Beth Schultz
Beth Schultz is editor of No Jitter and program co-chair for Enterprise Connect. Beth has more than two decades of...
Read Full Bio >>

Beth Schultz | February 16, 2017 |


What Might AWS UCaaS Play Mean for the Enterprise?

What Might AWS UCaaS Play Mean for the Enterprise? Gene Farrell, AWS VP of enterprise applications, will share his vision from the keynote stage at Enterprise Connect 2017.

Gene Farrell, AWS VP of enterprise applications, will share his vision from the keynote stage at Enterprise Connect 2017.

Enterprise communications and collaboration is at a crossroads, as the old hardware way of life intersects with the new software orientation. Will companies find themselves plowing into an uncertain future, or driving full speed ahead into new opportunities opening before them?

Legacy vendors typically sit on one side of this intersection and companies born of the digital era on the other. Cloud, sitting in the center, is where all the jockeying for position is going to take place.

Such has been the driving force for a few years now, and we've seen a lot of forward progress. If you want your phone service delivered from the cloud today, you have plenty of options for that. And the same goes for your UC, collaboration, and contact center applications. But the question I have now is, what happens when a semi-truck of a company arrives on the scene? Like Amazon Web Services (AWS). As you've likely read on No Jitter or elsewhere, AWS is now offering a UCaaS service, called Amazon Chime.

Gene Farrell, AWS

Using acquired technology as a starting point (presumably from Biba, which the company quietly acquired last fall), AWS has tried to do a few things differently with Chime, Gene Farrell, VP of enterprise applications at AWS, told me in a product briefing. Chime can dial out to meeting participants, for example; provides a visual status roster of participants; and allows any meeting participant to mute the line of any other to alleviate disruptive background noise.

I haven't tried Chime, so I don't know how it compares to other cloud team meeting services. However, I do know that it's worth paying attention to no matter whether it provides a superlative or merely OK experience out of the gate. Here's why: From its humble beginnings as a provider of on-demand cloud storage and server capacity for one-off instances, AWS has evolved into a computing powerhouse for companies large and small across industries. It needs little in the way of introduction to the enterprise -- a luxury that smaller UCaaS providers don't have.

In fact, "Does it run on AWS?" is a common query for many enterprises considering SaaS deployments. That's as true for UC and collaboration offerings as any other. Does the UCaaS provider deliver its software via AWS or its own cloud, and what are the pros and cons of each architectural choice? Now that AWS can provide both the infrastructure and the communications software itself -- well, that has the potential to change things, and perhaps considerably. You might argue that the same advantage goes to Microsoft, with its Azure cloud and Skype for Business Online service. One difference -- and it will be interesting to see whether this plays out as a positive or negative -- is that by now, Microsoft has an installed base of premises UC, which users will have to strategize around as they consider the longer-term migration to the cloud.

AWS has been slowly moving up the stack into end user computing, as Farrell pointed out. First came a virtual desktop service, then document management and collaboration software, then email, followed by a business intelligence offering... and now team collaboration, with two initial partners -- Level 3 and Vonage -- ready to sell the service as part of their UC suites beginning next quarter.

In my recent No Jitter On Air podcast with Frost & Sullivan program director Elka Popova, we had already learned that some enterprises are in a wait-and-see mode as Microsoft beefs up Skype for Business Online. I don't think it's too much of a leap to think that AWS's market entry could further complicate decision-making about moving to the cloud.

With this in mind, we are pleased that AWS's Farrell has agreed to deliver a keynote address at Enterprise Connect 2017. He'll take the stage at 11:30 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, March 28, joining a roster of keynoters that includes Jens Meggers, SVP and GM of Cisco's Cloud Collaboration Technology Group; Ron Markezich, Corporate VP of Microsoft Office 365; and Jeff Lawson, founder, CEO, and chairman of Twilio.

Check out the full Enterprise Connect conference program here, and register today using the code NOJITTER to receive $300 off an Entire Event or Tue-Thu Conference pass, or get a free Expo Plus pass. I'm looking forward to seeing you there!

Follow Beth Schultz and No Jitter on Twitter and Google+!
Beth Schultz on Google+


April 19, 2017

Now more than ever, enterprise contact centers have a unique opportunity to lead the way towards complete, digital transformation. Moving your contact center to the cloud is a starting point, quick

April 5, 2017

Its no secret that the cloud offers significant benefits to enterprises - including cost reduction, scalability, higher efficiency, and more flexibility. If your phone system and contact center are

March 22, 2017

As today's competitive business environments push workforces into overdrive, many enterprises are seeking ways of streamlining workflows while optimizing productivity, business agility, and speed.

April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.