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For six-months (and counting) COVID-19 has accelerated the need for SMBs to leverage UCaaS (unified communications as a service), forcing executives to jump into one of the fastest-growing segments in the supply chain.
UCaaS is a cloud delivery model that offers a variety of communication and collaboration applications and services, including providers such as RingCentral, Nextiva, 8×8 Inc., and Microsoft, to third-party cloud service providers, such as Verizon, AT&T, and BT.
For the uninitiated, UCaaS was born out of four distinct technological phases that drove the need to have unified communications:
The Rise of the Phone and E-mail
For a long time, a company’s electronic communications consisted of two main parts–the phone and e-mail, thanks to the rise of the Internet.
Having both a phone and Internet, allowed for a business to literally “be connected” to the rest of the world in a single location (before the Internet expanded to infinite locations).
As technology has evolved since the 1990’s, the communication needs of businesses and the average entrepreneur have grown. With the voluminous amount of information being shared and distributed on a daily basis, tracking and locating where information is coming from is essential to complying with data privacy laws, but also staying vigilant and organized. A one-stop-shop of information coming in and out would eventually be a universal demand.
#3 – Instant Messaging (yes, ICQ and AIM)
A year after ICQ was made available, AOL released its IM platform, AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). And here we are 23-years later with Facebook Messenger (just without the buddy list and endless variations of a screen name that a person could create).
#4 – VOIP/Video Conferencing Platforms (Skype, Zoom, etc)
Since IM took off, it paved the way for new technologies like e-mail, phone calls, group chats and video conferencing to take place, making it possible for remote communication from anywhere in the world, with very little centralization.
What we basically ended up with was a number of communication channels coming from every direction without being able to group the information in a single location.
Thus the idea for UCaaS was born.
How Our Biggest Communication Platforms Are Using UCaaS
UCaaS offers the opportunity to integrate multiple communication methods through a single cloud provider, including enterprise messaging, telephone communication, and video conferencing, which facilitates team communication. Think about the Slack and Microsoft Teams messaging platforms.
This type of platform can then be integrated into call center services, such as call routing, and call centers, with additional functionality when combined with phone dialing software such as Avaya, Vonage, RingCentral, among others.
Bringing to the table his extensive experience with Microsoft in leading direct and indirect sales and marketing teams, executing high-growth channel and distribution strategies, and taking industry-leading products to market, Martorano intends to take on his competitors as the global coronavirus pandemic continues.
“We go head-to-head every day with RingCentral, 8×8, Vonage, and they have pretty solid solutions, but the Nextiva solution just fits better squarely with the SMB customer,” said Martorano, Nextiva’s new CRO effective today.
“It was built with the SMB customer in mind. It has the ability to scale upwards into the enterprise, but one of the differentiating factors with Nextiva is when we build our products, we think about how we can make a difference with the SMB customer. … I do feel like Nextiva has something that Intermedia doesn’t with our NextOS. When you take a look at what we’re bringing to market, this is something special that the channel is going to really embrace.”
Prior to leaving Microsoft, Martorano served as the CEO of Accordo Group, which was recently acquired by MarketStar. Currently, he sits on the Board of Directors for Velosio, one of the largest Microsoft Dynamics 365 partners worldwide.
In a brief conversation with Nextiva’s CEO, Tomas Gorny, the company expressed excitement as Martorano joins the team, sharing that “as we continue to bring innovative products to the market, we look forward to Eric focusing on scaling our sales organization and our partner community, two important areas that will help accelerate our innovation in connected communication.”