Windstream Enterprise and BlueJeans up the ante in collaboration

Managed communications service provider makes additions to unified comms offerings to enable effective and scalable collaboration while Verizon-owned company announces support for Microsoft Direct Guest Join

Aiming to address a world where companies require accessible on-demand solutions that establish collaborative sessions between colleagues in a hybrid work mode, Windstream Enterprise (WE) and BlueJeans have enhanced their respective unified communications and collaboration suites.

Managed communications service provider WE has announced OfficeSuite Live, the next evolution of its expanding unified communications portfolio and taking the form of a meeting platform designed to enable “seamless” virtual collaboration for voice, video and content sharing.

Accessible from any desktop or mobile device, OfficeSuite Live users can host or join audio or video meetings via a web browser. It is said to enable enhanced productivity for enterprise clients through one-to-one meetings and group collaboration sessions, and can be used on a standalone basis. The suite includes a dashboard that offers customers a single pane of glass through which to monitor, manage and analyse WE services in real time.

According to WE, the suite becomes even more powerful when combined with other Windstream Enterprise OfficeSuite and software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) solutions for an optimised user experience. Windstream already offers managed communications services, including SD-WAN and unified communications as a service (UCaaS), and high-capacity bandwidth and transport services to businesses across the US, as well as premium broadband and security services through an enhanced fibre network.

Offering a rationale for its deployment, BlueJeans said that over the past 18 months, video conferencing has become the primary mode of communication for organisations throughout the world. The pandemic has shifted global teams into a new era of work that is radically different from the previous in-office work experience.

It added that as companies’ collective style of working has continued to evolve during the past year and a half, one of the new realities of digital work is that each organisation has expanded and refined its own toolkit for collaboration. Ultimately, it said this means every organisation has a patchwork of services that hybrid workers depend on for communicating inside and outside the organisation and that such a patchwork, and access to it, has the potential to become much more painful once workers return to the office and venture into conference rooms to join their video calls. 

In a bid to simplify and streamline the process of joining different conferencing services from a room-based video endpoint, BlueJeans has announced support for Microsoft Direct Guest Join. This is intended to enable native meeting room devices to connect to alternative meeting services via embedded web technology. Microsoft and BlueJeans will each enable the Direct Guest Join capability from their respective video conferencing systems by using the web app for their respective meeting services. Going forward, this functionality will be supported in the latest generations of meeting room devices.

Through this embedded web experience, customers will be able to use their native Microsoft Teams Room devices to directly join BlueJeans Meetings, and vice versa, without resetting the device or punching in cumbersome meeting IDs. The web-enabled room experience will provide basic functionality to control in-room audio and video features. Direct Guest Join will be available for customers to preview in the second quarter of 2022. 

BlueJeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams is a Microsoft Certified Cloud Video Interop solution that easily allows users to connect their legacy H.323 and SIP-based conference room systems to Microsoft Teams meetings. BlueJeans also offers an intelligent bot for Microsoft Teams to easily escalate into a BlueJeans meeting. BlueJeans also offers calendar integration with Microsoft Outlook. 

“We are excited to continue our long-standing relationship with Microsoft to boost productivity of hybrid workers,” commented BlueJeans product manager Satya Prakash Pati. “As we all look forward to returning to some state of normalcy, we are hopeful that our continued innovation around conference rooms will enable our customers to have confidence that, whether they are extending the value of their existing hardware or purchasing new gear, they will be enabling their users to stay connected and leverage the power of video to keep their operations running smoothly. 

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