Trade show season is a valuable time for IT/ Comms professionals to educate themselves on the trends in the market and options for their organizations, as well as reconnect with their primary vendors. Attendance was strong and interest in Unify stronger. It’s also a time for vendors like Unify to connect to the market in real time.
Tolstoy, without ever having experienced Enterprise Connect or CeBIT, wrote in Anna Karenina, “Spring is the time of plans and projects.” March 2016 was no different and here are my takeaways.
Long Live Team Collaboration
A couple of years ago, the WebRTC track was standing-room-only at Enterprise Connect. While there were WebRTC sessions this year, the bloom was off the rose. Instead, vendors were talking about Team Collaboration applications like Circuit – some launching, many TBD. You see, protocols don’t hold users’ attention long if there isn’t a meaningful application to harness them.
The bookend to team collaboration is universal, connected video with multiple vendors touting new and better ways for disparate systems to communicate. “This will be the year for video” is the claim that never dies nor so far, comes true.
Contact Center Remains Hot
Not only are contact center agent licenses more profitable for vendors, they’re more and more valuable to organizations. “Customer journey” has been a message in the market for many years under various guises. The crux being that all prior transactions should be available to the contact center agent. Customer journey adds to that by adding onmichannel search and intelligence that analyzes recent contacts to give probability to why a customer is calling “now.”
Aside from customer journey, having an omnichannel contact center capable of handling the myriad of channels utilized by consumers today is critical. Some long-time contact center leaders are faltering while others are thriving due to their ability to compete in the omnichannel arena.
Cloud contact center is viewed by many as a key application for its ability to grow and shrink at will and it’s less-complex OPEX model. My only caution is to count those 9s…is it two, three, four or five?
Cloud is Stabilizing
“Cloud” has been like any number of industry buzzwords, meaning all things to all people – some seeming to believe the steam rising from their coffee is a “cloud.” What we’re seeing now is maturing of the definition of “cloud.” True, we’ve had public and private clouds but it’s the underlying technology that’s being redefined now. Customers and vendors are understanding that just chucking a single-tenant CPE application into a 3rd-party data center isn’t really cloud, it’s just amortizing the same asset in a different way.
PaaS gets Mainstream
There’s been an “aaS” in the market for several years. This year PaaS has hit the buzzfeed with various stand-alone and traditional UC vendors launching or discussing their goals for PaaS. To me, PaaS is like Middleware 2.0. Both offer the orchestration components (e.g. APIs) to synchronize disparate applications within a solution ecosystem.
While trade shows have elaborate booths (or stands in Europe), the real heavy lifting happens out of sight in whisper suites, private functions and the 1980s cliché, lunch. Amongst the larger vendors, there were more staff operating behind the veil than in the booth.
So those are my 5 key takeways……..do you agree? Please use the comment section at the end of the blog…