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Cloud Native/NFV

Leading Lights 2020 Finalists: Most Innovative Business Cloud Service

As more enterprises move to multi-cloud environments and the number of mobile workers rises, cloud services that simplify operations for business customers are increasingly vital for day-to-day operations.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses also require reliable unified communications platforms to help their employees stay productive and access company data securely while work-from-home orders are in place.

This year, four companies have been shortlisted for "Most Innovative Business Cloud Service" for their efforts in providing cloud services that reduce costs, improve efficiency and simplify access to collaboration tools. The award goes to the "communications service provider that has launched the most innovative business cloud service for enterprise and/or small or midsized corporate users during the past year."

The four companies in the running are:

  • Comcast Business
  • Orange
  • Vonage
  • Unified Office

The Leading Lights winners, and the identities of this year's Light Reading Hall of Fame inductees, will be announced online, on August 21, during a special video presentation on www.lightreading.com, one month before the start of the Big 5G Event.

Here's a closer look at the companies shortlisted in Most Innovative Business Cloud Service:

Comcast Business – Comcast Business VoiceEdge
Comcast Business' voice-over-IP (VoIP) service, Comcast Business VoiceEdge, is a cloud-based, hosted voice and unified communications (UC) solution aimed at reducing the need for on-site private branch exchange (PBX) equipment. The Business VoiceEdge Conferencing tool can be used to book conference calls of up to 50 participants and integrates with Slack so users can begin an audio-conferencing session on VoiceEdge via Slack. Users can also launch VoiceEdge by using voice commands on Alexa.

Last month, Comcast Business delivered additional support for home workers with the launch of Comcast Business At Home to "provide dedicated, enterprise-grade broadband service along with a streamlined, company-paid billing structure," wrote Light Reading's Jeff Baumgartner. The new service delivers features such as the ability for home workers to route calls from their business to any device, plus cybersecurity tools to protect devices connected to the home business network.

Orange – Orange Cloud
The Orange Cloud is a cloud storage solution which automatically backs up photos, videos, music, files, calendar and contacts – up to 5GB of cloud data is free. Orange customers can access their stored data from any desktop or mobile device and also share their files with contacts.

Orange and Google Cloud initiated a partnership today to improve Orange's IT infrastructure and develop future cloud services such as edge computing. The companies are also creating an Innovation Lab and a Center of Excellence to support Orange France and other Orange affiliates in their cloud transformations.

Vonage – Vonage Communications Platform
Vonage has been busy expanding its cloud communications services, built on a public cloud-based architecture, with nine acquisitions over the past six years, including the addition of programmable communications with the Nexmo API Platform, contact center capabilities from NewVoiceMedia and conversational-related AI from the talent acquisition of Over.ai.

The service provider also recently added several new features to its collaboration platform – Vonage Meetings delivers new video collaboration capabilities; Vonage Conversation API provides developers and enterprises with the tools to create customized, real-time conversations across messaging and voice channels; and VBC App Center is where employees can manage individual functionality and administrators can add features.

Unified Office – Total Connect Now TCN
In March, Unified Office updated its Total Connect Now TCN service with the Visual Call Flow Builder, which provides a visual graphical user interface (GUI) for customers and resellers to build, design and manage their own call flows. Users can drag and drop call flows onto a virtual interface on their desktop to define their own communications work flows. However, the company's lack of a conventional release schedule makes it challenging to tell what other features have been added when to the Total Connect Now TCN service.

Last February, Light Reading's Phil Harvey spoke with Unified Office CEO Ray Pasquale about the company's disruptive approach to VoIP services. In one case study, Unified Office helped MAR Pizza, a customer that owns more than 70 Domino's Pizza stores, integrate its voice phone system with the company's point of sale systems so the business owners can see how sales are impacted by operational issues.

— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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