This content is part of the Conference Coverage: Enterprise Connect 2017 conference coverage

Unified communications platforms get contextual, customizable

These days, many unified communications platforms offer similar capabilities, such as messaging, presence, and voice and video communications. Understandably, these unified communications platforms are now looking to differentiate themselves.

As unified communications platforms and other UC products look to advance enterprise collaboration, their contributions to the industry are often deemed evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. Although incremental developments may not seem innovative, they are important to advance an industry in realistic, problem-solving ways.

Two unified communications platforms -- BroadSoft Business and Genband Smart Office -- serve as examples of this evolutionary development. Both products were Best of Enterprise Connect finalists last month at the UC conference in Orlando, Fla.

BroadSoft Business offers an integrated portfolio of cloud PBX, team collaboration and contact-center applications, as well as access to users' email, files and tasks. Additionally, BroadSoft Business integrates with BroadSoft Hub, which helps contextualize communications by bringing past information, such as emails and files, into a chat session.

Service providers, such as Verizon and Vonage, sell BroadSoft's cloud-based communications platform as part of their services. These partnerships help extend BroadSoft's installed user base around the world.

"BroadSoft is a pretty significant player," said David Stein, a Best of Enterprise Connect judge and principal at Stein Technology Consulting Group, based in Westminster, Calif. "They have a huge channel; that's why they're so successful."

Genband's Smart Office offers the same tools as other unified communications platforms, but it's also connected to the vendor's Kandy business services. With Smart Office, users can customize their UC clients with certain colors and integrate web services.

In the video above, check out demos of BroadSoft Business and Genband's customizable UC client. Other Best of Enterprise Connect finalists included Cisco, Polycom, Plantronics and Vonage. The award finalists generally reflect UC trends, innovation and evolution. Cisco's Spark Board won the show's top award.

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