BroadSoft Puts UC Focus on the End User

Officials for the company, which has targeted service providers, say enhancements to their UC platform are aimed at individuals and groups.

UC collaboration

BroadSoft is unveiling enhancements to its unified communications platform aimed at increasing end-user productivity on both the individual and group levels.

The new features in the UC-One platform were announced Oct. 13 during the company's three-day BroadSoft Connections 2014 user conference, where officials also unveiled an online development lab to fuel innovation around WebRTC, which enables online collaboration via Web browsers with real-time communications capabilities. At the same time, company executives talked about BroadSoft's new corporate identity around improving the end-user experience through innovation, simplification and acceleration.

"When the BroadSoft journey began 16 years ago, it was all about convergence and helping service providers transform their carrier networks," President and CEO Michael Tessler said in a statement. "Today, it isn't enough to deliver the best software; we must also deliver the best end-user experience possible so that service providers' customers can be productive anywhere, anytime and from any device."

BroadSoft launched the UC-One platform—which makes voice, video, instant messaging, presence and other UC features available via a single interface—two years ago for service providers, and since then has broadened its capabilities. In 2013, the company introduced BroadWorks Collaborate to enable providers to make the services available through server software run within the provider's own network. It was a complement to BroadSoft's BroadCloud hosted platform. Officials also made it possible for service providers to offer greater security in their bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies by enabling end users to separate business and personal voice and UC services on their mobile devices.

Now the company is turning more of its attention to the end user.

In the area of improving individual productivity, BroadSoft is integrating Apple's iBeacon technology that will make it easier to identify where a person is located within the work environment, such as an office or conference room, according to company officials. With this capability, others can choose the most efficient communications option, such as voice or video. In addition, BroadSoft's new Personal Assistant feature integrates an employee's presence information with voice calling, so that someone calling the employee instantly gets a message about whether the employee is available and options about the best times to reach the employee.

For improved group collaboration, BroadSoft is offering new features to its My Room offering, which enables groups to meet in a virtual room where they can chat, talk and share files, all without having to clear a lot of hurdles or type in a lot of numbers to get into a meeting. Among the new features are integrated video conferencing and moderator controls to make group meetings more efficient.

In addition, WebRTC capabilities in My Room allow outside individuals to participate in My Room meetings, enabling them to leverage UC technologies like group instant messaging, audio and video conferencing, and sharing.

"All of the technology announcements unveiled today reflect our commitment to delivering a superior end-to-end user experience by simplifying the way businesses and our customers acquire and manage their Unified Communications services," BroadSoft CTO Scott Hoffpauir said in a statement.

BroadSoft Labs is aimed at encouraging developers and service providers to create and use UC application services that take advantage of WebRTC. The offering comes with the components—such as hosting, the BroadWorks portfolio and WebRTC gateways—users will need to quickly develop new applications. In addition, wizards are available to those with less technical savvy to more quickly leverage WebRTC-enabled collaboration applications. Companies such as NetFore Systems, mPortal and &yet are at the show demonstrating applications created via BroadSoft Labs.