Marco Rullo

by | Feb 3, 2021

The best of Winter Release 2021: cloud, security, integrations.

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A month ago, we released the new Winter 2021 edition of our beloved ApplicationSuite… Oops! Sorry, force of habit. What I meant was: of our new UC Suite. What did you say? What is the UC Suite? If you missed it among the ton of news that we have prepared for you, don’t panic. I promise I will steal 5 minutes of your time, tops, to guide you through the discovery of the Winter ’21 edition.

One Suite to rule them all.

As my colleague Bernardo told you all two months ago, we decided to take a new narrative path, focusing on what we do best: offering a single solution that perfectly defines the mission of our company, i.e. providing unified communications and providing them all behind a single pane of glass.
This explains why we changed the name from ApplicationSuite to Imagicle UC Suite, which makes the UC scope of the applications immediately clear. The mission of our apps is to help our customers communicate faster, smarter, and easier, regardless of details such as the calling platform in use, the deployment mode and architecture, or the application consumption model.
And Winter 2021 brings the first concrete fruits of this new communication strategy, starting from a renewed web user interface that, from now on, will have its own very precise and individual identity, whether you are using Cisco, Microsoft, or another calling platform.
Imagicle Web User Interface

The Cloud does it better. Introducing the Imagicle UC Cloud Suite.

And the new name also applies to our flagship offer, the UC Cloud Suite, the cloud service hosted and operated by Imagicle that lets you consume all our UC apps in the fastest, smartest, and easiest way ever.  
Thanks to the amazing modern cloud technologies we have been able to bring the same features of the UC Suite to another level, providing:
  • better scalability: it’s a dedicated private instance using elastic resources, that can fit mid to very large enterprise customers
  • better reliability and availability: leveraging cloud technologies from leading cloud provider AWS, available in 20+ geo according to customer needs
  • better security: securely connected to customer/partner’s site and granting data isolation
  • faster and flexible deployment: connected to existing PSTN lines, regardless of whether the calling platform is cloud, on-prem, or hosted.
 
In a nutshell, the UC Cloud Suite is just perfect!
And you know what? A super launch offer is active right now, what are you waiting for?

Call Analytics: manage your Hunt Groups while you monitor and cut your telephone expenses.

Let’s start from Call Analytics, i.e. the new name for Call Accounting that better describes its mission: to provide insight that allows you to analyze the call journey, identify and prevent phone abuses and frauds, assign budgets, and lock the phones, thus saving cash. Meanwhile, you’ll get compliance reports and improve your service quality.
 
Starting from Winter’21, Call Analytics is enriched with new, refined capabilities dedicated to Cisco UCM platforms for the analysis of incoming telephone traffic managed with Hunt Groups. Thanks to a focused set of reports, Call Analytics will allow you to measure, control, and optimize your customer service. To learn more about it, take a look at this in-depth article.
 
Moreover, the CDR processing engine has been further enhanced and is now able to identify which device was used to make or receive a call. This means that, as we speak, in all the reports included in the product, you already have 2 new fields: the name and the model of the devices involved in the phone call, to perform targeted analysis
All this is just the seed that we have already planted in Winter’21 and that will sprout in Spring’21, together with a set of reports aimed at analyzing the device adoption in your company.

Attendant Console: security first.

Cybersecurity is a subject we really care about, so much so that we have made it one of the pillars of our product strategy. Nevertheless, it is often a complex and complicated matter, especially when it comes to actual configuration and implementation.  
With Winter’21, we thought we’d dramatically simplify the way to secure and protect the information exchanged between the Attendant Console and the UC Suite from prying eyes. 
How? With out-of-the-box TLS encryption support. And a little spoiler: if you pair it with Cisco Webex in MRA mode, you can set up a perfect, secure, smart-working proof workstation in an extremely easy way. 
Want to know more? Follow Michele in this article
 
In Winter’21, the eye had its part, too. We added a new Skin, Violet: a perfect combination of colors when combined with the Microsoft Teams client
attendant console MS Teams

And we have also renewed the visual language that communicates the presence statuses of colleagues, to make them more immediate and universally clear:

attendant console rich presence

Integrations.

So, from now on, only one suite: the UC Suite, the main character of the scene. A scene trodden by a company of actors with whom it’s essential to know how to communicate. We want to make sure that your UC Suite is tailor-made for you: a tool that adapts to your way of communicating, and not the other way around. A single experience enclosed in the tools you already use and love, an open suite ready to satisfy your every need, because in the Enterprise sector, it is essential (to say the least) to have the widest possible spectrum of integrations.
 
And it’s no coincidence that our Imagicle UC Suite offers plenty of integrations, grouped into 3 families on a dedicated new page:
  • integrations with calling platforms, which obviously remain a key, founding, and enabling element for a suite of UC apps;
  • ready-to-use integrations for the enterprise systems you already use every day: from Microsoft Office 365 and Google Gmail platforms to CRMs such as SalesForce and Microsoft Dynamics, through Singlewire and Kurmi partners and many, many more;
  • endless integrations that can be developed to your liking, thanks to the rich set of APIs the UC Suite has to offer.

Calling Platforms on the rocks.

During 2020, we put in place significant investments to enhance the integrations we can already offer you for modern Calling platforms, particularly those of Cisco and Microsoft.
It is with great pleasure that I present the first concrete fruits that have matured with Winter’21, i.e. the complete integrations with 3 new calling platforms: Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams, and Cisco Broadworks
And this is only the beginning of a journey that will continue throughout 2021, where native integrations will get increasingly daring, rich, and flexible.

Cisco Webex: one smart operator station. One client.

Cisco recently added two key innovations to Webex, which allow it to integrate with the UC Suite and provide users with a complete, easy, and space-friendly experience.
 
First and foremost, it is now possible to set up a perfect, modern, and smart operator station, thanks to the Imagicle Attendant Console paired with Cisco Webex. In fact, the Attendant Console is now able to control the Cisco Webex client as if it was a regular phone, thanks to the ability to use the client as an endpoint registered to the Cisco UCM. Moreover, thanks to the MRA from Webex and the new out-of-the-box secure connection offered by the Attendant Console, it will be even faster and easier to set up a remote and secure workplace.
 
But there’s more: we were finally able to bring you access to all the UC Suite apps directly within the Webex client! In fact, all the gadgets that the UC Suite offers for Jabber are now compatible and can also be used in Cisco Webex: you will have the ability to browse the company directories and search for a contact, receive or send faxes, check your recordings, etc. without ever exiting the client that you use every day for calls, meetings, and messaging
If you want to know more about all the potentials, we held a dedicated webinar on the topic.
 
Read more on the dedicated Press Release.

Microsoft Teams: your UC solution at your fingertips.

Those who have known us for a long time know that we have always invested in calling platforms belonging to the Microsoft landscape, starting from Lync all the way to Skype for Business. I admit that, a few years ago, when Microsoft changed its course towards the Teams platform, we thought it would be best to wait for the new platform to be quite mature, especially for us developers. And fortunately, in the course of 2020, Microsoft has definitely accelerated the pace, on the API front as well. So, we got started on a new investment.
 
As a consequence, we are really proud to announce the first milestone, which is implemented in Winter’21: the compatibility and availability of basically all UC Suite applications with the Microsoft Teams environment in Direct Routing architecture (in which the client dialogues with the PSTN through an SBC, on-prem or hosted). And thanks to the UC Cloud Suite, the customer will be able to harness the entire UC solution as a cloud service, as well as MS Teams itself. Alternatively, we also support the most classic deployments, both on-prem and hosted.
 
This means that MS Teams users will have the possibility of browsing company directories and consult their faxes or their recordings thanks to our gadgets, which are accessible directly from the MS Teams client itself:
Imagicle MS Teams Integration
I saved the best for last, the one that actually plays a key role among the needs of an Enterprise: the operator console. Well, we can offer you the compatibility of our Attendant Console even with the Microsoft Teams environment, keeping the same user experience that you are already used to. In this way, we can also be with you every step of the way if you decide to transition from other calling platforms, with the undoubted advantage for operators of not even having to change their work tools.
To be fair, we still have an important requirement to this day: the operator (and the operator only) must use the Skype for Business client (in hybrid mode). 
 
Nevertheless, Winter’21 is only the first step of a path of investments that will bear fruit in the course of the first half of 2021: we are already working to develop a native integration, based on the Microsoft Teams Communications API (just out from the beta phase), to remove this requirement and offer a solution that will be Microsoft Teams only. 

Cisco Broadworks meets Imagicle Customer Service.

In the course of 2020, we also invested a lot to complete our offer of applications for Cisco Broadworks. With Winter’21, this offer gains an important piece: the completion of native integration of Customer Service solution and the Attendant Console. It was an important and inspiring work that produced remarkable performances, which we described in a dedicated article.
 
The result of that work is the completion of the set of applications dedicated to Service providers, starting from Winter’21. SPs can now count on as many as 7 UC Apps to enrich their UCaaS offer.
 
But there is… no, scratch that! There WILL be more: thanks to strategic technological choices, such as the use of Broadworks proprietary XSI APIs, we have paved the way for further, even more daring integrations, that will lead to other important milestones in 2021, such as a native integration with Cisco Webex Calling.

One last thing.

We have also deeply revamped the Release Notes page of our site, adding 3 main benefits:
  • improved usability and a renewed look’n feel,
  • the possibility of subscribing to the changelog and receive a notification for each publication of a new release, whether it is major, minor, or hotfix;
  • the highlight of all the news that have an impact in terms of security, whether it is a new feature or a fixed vulnerability. And for each solved vulnerability, there is a detailed bulletin available. 
 
In this way, you will be promptly notified when a new hotfix is available and identify whether it contains bug or major vulnerability fixes for the applications you use.

Conclusions.

Maybe I was wrong and 5 minutes wasn’t enough. I apologize, but there was so much news and I couldn’t help revealing what’s hidden under a blanket of snow and will see the light in 2021. And it will be even more!
 
I also hope that I have conveyed at least in part the commitment, the passion, and the amount of investment that we are putting together to offer you a collection of applications and services that are increasingly rich, flexible, and intelligent; and more and more centered on you because we care about raising the number of our happy customers.
 
Oh, and by the way, I didn’t quite tell you everything about 2021…

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