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Communications: Making the World Go ’Round


Illustration of connectivity around the world
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It’s not an exaggeration to say that communications technology has kept many workplaces operating during the pandemic. This has been our industry’s moment to shine, and communications technologies have provided a rare ray of light in an otherwise awful situation for people in both their work and personal lives.
The most obvious example is the video meeting, of which the examples are too numerous and familiar to mention. Contact centers have also been able to take advantage of improved technology to offer better, more personal and effective service, often in situations of real distress for customers (think financial institutions and health care companies).
But the benefits of the new generation of communications technologies have gone even deeper. This hit home for me while reviewing a presentation that Mark Winther, an analyst with IDC, will deliver during Enterprise Connect’s Digital Conference & Expo the week of Aug. 3.
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Mark’s topic is “CPaaS: Moving Beyond the Early Use Cases,” and his presentation describes scenarios where communications have been embedded in applications and business processes specifically to help deal with situations that COVID-19 has presented. For example, he points to the way that messaging has become crucial to contactless service for enterprises such as stores and restaurants, and to the ability to use CPaaS to make visitor sign-in systems contactless.
We know that the pandemic’s impacts will profoundly affect the ways we work in offices, whenever that return process begins at scale. For example, companies will likely turn to speech interfaces as a way to eliminate the need to touch devices. Our Digital Conference & Expo has this covered as well; consultant Jon Arnold, of J Arnold & Associates, will provide the latest on “Speech Technologies: Innovations and Use Cases.”
And, of course, the meeting rooms that were booked back to back and filled to capacity just a few months ago now need to be reconsidered for an era of social distancing. On this topic, we have the industry’s leading video/AV analyst, Ira Weinstein of Recon Research, discussing “Meeting Rooms & the New Normal.” In his presentation, Ira offers a set of recommendations about how to reimagine meeting rooms in the pandemic era, and how to deploy video to your offices in a way that matches the new requirements around space utilization.
I’ve written before about how the more passé term, “telecommunications,” is ripe for a revival, since it connotes distance, which is a core principle of daily life at the moment. Today’s technologies take us well beyond voice telephony and allow the integration of communications into many of the other systems we use to carry out our daily business at home, at work, and in our fraught encounters with the wider public world.
We’ve felt this impact in our own work: The fact that we must all keep our distance from one another will prevent us from putting on an in-person Enterprise Connect event this year. But many of these same communications technologies are helping power our Digital Conference & Expo Aug. 3 - 6. Of course, the event will be packed with the in-depth, vendor-neutral content that you always get in Orlando. But we’ve got some special features unique to our virtual environment: We’re using video and AI to fuel what we hope will be an attendee-to-attendee networking experience that will be rewarding and useful to you, even if it can’t match the kinds of interactions you can have at an in-person event.
So I hope you can join us the week of Aug. 3. The AI and recommendation features of our platform will help you find topics, sponsors, and peers that are most relevant to you, so no matter how much time you can spend with us, I feel confident that you’ll get a lot out of it.