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What I’m Looking Forward to at Enterprise Connect

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People working in meeting room
Image: Kateryna Onyshchuk - Alamy Stock Vector
As I write this, Enterprise Connect takes place in (a little) less than a week, returning to the Gaylord Palms in Orlando after COVID-19 forced the event online in 2020 and 2021.
 
To say I’m excited about the return to in-person events after more than two years of virtual meetings is an understatement. While videoconferencing has provided a bridge to allow for remote engagement, virtual meetings, webinars, and conferences can’t replace the opportunity to see and hear, first hand, the innovations that communications, collaboration, and customer experience vendors are bringing to market. Nor can virtual experiences completely replace the benefits of face-to-face meetings with colleagues and clients.
 
With that said, here are the five things that I’m most looking forward to at this year’s Enterprise Connect:
  1. A broader conversation around the term “collaboration.” For many organizations, collaboration discussions have largely centered around voice, video, and messaging. But there’s more to the discussion than those three technologies. Effective collaboration for employees within the office and remote requires clear communication. But also investments into tools that enable ideation, workflow management, and more. I look forward to hearing how vendors are either developing standalone apps in these areas or incorporating tools like virtual whiteboards, task and project management, collaborative creation, and other emerging capabilities into their existing collaboration platforms to better support hybrid work.
  2. An embrace of employee experience. The Great Resignation has led to rapid investments into tools to improve the quality of work and social engagement among distributed employees. This “big quit” has led to a rise in apps and features that provide employees with insights into how they spend their time, accurate conveyance of company information, support for community building, and collaborative goal setting and management. I look forward to hearing how collaboration vendors are providing end-users, team managers, and even HR with capabilities to measure employee engagement, wellness, and burnout, all with respect for individual employee privacy.
  3. Evolution of meeting spaces. Today, videoconferencing is commonplace. But to effectively support a hybrid workplace, office spaces must evolve to ensure high-quality video and audio interactions. Office spaces must also level the playing field between remote employees and those in the meeting room. This evolution means providing individuals in the meeting rooms with easy access to chat and ideation applications and optimizing the ability of those at home to engage face-to-face with those in the office. Here I look forward to developments by meeting and room system vendors to transform the virtual meeting experience into one that doesn’t just provide a view into the meeting space but establishes meeting equity, ensuring that everyone is an equal meeting participant.
  4. The convergence of unified communications (UC) and customer experience (CX). Metrigy’s research has long documented the benefits of converging UC and CX in terms of savings in operational costs and improvements in customer experience. The last few years have seen a blurring of the lines between UC and CX platforms as UC companies look to broaden their portfolios and expand their market opportunities. I expect to see continued development in this space as companies differentiate themselves in a highly competitive market.
  5. A return to normalcy. Perhaps this is what I’m most looking forward to at Enterprise Connect. I hope we can again find ourselves in an environment where we can reconnect on a personal level with old friends and colleagues and establish relationships with new ones. I’m hopeful that this year’s Enterprise Connect is the first tech event that reminds us of what life was like before COVID and that it sets the stage for future in-person events going forward.
I look forward to seeing many of you next week at Enterprise Connect in person. Safe travels, everyone!

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Make sure to catch Irwin Lazar at Enterprise Connect, where he'll be presenting on new issues in team collaboration security and managing E911 compliance. To learn more about Enterprise Connect 2022, make sure to check out the conference schedule. Register today! 

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