Unified communications, Content

Intermedia, NEC Expand UCaaS Partnership


Intermedia Cloud Communications and NEC continue to expand their UCaaS (unified communications as as service) partnership.

The latest milestone, involving work in Asia, arrives at a curious time for both companies. Indeed, the expanded partnership comes roughly six months after Intermedia postponed its IPO (initial public offering). It also surfaces as NEC explores the international market for potential acquisitions, according to Bloomberg.

Amid that backdrop, Intermedia has emerged as NEC's exclusive cloud communications partner. To build on that relationship, Intermedia has opened a Japan office, headed by former NEC executive and current Intermedia Japan President, Makoto Omi.

Intermedia and NEC Partnership: UCaaS Details

The new office will enable Intermedia to more closely support NEC customers as they shift from on-premises telecom systems to cloud-based UCaaS and contact center as a service (CCaaS) solutions, Intermedia asserted. The cloud solutions, powered by Intermedia, are sold under the NEC Univerge Blue  brand.

NEC Univerge Blue capabilities span voice; video conferencing; chat; file sync, share and backup; omnichannel contact center; and more, the company indicated. The service is already available in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, and Australia.

Intermedia, backed by private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners, had more 7,000 channel partners and 122,000 business customers as of December 2020, according to an SEC filing.

Intermedia Cancels IPO In Growing UCaaS Market

Intermedia announced an IPO plan on March 23, 2021 -- but then scrapped the IPO exactly one week later. At the time, Intermedia cited "adverse conditions" in financial markets. Still, it was a curious statement considering multiple technology companies -- from SentinelOne to UiPath -- have successfully planned and launched IPOs in 2021.

We'll be watching to see if Intermedia reconsiders a potential IPO -- or whether something deeper could be brewing with NEC.

No doubt, Intermedia competes in a growing market. Indeed, the global UCaaS market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.6 percent from 2021 to 2028 — reaching $210.07 billion by that time, Grand View Research predicts.

Amid that growth, M&A activity in the UCaaS market has been strong. Key investors and buyers include cloud, IT consulting, communications and private equity firms.

Still, the M&A activity and market growth may also trigger intensified competition. In many ways, giants like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex are moving toward UCaaS. Plus, companies such as 8×8Mitel and RingCentral loom large in the market. And firms such as BVoIP and Cytracom also engage MSPs.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.