AT&T and RingCentral will expand their partnership to increase the availability of the AT&T Office@Hand Platform, which combines voice communication, fax, and text messaging through one phone number.
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Office@Hand is built on the RingCentral Office VoIP solution, which lets business users integrate phone calls, meetings, and messages through a single interface. By collaborating with RingCentral, AT&T—which will sell Office@Hand through direct and indirect channels to companies in industries like financial services, health care, and government—lets users maintain the flexibility to communicate in any location.
With Office@Hand, AT&T aims to provide a one-stop shop for communication, including voice, video, conferencing, and team collaboration. The telco giant is looking to offer unified communication technology as part of an "edge-to-edge" strategy.
"Businesses of any size need connectivity and voice to improve their ability to compete," Mo Katibeh, Chief Marketing Officer for AT&T Business, said in a statement. "Working with RingCentral means we can deliver cloud communications and collaboration solutions to even more businesses to help their workforces be more productive, no matter where they are."
Although VoIP services have been slow to embrace the cloud, integration of services like AT&T Office@Hand and RingCentral provide the opportunity for greater unification of communication platforms.
"Enterprises want a unified communication system," Kira Makagon, RingCentral's Chief Innovation Officer, told PCMag. "It's OK to have Slack for your messaging, but it's not ultimately going to give you a full solution. There's a heavy lift to built an enterprise quality phone system and contact center. It's not a simple hop-over."
While Slack is a high-end work collaboration tool, RingCentral offers functionality for contact center agents, Makagon noted. Combining multiple tools like RingCentral Office and AT&T Office@Hand brings more complete tools for office chat, including video.
Enterprise voice capabilities are important because the way people work is changing, said Jose Pastor, RingCentral's SVP of Product. Integration between communications companies should help achieve the necessary level of quality. "It's a long journey to get to enterprise quality real-time," Pastor said.
Founded in 1999, RingCentral posted revenue of $161 million in the second quarter of 2018, an increase of 34 percent compared with the same period in 2017.