Anyone who's anyone in the unified communications and collaboration (UCC) world has Enterprise Connect on their radar each year.
For more than 28 years, it’s been the leading conference and exhibition for enterprise UCC, bringing together IT decision makers, vendors, analysts and consultants to focus on the issues central to enterprise networks and communications. There are always great insights that come out of the event that help frame priorities and discussions for the year to come.
IR’s Richard Smith (Global Microsoft Alliance Director) and Dave Murphy (Global UC Alliance Director) attended this year’s event in Orlando from 18-21 March. They share some of the key themes and takeaways that they found most interesting.
Richard: The "experience"
I was very pleased to find that the importance of providing a successful, positive end-user experience was a key theme throughout much of this year’s event – because this is one of our key focuses at IR. We already know that the customer and employee experience can have a massive impact on the success (or failure) of an organizations UCC implementation. Much of the focus of this year's event was around how we can enable a better experience with a multitude of new devices and meeting room solutions – all of which benefit from the use of performance management solutions.
Dave: AI and analytics
These concepts have been around for a while in some abstract form or another. But this year the evolution and application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and analytics were front and center, namely, how can we leverage them to improve the customer experience? The future of AI and how it will impact UCC and the wider world is still largely unknown. But more and more organizations are using these evolving technologies to collect data over time to understand what their customers want, how they interact with their products and help them make better business decisions and answer questions faster.
Richard: Microsoft unveils new Teams capabilities
As one Analyst put it “Microsoft is killing it with Teams.” And he’s not wrong, there’s a reason they took out the Best Of Enterprise Connect award for the second year in a row.
According to Microsoft, there are now 500,000 organizations using Microsoft Teams – a massive jump from the 200,000 organizations a year ago. Part of the reason for their continued growth in such a crowded market space is their commitment to innovate and upgrade. At this year's event they announced a host of new features like secure private chat channels, live real-time captions to make your meetings more accessible for hearing impaired users, customized video call backgrounds, Active Video Gallery capacity increased to 9 people, and a bunch of updates to compatible apps and integrations.
If your organization is considering Microsoft Teams, take a look at our webinar series: The Journey to Microsoft Teams
Dave: More flexibility with Cisco
I was really excited to finally hear Cisco launch the long-anticipated Webex Calling service powered by BroadCloud. It will be offered primarily by Cisco VAR channel partners under the Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan, and will be available in 35 countries and 7 languages by the end of 2019.
This new offering means that Cisco VAR channel partners will be able to cloud offerings faster and without the requirement for complex and costly infrastructure or systems integration. It also means that larger businesses will have more flexibility to gradually migrate their UC to the cloud.
If you attended Enterprise Connect 2019, we’d love to hear about your experience. Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.