West IP Communications and Cisco: Curing Communications Madness
February 26, 2013 @ 01:41 PM | By James Whitemore

Across the nation, businesses are facing an epidemic: Communication madness! The symptoms include increased pressure to deploy unified communications, mobility and deal with B.Y.O.D. – all without the appropriate resources.

The cure can be found in hosted cloud communications through the use of platforms like Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS). But not all HCS providers are the same. HCS requires a secure, reliable platform–without it things fall apart. But with most providers just getting into the “cloud,” it can lead to client issues like lack of support, installation delays and business interruption.

So who can help you administer the cure for this madness? West IP Communications and Cisco. With more than 12 years of experience delivering hosted communications, we are positioned to deliver Cisco HCS like no other provider can.

Check out this short video about VoiceMaxx CE, our HCS-based platform, and let us know what you think of it below! And to read more about it, click here.

West IP Communications and InterCall are both owned by West Corporation, and the West IP team provides UC solutions for many InterCall customers.

James WhitemoreJames Whitemore is senior vice president of sales and marketing at West IP Communications, the team that delivers InterCall’s unified communication services. InterCall and West IP Communications are both a part of West Corporation. James holds a B.A. (Hons) degree in Business from Newcastle University in the U.K. and currently resides in Boulder, CO. In his downtime, James is an avid skier with an enthusiasm for traveling and car collecting.

Today’s Top Drivers for Hosted UC Deployment
February 25, 2013 @ 09:05 AM | By James Whitemore

For many years, West IP Communications was a voice in the wilderness, building awareness for the notion of hosted enterprise communications solutions.  Even at our founding in 2000, we understood the long-term implications and significant business benefits that accrue with hosted solutions.

The environment has continued to evolve, to the point where hosted solutions are mainstream in their acceptance while communication options have evolved beyond voice and email. There are now many different tools at an organization’s disposal. But to get the most out of those tools, does the hosted model still make as much sense?

Industry analyst Zeus Kerravala has just published a new whitepaper on exactly that question: The Top 10 Reasons to Consider Hosted Collaboration Solutions.  Kerravala provides real-world examples of significant business benefits that arise from hosted solutions – not simply retreads of existing arguments. Beyond that, he offers concrete steps to follow for any business embarking on, or well into, the deployment of collaboration solutions. They include:

  • Consider a hosted solution at least to augment your current deployment.

  • Evaluate hosted collaboration solutions from several providers

  • Start the deployment small, using a controlled pilot

Read the paper for yourself. You can find it in its entirety by clicking here. I think you’ll find it to be a quick and very insightful read!

West IP Communications and InterCall are both owned by West Corporation, and the West IP team provides UC solutions for many InterCall customers.

James WhitemoreJames Whitemore is senior vice president of sales and marketing at West IP Communications, the team that delivers InterCall’s unified communication services. InterCall and West IP Communications are both a part of West Corporation. James holds a B.A. (Hons) degree in Business from Newcastle University in the U.K. and currently resides in Boulder, CO. In his downtime, James is an avid skier with an enthusiasm for traveling and car collecting.

Webcasting Goes All-Inclusive
February 20, 2013 @ 04:00 PM | By Eric Vidal

Anyone who has ever been to an all-inclusive resort knows what a great concept that is for someone looking to unwind. Instead of having to watch every penny and worry about whether going for the Porterhouse Steak instead of the turkey club will mean you don’t have enough money for the cab ride home, you can kick back, relax and enjoy yourself. In fact, since everything is already paid for it’s in your best interest to consume all the food, drinks and fun you can handle.

That concept has now come to webcasting with the introduction of InterCall’s Webcast Studio Unlimited. Rather than having to “pay as you go” for each webcast, you can now pay a single monthly fee for InterCall’s award-winning webcasting platform and conduct as many webcasts as you need.

It’s a revolutionary concept for webcasting. But one that makes sense, really.

Webcasting is a great way to convey information quickly and effectively to large groups of people – generally defined as 20 or more. With the Webcast Studio product line you can incorporate audio, video (standard and HD), presentations, documents and white boards to inform and excite your audience. You can also conduct polls, chat, Q&A sessions and more to keep audiences engaged in a way that more closely resembles an in-person meeting.

One of the biggest barriers to using them to their full advantage, however, has been the cost. Organizations might schedule a webcast on a particular topic on a certain date. But if they had other information (such as a product update or a new process requiring training) that wasn’t on the schedule, they’d either have to scramble to find budget or forego the webcast, replacing it with a less-effective means of communication.

With Webcast Studio Unlimited, those worries are gone. You can launch webcasts whenever you need them, as often as you need them, without affecting departmental budgets or the organization’s bottom line one bit. Which means you’re making the decision whether to conduct a webcast based on if it’s the right choice for the information you want to present rather than if you have budget available to do it. As it should be.

Just as the all-inclusive resort was a game-changer for the travel industry (and those of us who enjoy them), Webcast Studio Unlimited is a game-changer for organizations that need to present information to tens, hundreds or even thousands of people on a regular basis. It may not be a day at the beach, but you won’t have to go on a diet after using it either.

Eric VidalEric Vidal is a Director of Product Marketing at InterCall and is considered a leading voice and expert in virtual business, which expands from marketing to collaboration to learning. He has more than 15 years experience in developing, implementing and optimizing strategies in these areas for numerous organizations and Global 2000 companies. As the director of product marketing for InterCall’s event services, Eric manages the strategy and initiatives for the virtual technologies that include virtual environments, streaming, event management services and operator assisted services. Previously from WebEx, Eric managed the virtual classroom product, as well as brand advertising and new media. Over the last several years, Eric has held management positions at Cisco, WebEx, IBM, BBDO Worldwide and Macromedia.

There was some very welcome news recently announced for InterCall customers who use InterCall Webcast Studio and/or virtual environments while mobile. Both products are now available as Android apps through the Android Market.

What that means is a lot more users will now be able to use their mobile devices to attend webcasts and access their organizations’ virtual environments anywhere they happen to be. And they’ll be able to do it with all the functionality they’ve come to expect from their Android devices, such as pinching and swiping, rather than having the limited functionality that comes with using a mobile browser.

Android Dominance

The announcement is particularly timely given the recent surge in market share for Android devices. Android continues to be the leading smartphone operating system, now owning 52.2 percent of the market according to research firm comScore. In addition, research firm Strategy Analytics group says that Android now accounts for 41.3 percent of the worldwide tablet market, up from a 29.2 percent share for the same period the year before.

By making the Android app available, InterCall has greatly simplified and enhanced the mobile experience for users. Here’s a quick rundown of the highlights.

Webcast Studio

One of the most significant capabilities the new Webcast Studio Android app gives users is the ability to view slides and video at the same time. That gives presenters a lot more flexibility in how they prepare their presentations. They can use audio, slides and/or video in any combination with confidence that all attendees will experience it the way they would on a PC, with robust functionality and full-branded, custom elements.

The app is also able to remember recent events users attended, allowing them to re-enter immediately as long as they click on the app rather than the event’s URL. If you have to jump off momentarily to take an important call you can get right back in quickly and easily.

Of course, by leveraging pinch and swipe capabilities built into the device users can now change the size of type or focus in on a specific area – critical capabilities, particularly when viewing detailed slides on a small smartphone screen. Swiping allows users to position information the way they need it, or move easily between the Android app and other information that may have been sent separately.

Virtual environments

For virtual environments, the Android app allows mobile users to enjoy full navigation throughout the environment. They can easily view webcasts, interact with other visitors in the networking lounge, chat with booth reps, participate in discussion forums and access all on-demand content.

All the customized elements are intact and active as well. And again, pinching and swiping makes it easy to move from an overall view to a focus on a specific element and back again.

The InterCall Webcast Studio and virtual environment apps are available free through the Android Market. If you’re frequently on the move, as I am, you’ll want to download them soon. I’ve tried them and they definitely create a better user experience.

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Eric VidalEric Vidal is a Director of Product Marketing at InterCall and is considered a leading voice and expert in virtual business, which expands from marketing to collaboration to learning. He has more than 15 years experience in developing, implementing and optimizing strategies in these areas for numerous organizations and Global 2000 companies. As the director of product marketing for InterCall’s event services, Eric manages the strategy and initiatives for the virtual technologies that include virtual environments, streaming, event management services and operator assisted services. Previously from WebEx, Eric managed the virtual classroom product, as well as brand advertising and new media. Over the last several years, Eric has held management positions at Cisco, WebEx, IBM, BBDO Worldwide and Macromedia.

One of the main themes that permeates throughout all the business units here at West Corporation is that technology removes geographical barriers when hiring talent. In other words, you’re no longer restricted to hiring whoever can make it to a single headquarters office in a reasonable amount of time on a typical day, but instead are free to seek out the candidates who are the best fit. We also talk about how opening up the talent pool leads to a more diverse mix of business, educational, cultural and life experiences, giving the organization a broader range of thinking and approaches to draw upon.

On Thursday, February 21, 2013 West Corporation is living that message by holding our first-ever Diversity (Virtual) Career Fair. Using the virtual environment technology from InterCall Event Services, job seekers from around the U.S. will have an opportunity to check out and chat online with representatives from business units including West Corporation, Intrado, InterCall, West Notifications Inc., West IP Communications and West at Home. They’ll also have the opportunity to apply online from within the virtual career fair.

Each business unit will have its own booth, so attendees can move from booth to booth to learn about the opportunities and requirements as they experience West Corporation’s technological leadership. After all, there’s nothing like seeing a company’s cool technology in action to get you excited about it, and show why the company is different from the competition.

West Corporation is very committed to bringing diversity to the workplace. The positions available through the virtual career fair are diverse as well, covering a wide  range of areas including customer service and inside sales, field sales, IT/Engineering, marketing and product management to name a few.

West is an exciting, innovative leader in the communications industry, providing an environment for personal and professional growth while actively supporting diversity in both career opportunities and markets served. We have a 26-year history of innovation across a broad spectrum of communications solutions for businesses of all sizes, and operate in more than 20 countries around the world. All which means there are plenty of opportunities for qualified candidates.

If you know of anyone looking for a career in the communications field, whether they have years of experience or are recent graduates, be sure to let them know about this unique opportunity to become part of a world leader. For more information about the West Diversity (Virtual) Career Fair, go to http://engage.vevent.com/index.jsp?eid=1259&seid=413&code=pr.

Eric VidalEric Vidal is a Director of Product Marketing at InterCall and is considered a leading voice and expert in virtual business, which expands from marketing to collaboration to learning. He has more than 15 years experience in developing, implementing and optimizing strategies in these areas for numerous organizations and Global 2000 companies. As the director of product marketing for InterCall’s event services, Eric manages the strategy and initiatives for the virtual technologies that include virtual environments, streaming, event management services and operator assisted services. Previously from WebEx, Eric managed the virtual classroom product, as well as brand advertising and new media. Over the last several years, Eric has held management positions at Cisco, WebEx, IBM, BBDO Worldwide and Macromedia.

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