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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.

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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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“I want to be the platform”,  “No, I want to be the platform”… “Who is going to be the Communications Platform of the future?” May 11, 2016

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In a week, when Vonage USA spends $230m on Nexmo, a Communication Platform business that most of you will not have heard of, and when a traditional communication hardware provider like Genband spends a large proportion of its annual conference talking about its own “Kandy” Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) platform, many Service Providers will be wondering what is all the fuss about.

Well, it’s simple: Service Providers, Vendors, System Integrators and Developers are all trying to work out what their role is going to be in this new world of communications and they may as well have to fight for their very future and relevance.

Where the battle is going to be won and lost is by making communications relevant and in context of customers and consumers’ current and future working patterns, and help revolutionize business process or disrupt markets with new models of working. This is going to require many to have the capability and ability to move quickly and agilely whilst maintaining low costs in serving these requirements.

Gone are the days when it was about UC and Providers being proud that they have packed a whole load of irrelevant features into their UC client or equipment, often provided by slow moving vendors.

The future is about providing a platform that people can integrate and develop on, to jointly solve both specific and generic customer problems. This development may be done by the Platform provider or by enabling developers externally to access the platform and develop their own solutions on top.

Not surprisingly traditional ecosystems are also being reinvented with people realizing the majority of the value will be in providing the platform. Traditional Vendors are pitching themselves against their Service Provider customers, and System Integrators are realizing that they might own the key to accessing the development resources. Within this melee, new providers such as Twillio and Nexmo have filled this void, offering developers with a global platform on which they can develop.

At the recent Genband Conference we started to hear the Service Provider angle with CenturyLink describing how they are looking to build such a platform, which will bring them the benefit of quick and agile product development for their own customers. They will be able to go to a 2 or 3 developers with a brief of their requirements and potentially get custom differentiated apps developed cheaper and quicker than previous models.

It’s not all over for the Service providers as a couple of key questions are still to be answered in many cases:

  • Who has the ability to: sell, assure, bill and deliver these applications?
  • Who either has their own development resources or controls access to these resources?
  • Who can provide a truly global or regional capability for customer?
  • Who can translate customer business requirements into real life solutions?
  • Who has the ability to potentially integrate to multiple platforms for a customer?

In up coming posts and research we are exploring these questions further, and we are already running strategy sessions with Service Providers to answer these questions.

For more details please contact: Matthew.Townend@cavellgroup.com or Dominic.Black@cavellgroup.com.

The European VoIP Summit 2016 was a great success! March 9, 2016

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1On Tuesday, the 1st of March, The Cavell Group hosted the second European VoIP Summit, where over 200 attendees from over 60 VoIP service providers gathered in central London to address the opportunities and challenges the industry is facing and explore what to expect from the future of voice communications.

As with the range of topics, we also had a range of opinions with speakers from all key VoIP providers in Europe joining us, such as BT, Blueface, 6 Degrees, Vonage, TalkTalk Business, NFON, Liberty Global, Gamma, Voxbone, Siphon, Destiny, 8×8 and many others, as well as Vendors such as Yealink, Broadsoft and Genband who were our Gold Sponsors

 
Although much of the day was focused around how the industry is currently operating, a lot of focus was put on what the future of VoIP and SIP Trunking will look like. The industry believes a ‘disruptor’ might appear, like what messaging has seen with WhatsApp, which will enter the market and take significant market share.

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A very interesting discussion around WebRTC and Applications with viewpoints from Vendors, Service Providers and developers showed that it might not be the Service Providers developing the applications themselves, but instead they will allow developers to work with them to provide vertical solutions for their customers. WebRTC looks like it is starting to become that enabler for services in the future as communications move onto the web and away from the traditional end-point. Whether Service Providers will be able to charge for minutes in the future was again a hot discussion point.

We had a very interesting talk from Matthew McDermott and Mark Swarbrick on the state of regulation across Europe, followed by Cavell’s newest partner Q Advisors who gave a background on the M&A work they have been doing around the world.

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With Matt Townend’s closing remarks and networking drinks we concluded this year’s event was a great success! Our aim was to bring together VoIP service providers and create an opportunity to discuss current and future market aspects in a friendly and open networking environment. We believe our diverse group of speakers and panellists provided different points of views, at times even conflicting, thus enabling you to understand the bigger picture of the European setting.

We are happy to say we have received many positive comments and your feedback truly reflects the atmosphere everyone experienced. We are very thankful for your participation and we hope to see you at our events again! Last, but certainly not least, a big thank you to our Gold Sponsors: Broadsoft, Genband, and Yealink, and to our silver sponsors: AudioCodes, MDS Amiba, Mitel, Polycom, ProVu, RingCentral, Siphon, and Vanilla IP for their amazing support!