A shift is going on in the enterprise communications industry. On one level, we all know this, and we think we have a pretty good sense of what it comprises: Communications, like many IT functions, is moving to the cloud; end users are demanding new tools for collaborating with colleagues, partners, and customers; and futuristic technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) are showing practical application when integrated with communications systems, especially in the contact center.
But the shift is more than just about technology. It’s also about the change in how end users want to communicate, and the environments in which they do their communicating. Enterprise communications teams have to be responsive to this changing world of work.
The companies represented as this year’s Best of Enterprise Connect finalists have done some innovative thinking about what communications systems need to do to actually help people, well, communicate. Cisco and Polycom landed in the finals thanks to products that aim to improve the meeting room experience, which is also a key element of Microsoft’s vision around Teams, another finalist. We know that meeting rooms are a key area of focus for enterprises seeking to upgrade their communications to fit emerging work styles and patterns.
Another finalist, Plantronics, is basically trying to fix the rest of the office, or least make it a bit more habitable. These days, any space that’s not a conference room is probably an open floor plan free-for-all reminiscent of the office where Jack Lemmon toiled away in The Apartment. Plantronics is trying to use its renowned audio endpoint technology to make that environment a little more bearable. Finally, TTEC (formerly TeleTech) and Oracle made the Best of EC cut for products that aim to improve customers’ interactions with the enterprise, focusing on omnichannel experiences.
These are just the half-dozen companies that made the Best of EC finals; I can guarantee that you’ll see products throughout the EC18 show floor that you could never have imagined our industry producing just a couple of years ago.
Everyone’s usually massively busy at Enterprise Connect, with more appointments, meetings, and sessions to attend than you can comfortably squeeze into three and a half days. Still, I hope most of our attendees get at least a little bit of time to just wander the floor, visit your old favorites, check out companies you don’t know, view some products and demos that seem interesting.
And of course our Conference program also has a strong focus on what’s new, particularly in our Communications & Collaboration 2021 conference-within-a-conference. As the name suggests, this daylong program, set for Monday, March 12, will help you think about where the industry will be three years out, and how that may affect your planning today. In three years, what’s new today might be, if not mainstream, at least a mature product.
So I hope you’re planning to come down to Orlando the week of March 12 to join us at Enterprise Connect. Now’s a great time to register, with our Early Bird discount expiring Friday, Feb. 16. It’s going to be a terrific event.