SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Eric Krapf
Eric Krapf is General Manager and Program Co-Chair for Enterprise Connect, the leading conference/exhibition and online events brand in the...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Eric Krapf | April 13, 2017 |

 
   

The New New Things at Enterprise Connect

The New New Things at Enterprise Connect Enterprise Connect 2017 saw plenty of new players and technologies make their mark.

Enterprise Connect 2017 saw plenty of new players and technologies make their mark.

I've been going to trade shows for a long time now, and I've been deeply involved in producing them for almost as long. Enterprise Connect 2017 was the first time I can remember where an exhibitor wanted to hide their booth.

It was all part of the secrecy around Amazon Web Services' (AWS's) announcement of Amazon Connect, its contact center-as-a-service offering. AWS kept the announcement tightly under wraps, refusing to release any detail until their scheduled Tuesday morning keynote from the company's VP of Worldwide Customer Service for Amazon.com, Tom Weiland. So what to do about the fact that the exhibit floor opened on Monday? Simple: Hide the booth until after the keynote. Up went the black velvet curtains, and AWS was able to save its big reveal for the Tuesday main stage.

Several people have pointed out that the most groundbreaking element of the new service may be its pricing model -- per-minute, rather than per-seat. That's a disruptive model, but equally important is that there's a precedent for Connect succeeding in this sort of new endeavor: It's AWS itself. With Connect, as with AWS, the Amazon parent company found it needed to build something from scratch in order to support the unique demands of the world's largest online retail operation. In the case of AWS, it was data centers, now in the case of Connect, it's contact center functionality.

This product-development model is being driven by Internet giants in other areas of IT. Most notably, Facebook has spearheaded the drive to commoditize IP switching via open source software and "white box" hardware, in order to better serve the infrastructure needs of its social media platform. But increasingly, the effects of this move are threatening the heretofore undisputed king of switching, Cisco.

Facebook is trying to make a similar move in enterprise collaboration by releasing its internal social networking service as the enterprise-focused Workplace product. Its ability to succeed in this market -- that is to say, in our market -- is less straightforward, in my opinion. That's because the enterprise communications and collaboration market is inherently more competitive than switching; customer demand is also more complicated and diverse; and the requirement for "enterprise-grade" functionality -- perceived as well as proven -- is more complex to satisfy. But despite these greater challenges, few are questioning that Facebook is a player that has to be taken seriously in enterprise collaboration.

Speaking of players that have to be taken seriously, what are we to make of Google, post-EC17, in the wake of the keynote by the company's director for real-time applications in G Suite, Scott Johnston? Johnston offered a keynote that demonstrated the enhancements Google is adding to its enterprise suite in a bid to catch up to Microsoft as a provider of productivity applications that embed and integrate with communications and collaboration functionality. But Microsoft's head start is so significant that it seems hard to imagine Google closing the gap unless it makes a major commitment to the effort both on the sales and product side.

I brought this up in our closing EC17 Locknote/Town Hall session, asking our panel a final, lightning-round style question: Is Google going to be a major player in enterprise communications and collaboration, or not? The group was split in some interesting ways: Melissa Swartz, a consultant with an extensive end user-focused practice, said, essentially, that you always have to take Google seriously. At the other end of the spectrum, Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research basically threw up his hands in frustration, declaring that after its prior abortive moves into communications, he was done expecting Google to make the concerted effort that would be needed.

Enterprise Connect 2017 saw plenty of other new players and technologies make their mark. Twilio founder and CEO Jeff Lawson used his keynote to demonstrate cool new communications functions you can build on the fly with application programming interfaces (APIs). My colleague Beth Schultz tackled the issues around APIs and team collaboration with main-stage vendor panels. And cloud was everywhere, with sessions drawing better attendance than at any previous Enterprise Connect.

These technologies may not be newly invented, but they're not yet widely adopted. That means they'll pose challenges that are new to many of us in the industry, and they'll develop in new directions that affect us all in unforeseen ways. It's truly one of the most exciting times we've seen in our industry in years. I'm excited to see how it all plays out at Enterprise Connect 2018 and beyond.

Follow Eric Krapf and No Jitter on Twitter and Google+!
@nojitter
@EricHKrapf
Eric Krapf on Google+





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

October 18, 2017

Microsofts recent Ignite event had some critically important announcements for enterprise communications. Namely, Microsofts new Team Collaboration offering, Teams, will be its primary communicatio

September 20, 2017

Customer experience can make or break your business. But how do you achieve outstanding customer service when you're dealing with outdated organizational structure, lagging technology, dated proces

September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
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.