BroadSoft Expands Cloud Communications With Project Tempo

At its user conference, the company unveils an initiative designed to make the UCaaS experience better for end users and less costly for businesses.

BroadSoft CEO

BroadSoft officials are looking to grow the company's presence in the increasingly competitive cloud collaboration space with a new initiative that they say will make unified communications simpler and workers more productive.

The company on Oct. 26 introduced Project Tempo, an effort based on BroadSoft's UC-One platform that will integrate real-time communications and collaboration tools as well as cloud applications. The vendor also is including contextual intelligence that will give employees and businesses insights into how their unified communications (UC) technologies are being used and integrate such information as users' conversations, social profiles and availability, according to officials.

The broad range of integration being offered in Project Tempo will result in a cloud-based collaboration environment where employees essentially live in their BroadSoft application for all of their communications and interaction needs.

Project Tempo was announced during the second day of the company's BroadSoft Connections 2015 user show in Phoenix.

What BroadSoft is looking to do with the initiative is to reduce the complexity that is found in many UC offerings and that causes many employees to shy away from such communications tools. As the same time, the company is looking to help businesses reduce the costs associated with collaboration environments, according to BroadSoft CEO Michael Tessler.

"End-users really need to find out how to take unified communications functions and integrate them into their work places and make them more productive," Tessler told eWEEK, adding that current products on the market make simple tasks "clumsy and bumpy. We think they should be really simple. … The end-user customers want to use a more integrated [solution]."

Tessler and other company executives also see Project Tempo as a way to become an even larger player in the UC-as-a-service (UCaaS) market, which in led by Cisco Systems and Microsoft and is being targeted by many of the vendors in the space, including ShoreTel, Mitel, Unify and Avaya. The CEO credited both Cisco and Microsoft with their efforts in the cloud communications space, but said that Cisco is still more of a traditional network hardware company and that Microsoft has holes in its offerings.

"Clearly, this area is really heating up," Tessler said.

IDC analysts are forecasting the cloud communications market to grow from $123 million in 2013 to $7.5 billion in 2018, while IHS Infonetics in March said that in a survey it conducted, more than half of the respondents said they will be running at least some of their UC services over private or public clouds by next year.

"Cloud solutions are inherently more flexible than premises-based solutions, offering businesses the ability to scale users up and down, centralize management, and deploy new features and applications quickly," Diane Myers, principal analyst for voice over IP (VOIP), UC and IP multimedia subsystems at Infonetics, said in a statement at the time.

The lack of integration between communications applications (such as conferencing, video, desktop sharing and call center) and collaboration tools (LinkedIn, Twitter, Concur, Salesforce and Redbooth) comes with a cost, according to BroadSoft officials. Meetings are less effective than they could be, resulting in $37 billion wasted every year in the United States in unnecessary meetings and 40 percent loss of productivity due to multi-tasking and disjointed processes, they said.

For Project Tempo, BroadSoft in the first quarter of 2016 will release a beta version of UC-One Hub, a cloud service that integrates real-time communications with cloud applications and offers contextual intelligence. It will initially run on BroadSoft's UC-One Communicator using Google Chrome, and will come with off-the-shelf integration with Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive, along with Concur, Redbooth and Twitter.

Along with UC-One Hub, application integration and contextual intelligence, other components includes enterprise messaging, unified directory services, UC-One and building blocks, such as open-source software, APIs, software-development kits (SDKs) and software libraries.

Service providers will be able to deliver UC-One and Project Tempo services through BroadSoft's BroadWorks platform or as a hosted service via the company's BroadCloud cloud infrastructure.

Also at the user conference, BroadSoft officials announced that the latest version of BroadCloud—which will bring full UC-One features to service providers via the hosted service—will be available next month, and that the company had surpassed 12 million cloud unified communications lines deployed globally.