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

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
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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.

UC Expo: Millennials, Collisions & Video April 28, 2016

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Last week at Olympia London we saw many vendors repeat the same messages as they addressed the impact of millennials on the workforce, digitisation and video. Cisco highlighted the importance of using collaboration tools to create ‘collisions’ in the workforce – we understand the point they were trying to make but the term is often perceived with negative connotations, particularly in the insurance industry!

Microsoft’s put significant effort into the event with a big presence on various stages and in the exhibition space. They are now strongly positioning themselves in the UC space and Cavell believes that their success will continue in the coming years, especially in Large Enterprises. Microsoft also demonstrated their Cloud PBX for the first time in the UK which allows users to run Skype for Business services in Office 365. Handset manufacturer Yealink were also showcasing their Skype for Business integrations with their new range of handsets.

What Cavell are seeing more and more of is vendors driving innovation by encouraging developers to develop on their platform. We are interested to see how this plays out in the future as all major vendors, including Broadsoft, Genband, Cisco, Microsoft, are undertaking various Hackathons. Cisco’s announcement in March shows their commitment to having external developers use their platform as they hope their Spark Innovation Fund of $150m dollars will drive development.

“Disrupt or be disrupted.” – Marianne Calder, Cisco opening keynote, UC Expo 2016

Cavell will looking in-depth in the next few months of what how the relationship between Service Providers, Vendors and Developers will change in the future as this is an area where there is some really interesting changes that we think will impact the Voice market in the future.

Cavell are off to Orlando next week for GENBAND Perceptives 2016 where Matt Townend is speaking. We look forward to seeing all those who are attending there!