Enterprise Connect 2018 happened last week, and, as always, there were interesting trends and new topics that emerged as important for organizations to consider in their strategy and vendor choices. These topics and disruptions show how the industry is changing. First though, while hot new technologies dominated the headlines, the reality is that organizations have to deal with the reality of their requirements and their current implementations. Brent Kelly and I did the Cisco/Microsoft comparison session (as we have for the last five years).
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
I just returned from a quick trip to New Hampshire for a client engagement. Three or four weeks ago my client booked a hotel room on my behalf and I received an email confirmation from the Crowne Plaza. I went to put it on my calendar, and found that my Big Brother had already read my email and entered it for me. Aha! I thought. This time Brother Google made a mistake. Brother Google got the dates right, but he noted I was staying at the DoubleTree.
Turns out Brother was right. A week before my arrival the hotel changed ownership.
8x8, Inc. has announced the acquisition of MarianaIQ, a startup focused on AI and deep learning. With this acquisition, 8x8 can add MarianaIQ’s deep learning capabilities to its X-Series, bringing new key Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities to its enterprise communications line.
Five9, a provider of cloud contact communication software, has announced the Five9 Spring Release 2018. With this new release come new enhancements to its portfolio, bringing artificial intelligence (AI) to contact centers.
The key elements to the Spring Release 2018 are in Five9 Genius and Engagement Workflow. However, the Spring Release also includes enhancements for the rest of Five9’s portfolio, including extending the open platform, a multi-role performance dashboard, and a new Supervisor console.
In the rush to embrace convenience and lower operational costs, voice quality often gets the short end of the stick. Cellular service and voice over IP (VoIP) are two examples where individuals and businesses have, at first, been willing to accept dropped calls and compromises in audio in exchange for mobility, more features, and smaller bills. But savings and benefits are fleeting if customers are alienated and next-generation voice services are hamstrung because they don’t deliver reliable and differentiated services that please customers.
If you happen to be in the London area on May 16-17, be sure to attend UC Expo, the largest Unified Communications and Collaboration event in Europe. The theme of the two-day conference is Smarter Collaboration, featuring a range of keynote presenters, as well as panels and discussions on collaboration, AI, cloud, security, and more.
I often write recaps of industry events, and I have first impressions to share for Enterprise Connect in two regards. First, I’m getting my thoughts organized while they’re fresh and the buzz is still strong, but also because this was my first time attending the event. Most of my BCStrategies colleagues have been going for years, so I’m seeing Enterprise Connect with fresh eyes.