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Four Conferences and a Funeral: Page 2 of 2

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IoT, AI, and Beyond

Realizing that the glory days of UC are waning, several of the vendors are looking beyond UC to new customer experiences that include IoT, AI, and even biometrics. They are tying these advanced technologies in with UC capabilities to improve business processes, enhance the customer experience, and create new business models.

NEC centered its event on the theme, "Exploring the Smart Enterprise," which is based on integrating and combining the company's UC technologies with its broader IT portfolio. Smart Enterprise combines NEC mobility; fault-tolerant and high-availability server and storage; networking; and video solutions, as well as its biometrics, IoT, data analytics, and AI initiatives. NEC discussed its AI offering, NEC the Wise, which is a single source of data collection and analytics for providing predictions. NEC is working with customers in various verticals to create new ways of doing business. For example, using NEC's NeoFace solutions, stadiums can improve security, airlines can expedite passenger authentication, and hotels can provide special treatment to VIP guests as they enter a hotel.

ALE says it intends to be a leader in IoT, and notes that it has a clear development path toward that goal in IoT-enabled networks. ALE's Rainbow, which it describes as a relationship machine, ties in various identities, such as users, their mobile devices, third-party apps, and even IoT endpoints. Focusing on connections, ALE is providing IoT-enabled mobile campus networks, and is connecting communications with IoT devices and sensors on trains, in hospitals, at universities, etc.

Avaya showed a demo of how its Oceana Workspaces solution works with virtual reality partner Exp360 for the hospitality industry. A client uses VR goggles to get a 360-degree view of a hotel property, for example, and the agent can see the same view on his or her Oceana-enabled screen. The agent can push a new view to the customer, and through the VR goggles the client can initiate a with the agent.

And CafeX described how it will be using bots as part of its Live Assist real-time engagement solution, which is it offers as the preferred vendor for omnichannel capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics 365. The bots will listen in and provide proactive suggestions and information for agents.

All Things App-Related

At the various conferences, when we did hear about UCC it was in relation to communication-enabling applications or integrating communication capabilities into applications. Several of these companies offer communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) solutions, which can help businesses embed communications into any application or create custom applications (to hear about how businesses are using CPaaS and APIs, come to my upcoming Enterprise Connect session, "Case Studies: Working with Communications APIs -- Tales from the Trenches").

ALE's Rainbow is not just a cloud communications service, it's also a CPaaS offering, and companies can use it to integrate presence, IM, chat, voice, and video with applications. ALE is providing a set of open APIs and will build its own connectors and also let application partners develop this on top of Rainbow CPaaS. Rainbow exposes APIs but when you make an API call, the call goes through the PBX.

Avaya Zang is a multitenant CPaaS offering, enabling customers and partners to build applications. Avaya uses Zang to create new offerings, and announced (or at least hinted at) several new Zang offerings, including Zang Spaces (persistent team collaboration), Zang Office (UCaaS), Zang Video (VaaS), and Zang Agent (CCaaS).

Avaya also offers Breeze, an application development platform tightly integrated with the Avaya Aura platform. The Exp360 VR application mentioned above was built on top of Breeze, demonstrating the power of this platform. Breeze allows developers to create snap-ins, or workflows that execute a business flow based on a trigger. One Avaya partner noted that "Breeze represents a whole new world to develop applications," and it "opens up a lot of opportunities to differentiate ourselves."

With Chime, CafeX offers APIs and a CPaaS solution to embed its capabilities in business applications and to allow customers to build upon their specific applications. The new Chime Spaces is an outcome-driven team workspace offering seamless, real-time, objective-oriented persistent collaboration spaces.

As you can see, while each vendor had a distinct message, collectively they shared some unifying themes. I expect to hear more about each of these themes at Enterprise Connect, coming March 27 to 30 in Orlando, Fla. And please come hear my sessions, "Case Studies: Working with Communications APIs -- Tales from the Trenches," and "Understanding the Differences in Cloud Architectures - And Why They Matter."

Learn more about cloud communications and communications APIs at Enterprise Connect 2017. View the Cloud Communications track here and the Communications APIs track here, and register now using the code NOJITTER to receive $300 off an Entire Event or Tue-Thu Conference pass or get a free Expo Plus pass.

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