No More Islands!

29 Mar 2017

While at this year’s Enterprise Connect conference, I was fortunate to sit down with Andrei Soroker, Director of Product Strategy at Sameroom. Sameroom was recently acquired by 8x8 for its unique technology for connecting disparate messaging platforms.

Messaging based platforms have a significant presence at Enterprise Connect and continue to increase mind share in the Unified Communications and Collaboration space. Although categorized as something other than UC&C (i.e. Workstream, Team Collaboration) by many, there is a significant overlap in product capabilities. These messaging based products have had great success in penetrating the small teams segment and solve a real collaboration problem for them. Companies such as Slack, Cisco (Spark) and Unify (Circuit) continue to invest in their technology with a goal of expanding these products into Enterprise Platforms. I understand that these companies have realized some limited success with this approach. Part of the vendor enterprise product positioning story is a reduction in email for all users.

As I started following this vendor push to Enterprise-wide deployments, I questioned how this would work since all of the platforms I’ve researched are closed systems, without the ability to interoperate or federate with other messaging platforms. These walled gardens may allow for enhanced collaboration within an Enterprise, but make it challenging when communicating outside. Sure, an Enterprise can provide licenses to its partners, but that may result in many different applications required to communicate with all of their outside teams and clients. This is quite similar to the current situation for Smartphone communications apps. The ubiquity model of the PSTN and email via SMTP is just not there.

Enter Sameroom. They have engineered connectors called tubes that allow for the exchange of messages between some of the popular messaging platforms such as Slack, Spark and Skype for Business. As I understand it, they convert each unique message format from each of these platforms into a proprietary normalized format that allows for a translation. This approach should allow for new messaging platforms to be easily added over time.

I don’t know 8x8’s plan for marketing this unique service, but am encouraged that a technology has emerged to connect the so called dots of these disparate messaging platforms. I’m looking forward to further development in this space.


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