The Enterprise Connect Conference is one of Unified Communications (UC) major annual events and took place in Florida at the end of March. It is an opportunity to understand industry trends and for vendors to announce new technology.
This year’s event highlighted five key trends
- Evolution of the cloud.The cloud has been talked about for several years now. The value proposition of the cloud has revolved around being a cheaper, faster way of doing UC when compared to premises-based solutions. This continues but providers are now looking to create new ways of working and new experiences
- APIs. Everyone is talking about what can be done with their programming interfaces. Transitioning from telephony to UC has always meant integration, however vendors are looking to becoming more platform than product, enabling people to use more UC functions in more applications, more often. This does however mean increased complexity no matter how simple the vendors like to suggest it can be
- Team collaboration. These applications allow workgroups to communicate and collaborate. There are standalone applications like Slack that the UC vendors are competing with. Cisco has Spark, BroadSoft has Team-One, Mitel has MiTeam, ShoreTel has Teamwork and SameRoom, recently acquired by 8×8, federates these tools so a Slack user can send messages to Spark users, for example
- Physical meeting space. Over the past few years everyone has been creating newer and better virtual meeting spaces, however, a number of vendors are now also looking at improving the physical meeting space experience while bridging the virtual world. Microsoft’s Surface Hub and Cisco’s Spark Board are examples of these products. Logitech, Polycom, and many others also showed meeting room technology
- Digital customer experience. Now everything is about digital transformation. While there are many different digital initiatives, one that spans across industry or company size is the use of digital technologies to improve customer service. Changing the way businesses interact with customers requires more than an omnichannel contact centre. CRM, UC, artificial intelligence, and contextual information are all important, but none of that matters if the first touchpoint with the customer, the contact centre, is legacy and creates a bad experience. Cloud Contact Centre, or CCaaS, is a scalable, cost-effective way to deliver a true, rich omnichannel experience which many UC vendors now offer
Several vendors introduced new technology at Enterprise Connect around UC, mobility and collaboration:
- 8×8, the UC as a Service (UCaaS) specialist, unveiled a new cloud contact centre offering for workplace teams
- ShoreTel introduced their new real-time collaboration tool Teamwork aimed at empowering teams to work more efficiently on the go, as well as demonstrating Summit – their Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS)
- Genesys Telecommunications introduced and demonstrated a new combined platform portfolio of cloud and on-premise offerings for powering omnichannel customer experiences through its PureCloud, PureConnect and PureEngage products following their acquisition of Interactive Intelligence
- Amazon introduced its virtual contact centre, Amazon Connect, a self-service contact centre solution designed to get call centres up and running quickly
One thing is for sure. This market will continue to evolve and new players will disrupt. With players like Amazon entering into the space they believe it validates the large market opportunity. It is exciting to watch this global market but how much will make it to deliver value to New Zealand organisations?
TeleConsultants work with many clients to evaluate the global market and how they can leverage the value from these vendor portfolios through local service providers. If you are looking to embrace the new UC and digital world we live in we are keen to help.