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Collaboration, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work – UC Expo 2017 May 24, 2017

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UC Expo in London last week was the perfect opportunity to catch up on the latest industry news and trends, meet existing and new customers and experience new products and technologies. Kicking off with a keynote talk from Red Bull on how their Formula 1 racing team uses collaboration tools to maximise performance on the track, hot topics included the Future of Work (encompassing discussions on work/life balance and the role of Artificial Intelligence) and the increasing importance of collaboration technologies such as Cisco Spark.

Using contact centres as an example, Noam Fine of i.am+ discussed the applications of AI in improving efficiency, agent turnover and increasing customer satisfaction. Within 3 years 85% of interactions between customer and company will be without human contact; replacing auto-attendants with AI that can answer questions using contextual information from the current call or background knowledge (location, purchasing history etc.) provides both a smoother customer experience and more fulfilling working environment, as agents are assigned based on experience and subject matter knowledge. On a more disconcerting note Ben Hammersley, Applied Futurist, explored the ‘AI Apocalypse’ and how AI threatens to disrupt the current workspace by computerising aspects of high paying knowledge-jobs, such as contract proofing in the legal profession. Nonetheless, he did provoke some thought about the benefits a business orientated Amazon Alexa could bring to the office environment. This was particularly interesting as Andrew Maher (Avaya) had earlier mentioned his belief that contextually powered AI solutions would be key throughout 2017/18.

Collaboration technology was also discussed frequently over the two day event. Using figures from KMPG, Snorre Kjesbu (Cisco) argued that 82% of CEOs do not know whether their products would still be relevant in 3 years’ time. The speed and innovation required to stay abreast of the rapid changes faced today was demonstrated by Cisco Spark and its accompany Board, which allows for wireless presenting, white boarding and of course video/audio conferencing. A panel discussion featuring speakers from 8×8, GCI, AT&T and Mitel covered UC Cloud Communications, discussing for example how long customers should commit to cloud for (answers ranged from 36-60 months) and the bundling of desk phones. How this affects continuously falling UC pricing will be interesting as providers seek to offer better service between soft- and hardware and offer financing options for equipment.

We greatly enjoyed the expo and are looking forward to seeing what next year’s topics will cover. In the meantime, our biannual research period has just launched, meaning we will be meeting Service Providers across the UK and Europe gathering information for our upcoming European market reports. If you wish to purchase last year’s reports or find out more about the topics covered in this post, please contact dominic.black@cavellgroup.com or francisca.dinga@cavellgroup.com.

Update your Diary for the 9th of March! January 16, 2017

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European VoIP Summit 2017 – QEII Centre, London

The Service Providers event of the year is coming soon and tickets are selling fast! Here are 5 reasons you should book today and avoid disappointment:

1. Insightful Panel Discussions

Key Topics to be Explored:

  • Who will be the winners and losers following the ISDN/PSTN Switch Off?
  • Who will run the Communications Platform of the future?
  • What role do developers play in the future of communication?
  • Regulation: What is changing and how does this impact you?

 

2. Unmissable Presentations

Meet the Industry Leaders:

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3. Industry Keynotes on the State of the Market

Cavell’s respectable analysts will share their thoughts on the state of the market:
  • How to compete in the new communications landscape
  • Trends in the European VoIP Markets
  • What does the future of communications hold?

 

4. Excellent Networking & Opportunity to Share Experiences and Practices

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5. Special Offer

Bring your colleagues along! The Service Provider Pass includes 3 tickets for £300+VAT offering you 20% off each ticket when bought together.

Buy your ticket here

If you have any questions, please get in touch.
We look forward to seeing you on the 9th of March!

Many thanks to our Sponsors!

Gold Sponsors:

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Exhibition Sponsors:

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Genband Perspectives 2016: Contextual Communications, Disruptors, the Future of Service Providers, CPaaS and Kandy May 13, 2016

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David Walsh saw the rise of Contextual Communications being one of the drivers of increased communication. His belief that by enabling people to communicate with whatever device and through any application that they want will increase the level of communications between parties which will in turn facilitate collaboration and increased productivity.

XO, the largest SIP Trunking provider in the USA, gave a good example of this with their Contact Center solution which use the Kandy platform with WebRTC integrations to allow customers to contact them using any medium that they want, be it voice, email, IM or video. By giving customers the choice of communication, they are able to improve the customer experience and address the customers’ needs – a key priority for contact centres.

Disruptors are driving innovation as companies look for ways to stay relevant in their industry

Katrina Troughton says that IBM are seeing that business leaders are facing more challenges then ever before. With the lifespan of Fortune 500 companies dropping under 15 years due to disruption, CEOs are looking at ways that they can keep their employees engaged and stay relevant in today’s market. There is a big push for companies to innovate to survive but many find it difficult to do so as they don’t have the skills.

This is relevant to VoIP providers as an increasing homogenisation of products, where differentiation is around pricing and features, is becoming ubiquitous across the board. As the Service Providers have a great understanding of their customers, as they work with them on a daily basis and understand their challenges, they are in an unique position to be able to give them the tools to communicate and enable greater collaboration.

What will a Service Provider look like in the future?

The issue for Service Providers is that they have generally been poor at creating their own applications as they do not have the development skills to create solutions for their customers, as their focus is around providing a voice service, not enabling collaboration. Roy Timor-Russo of Genband thinks that Genband will be able to fill that role of adding value with their apps and knowledge of what has worked for other Service Providers in other markets and alongside the Service Providers core voice competency.

Genband see their position in the market is providing the platform for application developers to integrate their features into. As one of the first movers into the CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service), the Kandy platform was built to allow developers to build applications for Service Providers, Enterprises and Vendors to quicken the time to market. David Walsh highlighted in the press conference at the end of the first day the need for all members of the telecoms ecosystem to be able to ‘Fail Quick’ with new features and that long development times do not always translate into successful stories. 90% of applications built will not be a success but there needs to be an acceptance and understanding that failure will yield results.

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It is still unclear what role Service Providers will play in the future, whether they will simply be running dumb ‘pipes’ or their customer will be facing background, meaning that they are well positioned to understand their customers needs and build the solutions to fit certain business verticals. What will be interesting is whether there will be a demand for a basic VoIP/UC solution in the future and how Service Providers will be able to cope with an increasingly development driven approach.

Is Kandy going to be future?

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We have seen a number of CPaaS providers appear over the last few years and it is still not clear who will emerge as a success. What is interesting and will be a challenge for Genband going down the route of Kandy and CPaaS is how they will maintain revenues in the future as customers adopt a ‘Click to Consume’ model, choosing only the applications that are relevant to themselves. From a company that is used to selling large CAPEX solutions, making a move to tight margins on applications over a base price of $2/user/month may prove difficult in the short term. Genband have created a good story with the Kandy platform and it will be interesting to see how the CPaaS ecosystem progresses in the future.