I had the opportunity to attend and participate in the Cloud Communications Alliance (CCA) Cloud Connections 2023 event in Ft. Lauderdale recently. The Cloud Communications Alliance (an association dedicated to the growth of the cloud communications industry, providing the forum for industry leaders to discuss key topics and advance their goals) puts on the premiere event for UC service providers, creating opportunities for learning, sharing, and networking.
Aimed at service providers and carriers, the day-and-a-half event was filled with sessions on how to succeed in the UC/UCaaS space. Sessions ranged from an opening keynote by the infamous Michael Tessler on “Cloud Communications at a Crossroad,” to “Positioning Your Company for M&A Opportunities,” to a social media tutorial by Evan Kirstel. My favorite session was “The Future of Innovation,” by Futurist Thomas Frey (you can view the livestream here).
Michael Tessler, co-founder and CEO of BroadSoft, currently Managing Partner at True North Advisory, shared his top five UCaaS market observations:
- The UCaaS market now includes the “big kids” such as Microsoft, Zoom, and others
- Full suite solutions are now available and expected
- Remote work is changing everything
- “It’s mobile stupid”
- There are no more greenfields
Today’s market features more competition, high penetration rates, and lowering prices, creating challenges for UC service providers.
Tessler provided great insights to the audience about various ways to succeed, including:
- Become a next-generation SP
- Hyper focus on a vertical
- Focus on customer experience
- Squeeze more value by working with emerging tech companies that add value
One of the highlights of the event was the CPaaS Showcase and Contest, where several CPaaS providers demonstrated interesting real-world use cases for CPaaS.
Broadsource demonstrated a CPaaS security and PCi compliance application, Radisys demonstrated real-time language spoken translation that can be used by Uber drivers, healthcare workers, travel agents, etc., while Vonage demonstrated real-time translation for the contact center with real-time automated voice interpretations and transcription.
Other sessions included “Positioning Your Company for M&A Opportunities, “Go to Market to Win: How to Win in Our New Market Realities,” “Shaping Policies for Competition, Innovation and the Public Good,” sessions from Akixi and Zoom, “Service Providers' Reactions to Collaboration Competition,” “Winning in the Hybrid Workplace,” and an insightful presentation from Art Schoeller on “Microsoft – Swim with the Shark or Look for Safer Waters,” on how service providers can thrive in a Microsoft-dominated environment.
Dave Michels led several sessions, including moderating a panel with the leading platform players 2600hz, Alianza, Cisco (Broadsoft), and Microsoft (Metaswitch) – as well as a panel on CCaaS with myself, Elka Popova, Art Schoeller, and Matt Townend. Dave also gave a presentation with Elka on the Gartner UCaaS Magic Quadrant and the Frost & Sullivan UCaaS Radar report. His most interesting presentation was on Mobility – the Next Big Wave in UCaaS, where he explains the history and future of UC mobility, and describes UC Mobility 3.0.
At the event I had a chance to speak with Dave about his sessions.
I also had the opportunity to speak with Clark Peterson, Chairman of the CCA, about the event and the key highlights. Clark discusses the theme of the event – Cloud Communications at a Crossroad, and the strategic decisions SPs need to consider.
All in all, it was a great event with lots of information to help service providers navigate this increasingly competitive market, while looking to the future. As noted throughout the event, the UC market has entered a mature phase, and service providers with the right strategies and offerings can continue to succeed.