Windstream is gaining attention and being cited as a leading provider of cloud-based communications services to businesses.
Two global research and consulting firms, Gartner Inc. and IHS Markit, recently listed Windstream in reports that highlight top providers of unified communications as a service, known as UCaaS, which combines traditional business telephone service with chats and text messaging, videoconferencing, Web conferencing and other advanced services.
This is the first time Windstream has made either list.
Windstream was ranked as one of the top 10 unified communications service providers in the U.S. and Canada on the IHS scorecard. Scores are based on criteria such as market-share momentum, service development and support options.
Gartner lists Windstream in its Magic Quadrant report for UCaaS providers. There are four categories in the report: leaders, challengers, visionaries and niche players. Windstream is listed as a niche player, defined as a company narrowly focused on specific markets or vertical segments.
Just last month Windstream upgraded OfficeSuite, the Little Rock company's flagship UCaaS offering to businesses. The expanded product now can serve businesses with up to 20,000 employees; it previously was limited to providing service to enterprises with just a few thousand employees.
Scott Yelton, the senior director at Windstream who led the product expansion, said the company improved its competitive position and is now getting noticed by bigger companies.
"We're already seeing some traction with larger enterprise businesses with national names," Yelton said. "This is all about allowing us to expand into that space."
The cloud-based product was built by Windstream's software development team, which has locations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Canada. OfficeSuite has about 300,000 customers and is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
A WALMART TREAT
Relax, sit back on the couch and order the groceries you need to throw that Halloween party delivered right to your doorstep. Throw in some candy for the neighborhood kids. Maybe add some food for the pet.
Walmart is providing free home-grocery deliveries through Halloween with a minimum purchase of $50. Enter the code HOMEFREE at checkout, and Walmart will eliminate the standard $7.95/$9.95 delivery fee.
U.S. grocery e-commerce is the fastest-growing product category online, according to national research firm eMarketer. Food and beverage purchases online are projected to grow 18.2% this year to nearly $20 billion. EMarketer projects purchases will reach $38 billion by 2023.
Walmart is listed just behind Amazon as the site with the most grocery purchases.
LR TECH HAPPENINGS
Startups and early-stage companies have more time to apply to participate in the Little Rock Venture Center's ThinkTech Accelerator 2.0. The deadline for applications has been extended to Friday.
The accelerator is a partnership with the Independent Community Bankers of America. Ten companies will be selected to participate in the 12-week program, which is scheduled for Jan. 6-March 27.
ThinkTech is a community-bank-focused accelerator program that provides mentoring from financial technology experts and access to potential banking customers. Community banks provide 60% of all small-business loans and more than 80% of agricultural loans.
Later this week, the Little Rock Tech Fest takes place Thursday and Friday at the Statehouse Convention Center. The conference will feature 40 individual sessions covering software development, cybersecurity, information technology, artificial intelligence and blockchain, among others. Tickets are $125 or $75 for students and include lunch both days. Registration information is available at LRTechFest.com.
The Harrison Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold its first economic development leadership meeting Tuesday at the Durand Center. Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin will be the keynote speaker.
WestRock and Wabash National, two of Harrison's key industries, are co-sponsors of the event.
The meeting aims to demonstrate the economic and business development collaboration in Harrison and the Boone County region. Since January, the region has gained more than $30 million in new business and added 150-plus new full- and part-time jobs.
In addition to Griffin, scheduled guests include Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston, Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward, state Sens. Breanne Davis and Scott Flippo, and state Reps. Ron McNair, Jack Fortner and Keith Slape.
Just down the road from Harrison, the Greater Berryville Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual awards banquet from 6-8 p.m. Thursday in the Berryville Community Center. The featured speaker is former high school coach Tommy Tice, who spent five decades leading and coaching athletes in Arkansas and retired in 2016 with the second-most wins in state history. He is executive vice president of the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation.
Reservations information is available by calling the Berryville chamber at (870) 423-3704.
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Sunday Business on 10/06/2019