RingCentral launches standalone conferencing platform to rival GoToMeeting, WebEx

The cloud comms provider says the new platform is a replacement for disjointed legacy meeting and messaging systems.

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Cloud-based business communications company RingCentral is looking to go head to head with WebEx and GoToMeeting with its own standalone conferencing and team collaboration product.

The product is called RingCentral Meetings, and according to the company, it integrates web meetings, video conferencing, and team messaging in a single product.

From a competitive standpoint, RingCentral's VP of product management, Jose Pastor, said the new platform is a replacement for disjointed legacy meeting and messaging systems, specifically WebEx and GoToMeeting.

RingCentral posits that most workers toggle between apps somewhere around 10 times per hour, which equates to up to 32 days lost in workplace productivity. The company also found through its own research that workers use an average of four communications apps, while 20 percent use six or more platforms.

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RingCentral is also eying the product as a way to onramp customers to its suite of cloud communications services via RingCentral Office.

"RingCentral Meetings will deliver a one-of-a-kind online meetings solution," said Pastor. "Many other solution providers just focus on video conferencing and screen sharing. That's important, but our secret sauce is adding team messaging and collaboration into the mix. This means users enjoy greater flexibility and a better experience without having to waste time toggling between different apps, resulting in a fully collaborative meetings experience."

RingCentral also announced Wednesday the launch of what it calls a collaborative contact center platform that integrates with its online team chat app Glip. The service uses intelligent bots to monitor for key contact center metrics and provide automated alerts and notifications to support staff, the company said.

Glip shares a few features with Slack and HipChat but encourages colleagues to communicate based on teams. Pastor said Glip has gained traction with freemium users and the company's installed base of RingCentral Office customers.

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"Specific to RingCentral Glip, users find that our integrated solution -- including team messaging, video meetings, file sharing, tasks, and telephony -- provides advantages over point solution alternatives," Pastor said. "We remain focused on unifying the foundational components of collaboration -- call, meet, chat, share -- to deliver a seamless and productive user experience."

Looking at the bigger picture regarding meetings and collaboration software, RingCentral is certainly on the right track picking up on worker frustration with an overabundance of workplace communication apps. What's unclear is how the problem will ultimately be solved. As ZDNet editor-in-chief Larry Dignan recently put it, "We're so busy "collaborating" that we're gumming up the real work processes."

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