This morning we're announcing the six finalists in the Best of Enterprise Connect 2012 competition. Here they are:
* Bucher +Suter: b+s Mobile Connect, smart-care customer service options that allow companies to provide rich "never wait in queue again" service options to end customers; smartphones, tablets and web applications become mobile, visual customer assistance portals.
* Fonolo: Fonolo Virtual Queuing, a cloud-based service that adds a new visual interface to the call center that lives on an enterprise website or mobile app, letting customers reach call center agents with one click--no navigating phone menus or waiting on hold.
* Integrated Research: Prognosis for Unified Communications, software that empowers enterprises to successfully design, implement, and operate complex multi-vendor Unified Communications systems to ensure new UC system success, improve user satisfaction, proactively avoid expensive outages, and optimize operations.
* Sococo: Sococo Team Space for iPad, which extends Sococo’s immersive business communications experience so that coworkers can stay--and feel--connected throughout the day, no matter where they’re located.
* Vidyo: Vidyo Router VA Edition, a virtual appliance that delivers scalable multipoint video conferencing in virtual computing environments to align with cloud computing and server virtualization initiatives. The solution virtualizes real-time media to deliver flexible, large-scale deployments.
* VOSS: VOSS Solutions and ISI Telemanagement Solutions UC-Business Analytics--UC fulfilment and telecom expense management system delivering an integrated UC business analytics solution for enterprises to achieve greater efficiencies and lower costs with UC applications and mobile devices.
Just a few quick comments: The judges (listed below) clearly were impressed by innovative customer service/contact center solutions. I think one of the mega-trends we'll see in communications over the next few years is the transition to true multimedia contact centers that integrate brick-and-mortar facilities with online stores, and that tie all the various media together. Right now, that's still a nascent capability and contact centers aren't well organized to take advantage of it. But that's evolving, as our contest shows.
Also, Vidyo is becoming a fixture on our Finalist list; they're an innovative company and video has arrived as a consideration for all communications networks. It may not be on every desktop, but it simply can't be ignored by anyone who's charged with designing and building the enterprise networks of the future.
Finally, we got some network management in the mix, which is great, because network management is so important and yet so often overlooked.
Our judges this year were:
* Doug Carolus, Senior Associate, Pace Harmon
* Zeus Kerravala, Founder and Principal Analyst, ZK Research
* Marty Parker, Prinicipal, UniComm Consulting
* Sorell Slaymaker, President, Unified IT Systems
* David Stein, President, Stein Technoloy Group
They'll be meeting with each of the Finalists over the next week to hear about their products in greater detail, to help the judges pick a winner for this year's Best in Enterprise Connect. The award will be presented at Enterprise Connect Orlando on March 28.