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Remote Working: The vendors offering UC for free

Over the last few weeks UC vendors have been stepping up to the plate to offer their flavours of Unified Communications and Collaboration to those impacted by the Coronavirus. Here we take a look at those companies that are offering businesses a chance to keep the lights on.

8×8 – Integrated cloud communications platform 8×8 has expanded their global capabilities for free, namely the standalone version of 8×8 Video Meetings. The company has accelerated the global reach and capabilities of 8×8 Video Meetings, providing companies and employees location-independent access to unlimited meetings through any internet-connected desktop or mobile device without any additional software.

8×8 has just reported a ten fold increase in web traffic – read more here

Microsoft Teams – Most people know that Microsoft have been offering free collaboration to 365 users for some time but now they have now added their conferencing features for free for the next 6 months. The premium plan for its Teams chat app will allow users to record meetings and take advantage of 1TB of storage, neither of which are available on the normal free version.

Verdict: What a product. What a brand. If you already use the Microsoft ecosystem you can’t go badly wrong with Teams.

Avaya Spaces – The telco juggernaut is offering Avaya Spaces collaboration software for free to education institutions, including colleges and universities, along with qualified non-profit organisations worldwide. As early as January, Avaya teams and partners were on the frontline in Wuhan, China to help in the initial stages of this epidemic. The company donated audio and video equipment and dispatched resources for speedy installation and deployment for hospitals in the region to help medical personnel perform remote consultation and video diagnostics as well as to enable patients to visit virtually with loved ones.

Verdict: The simple to use collaboration software will be a welcome addition to all those businesses that already use Avaya, and those which don’t.

Want to know more about Avaya Spaces? Read more here.

Gamma – Previously offered 2 month free trial on Horizon as standard. This has now been moved to 4 months.

Verdict: A Channel favourite, Gamma has its roots deeply embedded into the UK market. It’s simple to install and use software (Horizon) has almost been a victim of its own success. Deals are often dominated with at least one, more likely to be several, Gamma resellers… but for good reason.

Gamma posted huge growth in 2019 – read more here

Gsuite – Google has indicated in a blog post that it will offer access to advanced Hangouts Meet, its video-conferencing software to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally so affected businesses can let employees work from home. That plan includes up to 250 users per call, the ability to record meetings, and livestream capabilities for up to 100,000 viewers until July 1, 2020

Verdict: Again, another slick product from a company that does conferencing well.

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LogMeIn: LogMeIn has made Emergency Remote Work Kits available for three months. Currently those kits are designed for nonprofits, schools, and healthcare organisations that aren’t already customers. The company is also giving small businesses a leg-up with free trials to GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar – which can host presentations for up to 3,000 users.

Verdict: Although many of these tools could be used within a healthcare environment it is great to see LogMeIn designing on for healthcare establishments when they need it most.

Zoom: Businesses can already try a free version of Zoom for videoconferencing. However, given the increased demand for its services they are investing time and money into ensuring the service remains reliable and can handle the capacity requirements of users. Like others, Zoom is also trying to help out smaller businesses with additional information resources.

In China, the business has extended the free plan and removed all limits on meeting times and breakout rooms.

Verdict: It’s hard to up your game when you already offer your service out for free. Zoom is focusing on where they think it matters most. They people love the product, they are trying to prepare for the demand at the back end by keeping the service smooth and, more importantly, up and running.

Cisco: Webex is now available with no time restrictions. Users can have up to 100 meeting participants and toll-free dial-in features. If you aren’t already a customer then fret not. They are giving away 90 day licenses for those not already on the books.

Read about Cisco’s latest collaboration innovation here

FreeConferenceCall.com – We have seen global surge in usage of free conference calling and FreeConferenceCall.com is no different. As users adapt to Coronavirus advisories and restrictions account creation has increased 42% in the UK, 3442% in Italy, 68% France, 83% in South Korea, 121% in Spain, 94% in Germany and 393% in Japan, since January 2020.

Users can get –
• Unlimited international audio conferencing with local dial ins for 75+ markets
• Unlimited video conferencing
• Up to 1,000 participants per conference (significantly more than most providers)
• Screen sharing and drawing

Lifesize – Global specialist of video collaboration and meeting productivity solutions, Lifesize will offer all organizations impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide an unlimited number of free licenses to use the company’s cloud-based video collaboration platform for six months. This will enable them to implement flexible, remote work policies during the global health crisis. The offer allows both new and existing customers to quickly and easily turn to enterprise-grade video meetings and collaboration capabilities at scale.

Read more about the Lifesize offer here

NFON AG – The pan-European Cloud PBX provider has announced a special offer for all new customers. Until the end of April 2020, new customers of Cloudya, the telephone system from the cloud, will not have to pay the usual costs per booked extension for the first two months. From the start of the contract, all costs per extension will be dropped for a period of two months. From the first day, new customers only pay for the actual number of call units and are not contractually bound for the long term. After the two months, customers can terminate the contract at any time.

Latest news – NFON wins huge partner ASL

Wildix – SIX MONTHS of FREE VIDEOCONFERENCING: All of the features in Wildix Collaboration plus videoconferencing to let users meet with colleagues and clients from home with all the presence of being in the office. To enable this feature, you can offer FREE Business Licenses (one-month licenses good for six months) for an unlimited number of users.

Read more on the Wildix offer here

CounterPath – CounterPath will be extending Virtual Meeting Room capabilities to all Bria Solo, Bria Solo Free and Bria Teams users until the end of June. This includes unlimited HD audio and video calls, screen sharing and instant messaging, giving workers the ability to telecommute productively from anywhere.

Read the latest on Bria Solo here

Yeastar – Now offering Cloud PBX – Free for 90 Days

This 90-day free version provides businesses with a cloud-based business phone system to unify the whole team together without maintaining on-site equipment. With Linkus Softphone, employees can transfer their mobile phones and desktops into office extensions to make business calls and have all communications features at hand. Thus, the office is wherever you want it to be.

Features:

  • No Hardware Needed
  • Mobile & Desktop Softphone
  • 20 Extensions & 4 Concurrent Calls

Latest news – Yeastar signs PBX deal with VoIP Unlimited.

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Are you missing from this list? Contact David Dungay at David.Dungay@MarkAllenGroup.com

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine