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AI and Better, Smarter Work Strategies Drove the Dialogue at Enterprise Connect 2023

Enterprise Connect 2023 wrapped up a week ago -- but we'll always have the panelists' breadth of knowledge and the keynotes' road maps for what's coming to communications technology. Since it's a big show with a lot to absorb, here's all of No Jitter's Enterprise Connect 2023 coverage in one place. 


We announced our Enterprise Connect Best in Show awards -- with a first-ever tie as Bandwidth and Theta Lake jointly won the Overall Best of Enterprise Connect 2023 award, for products focused on cloud communications and collaboration security respectively. Just prior to our announcing the awards, No Jitter Contributor Robin Gareiss laid out the business and technology need Bandwidth Maestro was meeting with its new offering

To stay competitive, CX decision-makers routinely opt to switch customer engagement providers or add new ones into their portfolios, but effectively orchestrating apps and call flows between the core contact center, unified communications, and AI platforms can be time-consuming and expensive. What’s more, any platform provider change has a ripple effect on network connectivity, automated workflows, and fraud detection, to name just a few areas affected.

By integrating some or all of these functions through an independent cloud provider’s ecosystem, companies can decouple select capabilities from their core platforms—giving an enterprise more flexibility to switch or keep providers, workflows, and applications as needed.

Dave Michels helmed the Innovation Showcase, choosing the theme "Collaboration Reinvented" to highlight the newest ideas, advancements, and innovative technologies in the collaboration field. He and a panel of three judges selected from a pool of contestants six companies to be highlighted during the Wednesday, March 29, 2023, session. For each of the six companies, it was their first time exhibiting at Enterprise Connect.


On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, a series of keynote addresses laid out what leading communications technology vendors were doing. 

On Tuesday, the Cisco keynote showed multiple new Webex features and integrations targeted at office workers and improving customer experiences advocating the sentiment that “magnets” work to draw employees back to the office not mandates.

Microsoft's Tuesday keynote provided a comprehensive look at how Copilot, the company’s recently announced generative AI-powered suite of productivity capabilities, would soon be included in the rebuilt Teams application.

Google Cloud's Wednesday keynote demonstrated new generative AI capabilities. As Terry Sweeney reported: "Behshad Behzadi, VP of engineering and conversational AI for Google Cloud, showcased call center capabilities that ran the gamut of everything from building its own apps to deploying remarkably human-sounding text-to-speech and other generative AI capabilities."

Wednesday also saw AI-centric keynotes from Amazon and Zoom:  Amazon executive Dilip Kumar used his keynote appearance to unveil Amazon Chime SDK call analytics, which lets app builders add call analytics to real-time voice, video and messaging data, while Joseph Chong, head of platform and industry marketing for Zoom, highlighted the platform's "smart companion," Zoom IQ. 


Zeus Kerravala covered RingCentral's new AI-infused sales solution, putting RingSense for Sales into context with," It’s worth noting that RingSense for Sales is the company's first horizontal solution specifically designed for revenue-generating teams by providing actionable insights." 

He also wrote about how Cisco's approach to hybrid work --  reimagining workspaces, optimizing collaboration, and maximizing customer experience -- and the new AI capabilities across Webex Contact Center and Webex Connect

Dave Michels explained why UJET's new workforce management offering, a cloud-native suite for forecasting, scheduling, and real-time adherence monitoring, helps the company move closer to a mainstream CX solution and highlights its growing partnership with Google Cloud.

I covered the Zoom IQ "smart companion" and Zoom Contact Center's new WFM product.

And senior editor Matthew Vartabedian produced a No Jitter Roll that highlighted some of the AI-driven announcements coming out of the show, and a No Jitter Roll that highlighted some of the customer experience-oriented innovations.



In addition to presenting at the show, some of the panelists also published pieces on No Jitter explaining what the focus of their panels were and what attendees could expect.

Jon Arnold hosted "Speech Technology Roundtable: Leading Enterprise Applications and Emerging Use Cases," where participants talked about the leading applications using speech technology and AI in the enterprise, then grappled with the question, "Is there an ROI case for adopting speech technology-enabled applications, and if so, how do you make it?"

Tom Brannen moderated two sessions focusing on the experiences of real-world practitioners as they migrated to cloud-based solutions -- CCaaS case studies and CPaaS case studies. As he explained in "CCaaS and CPaaS Case Studies Provide Insight from Real-World Deployments," the value of these sessions is in the first-person experiences: "Communications technology professionals hear a lot of hype around CCaaS and CPaaS, but hearing how the success of the technologies provided a significant improvement to the business – or in some cases didn't – will be of great interest to all that attend the sessions."

Senior editor Matthew Vartabedian covered the CCaaS Case Studies panel and concluded there were three key insights: getting buy-in on the deployment from the c-suite down, planning to the nth degree, and focusing on line of business.

Michael Finneran headed the session "Will Cellular Fixed-Mobile Convergence Finally Happen With UC/Collaboration?" and discussed the cellular carriers’ decision to allow more functional interconnections with cloud-based unified communications/team collaboration as a service (UC/TCaaS) platforms like Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, and Ring Central MVP.

In "Use Advanced Analytics to Get the Full Picture of Your CX Performance," Robin Gareiss explained how her session would walk attendees through the why's of gathering data on customers, the four most successful methods for gathering customer insights, and the business benefits of using analytics, including boosts in employee productivity and revenue. 

Microsoft Teams expert Kevin Kieller presented at three separate Teams-related panels, one of which was his 13th year of delivering the Microsoft communications and collaboration overview session. The heart of this year's overview session addressed Microsoft's expanding telephony efforts: "I am focusing on when and why it makes sense to add PSTN voice to Teams, how to do it successfully, and the varying approaches to get the job done.

There were multiple sessions on the challenges that complying with 911 regulations present. Robert Harris and Beth English in talked about the importance of identifying problem areas and levels of risk as part of planning 911 compliance in "911 Compliance Doesn’t Come Shrink Wrapped." Irwin Lazar helmed the session "Enterprise E911 Challenges Remain," which highlighted the new challenges that a mobile workforce presents for E911 compliance,  and panelist Martha Buyer pointed out "Hybrid Workforce Technology Is Not Immune from e911 Regulations."

Robert Harris also led a Thursday session, "Generational Technology Use Doesn't Support Easy Generalities," in which he laid out research demonstrating how a multigenerational approach to technology is really just an approach rooted in good, universal design and a solid investment in workforce training.

In "UC and Collaboration Security: The New Threat Landscape," Irwin Lazar led a discussion on how to cover threats across the present, and anticipated future, collaboration technology landscape.

Blair Pleasant brought real-world use cases to her session, "UCaaS Plus CCaaS: What are the Use Cases, Where are the Hurdles?" with the intent of helping attendees learn how customers are actually using and benefitting from integrated UCaaS and CCaaS, what some of the challenges of using integrated UCaaS and CCaaS are, and what anyone who's going to do this has to think about going forward.

Finally, in her session, "Why It's Crucial to Have a Strategy for User Adoption," Melissa Swartz outlined the importance of creating an end-user adoption plan and enumerated the five things such a plan has to have.