Enterprise Connect 2024—A Whirlwind of AI and More

2 Apr 2024

Enterprise Connect has come and gone, and once again, it was a whirlwind of information, networking, and non-stop meetings. During the 3 ½ days when I called the Orlando Gaylord Hotel my home, I had:

  • 25 1:1 vendor briefings
  • 13 vendor dinner/evening receptions + 2 breakfast meetings
  • 2 onstage speaking sessions
  • 15 minutes outside in fresh air

As an industry analyst, most of my time was spent in meetings with many of the various vendors attending the event. If there were more hours in the day, I would have had even more meetings, as so many key UC, collaboration, and contact center/CX vendors attend this show. I barely had time to walk around the expo hall to see the many exhibitors. (Note to PR professionals: meeting invites to analysts usually start going out in January and February, so don’t wait until the week before the conference to send out a meeting request.)

In addition to the meetings, I moderated a session on UC Plus CC: Making the Integration—And Realizing Its Benefits, with panelists from Bandwidth, Cisco, RingCentral, and Vonage. The key message was that customers have found many benefits of having a single solution for UC and contact center, going beyond the obvious benefit of dealing with one vendor, one bill, and “one hand to shake or back to pat.” Businesses can share data across the organization, expand customer care and customer experience responsibilities beyond the walls of the contact center, and much more. I’ll continue to write about this important topic, especially as more and more UC vendors add contact center capabilities, and as contact center vendors add UC capabilities.

I also participated in the final Locknote session, where a group of independent analysts and consultants shared our insights on all-things AI. We discussed the growing benefits of AI and generative AI throughout the organization, with most of us agreeing that while the contact center is the most obvious and appropriate starting point for AI in many organizations, businesses are also benefiting from AI-based meeting summarizations, and other capabilities aimed at general knowledge workers. I pointed out the importance of user adoption and training in order to help organizations get the most out of their AI deployments, and expect to see this topic get increased attention in the coming year.

AI’s Dominates the Discussion

There’s no doubt that AI dominated the event—from keynotes, to sessions, to exhibit hall demos, it was all about AI and generative AI. Most of the keynotes featured discussions and demos of the latest and greatest AI capabilities, including Zoom’s new AI-powered Workplace and GenAI Assistant, RingCentral’s newly-branded RingEX (Employee Experience) that is infused with its RingSense AI, Microsoft Copilot's meeting recaps feature expanded to VoIP and PSTN calls, and Cisco’s use of AI to identify and assist “stressed-out” agents, as well as the ability to detect a dropped or interrupted calls/interaction and provide an interaction summary to the next agent when the customer calls back.

Updates and Announcements

Enterprise Connect is the place where many vendors make important product announcements. Here’s just a small sampling of the many announcements or vendor updates:

  • AudioCodes announced that its Voca Conversational Interaction Center (Voca CIC) now provides omnichannel contact center capabilities for Microsoft Teams, adding email and webchat to the existing voice experience. As an AI-first Azure native contact center, with built-in conversational AI, Voca CIC offers a one-screen contact center for Microsoft Teams. With the new omnichannel capabilities, Voca CIC offers an agent status bar with individual channel-specific availability, providing flexibility for agents and supervisors to manage their availability across multiple digital channels. Voca CIC can automatically push digital customer interactions to agents based on availability status by channel and maximum capacity.
  • Mitel provided an update on the aligned Mitel and Unify product portfolio and roadmaps, as well as the company’s renewed focus on contact center/CX, and its deep vertical integrations to support frontline workers. Mitel also updated its integrated UC/CC experience to integrate internal/external communication and expansion of vertical integrations to CX. On the AI and GenAI front, Mitel discussed packaged solutions defined around Mitel and partner AI offerings that are delivered via services with fixed pricing. Also, Mitel discussed its hybrid offering for AI, noting that not all the AI processing can be done in the UCaaS cloud and that a hybrid approach enabling edge capabilities is needed.
  • Intermedia launched Intermedia Healthcare Solutions, which infuses AI technology across patient communications, internal collaboration tools, and data analytics, to help healthcare providers streamline their operations. Going beyond the basic integrations with electronic health records (EHR) solutions that most vendors provide, Intermedia integrates voice calls with EHR solutions for quick patient verification and record retrieval, connects the EHR to the caller, and provides the medical staff with a curated dashboard with all the necessary patient information. The solution uses the EHR data for routing multichannel communication, and supports proactive outbound communications via voice, SMS, and video conferencing for appointment reminders, billing notifications, and prescription refills.
  • Five9 announced GenAI Studio which allows organizations to take general purpose, off-the-shelf GenAI models, such as OpenAI, and customize them for the contact center in “just a few clicks.” Using GenAI Studio’s low-code, no-code Generative AI model and prompt management hub, customers can create, deploy, and test Generative AI prompts based on business-specific, contextual data. By adding their own unique data to off-the-shelf models, customers can get more customization, control, flexibility, and responsible AI.
  • Talkdesk introduced its GenAI-powered virtual agent, Talkdesk Autopilot, for specific industries, including healthcare, banking, and retail. Talkdesk also introduced Ascend Connect, a suite of GenAI-powered CX applications that integrate with third-party on-premises contact centers. For example, Talkdesk Autopilot, Talkdesk Copilot, Talkdesk Interaction Analytics, and Talkdesk AI Trainer can be used by customers with on-premises contact centers, enabling them to take advantage of AI technologies without having to move their contact centers to the cloud. Ascend Connect uses a no-code interface that makes it easier to deploy, customize, and maintain GenAI models through simple drag-and-drop tools.
  • Zoom announced Zoom Workplace, an AI-powered collaboration platform providing a single workspace to access Zoom’s workplace tools. It adds an updated user interface, including customized virtual meeting backgrounds. Zoom One bundles will be rebranded as Zoom Workplace bundles. In addition, Zoom introduced AI Companion for Zoom Phone, which can now prioritize voice mails and extract tasks from voice mails. Zoom also introduced “Ask AI Companion,” a new way to interact with AI across the Zoom platform, and get help with tasks like meeting prep, creating a meeting agenda, creating a brief for a project, etc.
  • Avaya and Zoom announced a new partnership with Zoom, enabling Zoom Workplace to run natively inside Avaya's Communications and Collaboration suite to provide customers with a streamlined way to manage their communications environments and workflows. Existing Avaya customers can benefit from Zoom Workplace while retaining their Avaya solutions. Additionally, Avaya simplified its naming and rebranded its solutions as part of the Avaya Communication and Collaboration Suite. The new product names under the Avaya Experience Platform are:
    • Avaya Experience Platform (AXP) On-Prem (formerly Avaya Call Center Elite)
    • Avaya Experience Platform (AXP) Private Cloud (formerly Avaya Enterprise Cloud)
    • Avaya Experience Platform (AXP) Public Cloud (formerly Avaya Experience Platform CCaaS)
  • Verint introduced a TimeFlex Bot, enabling agents to autonomously adjust their Verint Workforce Management schedules in real time, giving them more flexibility. The Verint TimeFlex Bot makes it easy for agents to automate shift swap, split shifts and schedule changes by using AI and gamification to match the agent’s preferences and needs with the company’s scheduling and forecasting priorities.

Due to the sheer number of meetings I participated in, it’s impossible to share insights from all of them. Instead, I did a number of video interviews highlighting the vendors’ announcements or key messages at the event. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do videos with all of the vendors I met with, either due to time challenges or my simply being overwhelmed and/or forgetful. Apologies in advance to those I wasn’t able to capture in a video interview.

Here are the video interviews in company alphabetical order.

Pasquale DeMaio, AWS

Zach Taylor, Cisco 

Alan Ranger – Cognigy

Fabrice Della Mea, Ross Thelen, and Mike Kane of DialPad 

David Evans, GoTo

Megan Smulders and Lauren Sanderson, Humanfirst

Julie Scarpella-Coet and Dalton Curry, Lumen

Jim Nystrom and Edwin Margulies, Nextiva

Michele Carlson, NICE

Andy Traba, NICE

Mazy Dar, OpenFin

Ryan Nichols, Salesforce  

As you can see, there’s certainly A LOT going on in the unified communications and contact center/CX worlds, with more on the horizon. While AI/generative AI was a HUGE part of the story, it wasn’t the only story. It will be an interesting year as organizations delve into the ins and outs of AI, identifying how, when, and where to deploy the AI solutions, and figuring out how to get the most from their AI investments. The business communications world today is very different from even just a year ago, as we’re now living in “AI time,” where things move more quickly. It will be interesting to see what’s changed and what’s stayed the same at next year’s Enterprise Connect – can’t wait!


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