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Best of EC Award: Adding Urgency to Innovation


Illustration of lightbulb, to show innovation
Image: tiero -
We’ve been running the Best of Enterprise Connect Award program for several years now, and the winners — as well as many of the entrants that didn’t win — have always displayed innovation, technical advances, and fresh approaches to enterprise challenges. This year, I’m hoping to see another level of innovation.
Among its many impacts, the pandemic added urgency to innovation. Two years ago, enterprise communications/collaboration vendors may have hoped that incremental improvements would win customers’ hearts and minds, but any given enterprise might decide instead to take a pass on the whole thing and just keep sweating whatever assets they already had. Innovation was nice, but not always strictly necessary.
We’ve now had a year of stopgap measures, on-the-fly upgrades and migrations, and innovations to meet the moment. Some have worked; some haven’t. People had been willing to try things they might not have bothered with previously, and the new problems that arose — like video fatigue — spurred their own rounds of new thinking.
But on the other side of all this turmoil and experimentation, enterprises are likely to be looking for strategic platforms on top of which they can build the new capabilities that will support longer-term strategies for hybrid work. So as we seek out innovation in this year’s Best of Enterprise Connect awards, I’m rooting for products, features, or integrations that cut through the surface distractions that we indulged during the pandemic, when everyone was trying their best just to keep people engaged under incredibly trying circumstances. (EC exhibitors, take note: I hope your company is planning to enter the Best of EC competition; we’re accepting award entries now through Friday, July 23. You can learn more about the award program here.)
In addition to our overall Best in EC Award, we’ve got four category awards that I hope will encourage our exhibitors to put forward innovations that can truly change the game for their customers. The category awards are:
  • Best Innovation in Customer Experience
  • Best Application of Artificial Intelligence
  • Best Innovation for Virtual Meetings
  • Best Innovation for the Post-COVID Workspace
And we’ve assembled a stellar panel of judges to review the entries and pick the winners:
  • Beth English, principal and consultant, EE and Associates
  • Irwin Lazar, president and principal analyst, Metrigy
  • Dave Michels, principal analyst and founder, TalkingPointz
  • Blair Pleasant, president and principal analyst, COMMfusion/co-founder, BCStrategies
The opportunity to see the innovations highlighted by Best in EC is just one of the many reasons to come to Orlando, Fla., for Enterprise Connect 2021, Sept. 27-29. You’ll be able to see the latest and greatest products on our show floor, and of course get in-depth insights into the state of the industry in our Conference program. Most of all, you’ll be able to reconnect with peers for the kind of networking and exchange of ideas that can’t be fully replaced by technology — even at its most innovative. And, as a No Jitter reader, you can save $200 off your registration by using the promo code NJAL200.
I hope to see you in Orlando!