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As I noted on No Jitter this week, the big story in this year’s Best of Enterprise Connect Award program is clearly AI, with the lion’s share of our finalists relying on AI as the basis of their innovations. But in addition to our Overall award, we recognize innovations in four specific categories of communications technology, one of which is “Best Application of AI.” And the results here may have been even more intriguing.

To date, the biggest impact of AI in enterprise communications has been in the contact center, where AI’s benefits have been quickest to be productized, and where the resulting improvements are most straightforward to justify from an ROI perspective. Yet two of the three finalists for our Best Application of AI Award entered products that focus not on contact centers, but on video systems.

Pexip, whose Adaptive Composition product is a finalist here and made the Overall finalist list, is using AI to improve the videoconferencing experience. Pexip describes the product as offering “real-time face detection, auto-framing, and optimized use of screen real estate; [and] works with any camera-enabled device.”

The next frontier in video is making room-based videoconferences less annoying for participants, and AI is the only practical way to do this. You can’t send a human camera operator to every conference room to zoom in on the speaker; you can’t afford to have a producer in a control room dropping lower thirds onto the screen to identify that speaker. The only way to do it at scale is with AI.

The other factor that’s likely to become more critical as video deployments increase is compliance. If business is being done over videoconferences, that video is likely to be subject to requirements around regulation and legal discovery. And given how much data a videoconference contains (and represents), the only practical way to meet the new compliance needs will be with AI-driven transcription and search.

That’s where Theta Lake comes in. Our Best in EC judges chose Theta Lake as a finalist in the AI category for its Compliant Collaboration Archive, a new module within its Compliance Suite. The product focuses on “record keeping, archiving, and eDiscovery requirements for video, audio, and collaboration chat,” according to the company.

I’ve written before that AI is likely to be most valuable in those situations where it’s least cool-looking. The idea of chatbots has entered popular culture, but on a recent Enterprise Connect webinar, a quick poll found that more audience members believe the biggest benefit of contact center AI will be in getting agents real-time context-based knowledge rather than deploying chatbots/intelligent virtual assistants.

The same looks like it will be true in video: The best (or at least the first) way to use AI is to assign it all the jobs that are too boring and repetitive, or at least too rote, for humans to do at scale. AI becomes a force multiplier in these scenarios, something that supercharges a technology.

We’re excited about showing off all the Best of Enterprise Connect Award finalists on our exhibit floor in Orlando next month, alongside all the other great products and services that our 200+ exhibitors will be displaying. And because it’s always critical to get an impartial analysis of what the vendors are doing, we’ll of course be running our amazing Enterprise Connect conference program, featuring 10 tracks of content including Practical AI, Video Collaboration & A/V, Contact Center & Customer Experience, and much more. If you need to understand the enterprise communications/collaboration industry and where it’s headed, you need to be there.

Eric Krapf
GM & Program Co-Chair Enterprise Connect & WorkSpace Connect
Publisher, No Jitter

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