My Business Communications Summit Takeaways
"UC" has finally grown up to become more than person-to-person communications, and is now "BC" to include business process applications that will interact and communicate with people. This shift was formally evidenced by the recent BC Summit in La Jolla, where there were many new sponsors from other leading technology providers, rather than just traditional voice telephony vendors.
As highlighted by my UC Strategies colleague, Jon Arnold, three key changes included:
UC Summit becoming the BC Summit
Cloud (IP Network) software-based communication service offerings
Less dependency on voice-only, wired desktop telephones, PBXs, or the PSTN
I found other interesting takeways, including some of the new types of vendors, large and small, who sponsored the event. These included:
These were in addition to more familiar UC Summit communication sponsors such as:
The fact that the new sponsors reflect more than just voice telephony is an indication of how business communications are expanding beyond person-to-person contacts and becoming more multimodal and interoperable.
Most of the vendors have started to deal with the need to support mobile devices for business contacts, Mitel in particular, although the challenge of supporting BYOD was not well covered. Some vendors have also started to address the need for "dual persona" mobile device management, but, again, its still a work in progress.
Contact Centers (Customer services)
I noticed that most of the business communication vendor presentations have started to emphasize customer interactions, rather than just "collaboration" and conferencing between internal organizational staff members. This trend is consistent with the recent workforce survey report by Forrester's Art Schoeller, that showed that 64% of business workforces communicate with customers, business partners, and colleagues.
The need for extending customer service access is becoming particularly important as mobile consumers start accessing live assistance from embedded "click-for-assistance" APIs within online mobile apps, using the likes of WebRTC for real-time contact over the Internet, rather than initiating a legacy phone call over the PSTN.
My colleague, Kevin Kieller, and I gave a presentaton on the subject of Communications Enabled Business Processing, where we highlighted the fact that mobile consumers can now be more accessible for more timely automated business process notifications and responses. Unfortunately, we didn't hear much about CEBP from the business communications technology vendors (yet), who seem to be focused on person-to-person contacts, but expect to see more in the near future.
Although Microsoft supports deferated presence status within the same organization, there is still a need to provide federation services between different organizations. NextPlane, who was not at the Summit, is a third-party service provider for such services.
Where Were The Carriers?
I have long expected to see the major wireless carriers come to the Summit with service offerings for business communication functions to business organizations in conjunction with their mobile device offerings to BYOD subcribers. Although we are seeing AT&T, Verizon, BT, etc. starting to offer such services, including "dual persona" mobile device support, they missed the boat in not addressing the Summit's audience of consultants and Sis. (Maybe next year?)
I expect to see other takeways from the BC Summit posted by my colleagues, so stay tuned for more!