapped customers over the modern technologies, and a lot of progress is being made today. “Obviously the interest has been there from the point the switch-off was announced,” said Cooper. “That interest probably waned a little because the dates got put back and there was always a sort of question as to whether they really meant 2025 or not. But this hockey stick effect on adoption will likely come through the latter part of 2024 and early 2025 when that realisation sets in that things have got to change. “We’re pushing connectivity across the whole of the Nimans Group now. When we got all the salespeople together, whether they were predominantly working outside of our connectivity business, and asked them to put their hands up if they have a phone line at home to put their hands up. “I asked a similar question at the BT Tower during a partner event. I asked whether anyone in the audience, from a partner point of view, had anyone completed their base migration and there was one lady who put her hand up out of 50 partners in the room, which just goes to show you there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

My guess would be any

delay could be targeted towards the likes of the vulnerable, alarm systems, and careline type customers but ultimately as far as we’re aware no decision has yet been reached

Connectivity As Cooper points out, at the heart of the PSTN switch-off is an opportunity to upgrade connectivity, a point he emphasised with just how fundamental it is to the success of businesses. “Some people view this as a one-way conversation that centres around the customer being on an old circuit and having to change. Whereas I think it’d be better to use it as an opportunity to talk about, not just the connectivity, but the overall products that the customer is using and any advantages that can be gained from a migration. “Connectivity glues everything together, if we look at what we can do now in comparison to what we could do a couple of years ago, it’s phenomenal. With home working and hybrid working, reliable connectivity becomes ever more important. “From a partner’s point of view, the switch off is an opportunity to get customers using the next generation of connectivity and the products and services like cloud computing, telephony, or AI typically follow on down the line. “Connectivity is like a utility now. If your electricity goes off you’re kind of snookered because things won’t work. But you could probably survive in an office environment without water for longer than you could without connectivity because it has become so critical.” Extension The opportunity for partners may well be out there but while talks of a delay fill the airwaves and column inches, the motivation to get a move on is reduced.





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News from the Show AI-RAN Alliance Launched at GSMA Mobile World Congress to Revolutionise Cellular Technology alliance’s role in delivering ubiquitous AI and 6G technologies.

The GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona witnessed the launch of the AI-RAN Alliance, a pioneering collaborative initiative aimed at integrating artificial intelligence into cellular technology to revolutionise radio access network technology and mobile networks. This alliance, comprising leading technology, industry, and academic institutions, marks a significant milestone in advancing mobile network efficiency, reducing power consumption, and unlocking new economic opportunities for telecommunications companies through AI-driven innovations facilitated by 5G and 6G technologies. The founding members of the AI-RAN Alliance include AWS, Arm, DeepSig, Ericsson, Microsoft, Nokia, NVIDIA, Samsung, SoftBank, and T-Mobile. Together, these industry giants aim to leverage their collective expertise to drive research and innovation in three key areas: l  AI for RAN: Advancing RAN capabilities through AI to enhance spectral efficiency. l  AI and RAN: Integrating AI and RAN processes to utilise infrastructure more effectively and create new AI-driven revenue opportunities. l  AI on RAN: Deploying AI services at the network edge through RAN to increase operational efficiency and offer new services to mobile users. Mohamed Awad, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Infrastructure Line of Business at Arm, highlighted the transformative potential of AI in wireless services deployment, emphasising the

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