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Gabby Giles

Enterprise Connect 2018: Announcements, lessons learned and post-conference application

Fresh off the trade-show floor, we're sharing what we took away from Enterprise Connect, one of the industry's top conferences focused solely on the needs of key decision makers in enterprise communications and collaboration spaces. The show was jam-packed with exciting announcements, presentations, keynotes and access to the groundbreaking solutions that are molding our industry. We were thrilled to see emerging trends that will directly affect our markets-strong focuses on the customer experience, team collaboration and unified communications.

The Contact Center and the Customer Experience

Sometimes even the best minds need to be reminded that new available technologies, data and other trends are more than just buzzwords-they're powerful tools that can transform customer experience. The contact center was front and center at Enterprise Connect; they even had their own section on the show floor. Some of the notable attendees displaying contact center tech:

  • Amazon, who showed off their updated Chime and Connect features and interfaces. Connect is a self-service, cloud-based contact center service that is based on the same technology Amazon uses for its customer service. It's easy for non-technical users with no up-front payments. Chime is a usage-based UC meeting software that runs on the AWS cloud, which frees IT from deploying complex infrastructures. We're already looking forward to seeing more!
  • Avaya announced their Avaya Mobile Experience among many other UC product announcements. Mobile Experience turns Avaya into a toll-free provider lowering costs and improving customer service.
  • Zailab, a contact center software company used the event as the launch platform for introducing their cloud solution to the US. They stood out on the show floor by using a unique futuristic military vehicle as their booth. Guerrilla marketing at its best! It really got people talking and crated excitement around their product.

Team Collaboration

Working together is becoming easier thanks to innovative new platforms that connect to your colleagues and partners. Team workspaces are growing in value and we're seeing that integration between vendors is the next phase of the transition. One of the noticeable trends in team collaboration? Unique workspaces. Each team's desired collaboration landscape is different so the breadth of offerings is widening. There is no one-size solution. Our prediction for the future sees conferencing and collaboration solutions interoperating between suppliers. We saw familiar faces like Cisco, Facebook and Microsoft who shared their latest workspaces and news:

  • Cisco is investing in integration with Microsoft technologies and they shared how Cisco Spark could work with Skype for Business. They are also exploring operability with Teams. Cisco thinks of team collaboration as workflow-centric vs. messaging-centric.
  • Microsoft focused on Teams, a hub for teamwork in Office 365 with over 200k customers and their migration from Skype for Business. The Teams hub now finds itself at the center of its UC market strategy. It combines data from Office 365, Dynamics, and LinkedIn to create a visual depiction of user activity. No surprise, the hub won the Best of Enterprise Connect Award.
  • Facebook launched Workplace, an enterprise-focused team collaboration app. Over 30K organizations worldwide signed up to date. It's a familiar social model that employees already know how to operate.

Unified Communications and Collaboration

Unified communications took a top spot at Enterprise Connect, attendees gained insights that will propel strategic conversations around security and other pain points. We noticed an exciting trend in the space- it was the emerging platforms rather than the anchor brands creating the most buzz. Slack, Facebook and Amazon all gave keynote presentations. Other familiar faces were Mitel and Polycom.

  • Mitel, with such a large portfolio of acquisitions has the widest variety of call control platforms. Mitel debuted its rebranded, integrated portfolio of cloud and on-site solutions. Mitel CloudLink is also part of Mitel's IoT-enablement planning.
  • Polycom shared Trio (its fastest selling conference phone, announced last year) updates. Polycom has transitioned the tech from a conference room phone to *the* smart phone for meetings. It now supports Microsoft Teams, integrates with Amazon's Alexa and has the ability to be the control point of Zoom Rooms acting as an all in one speakerphone creating a frictionless collaboration experience. Also announced was a partnership with BlueJeans to work with their new meeting platform for the modern workplace. BlueJeans customers will now experience Polycom Trio sound quality!

Enterprise Connect was a fantastic continuation of conference season, we're already looking forward to seeing these trends, technologies and announcements take effect! For more information about Enterprise Connect and details for next year's show, visit their site here.