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Looking for Answers at Enterprise Connect

It's March -- and around here, that means Enterprise Connect is just around the corner and the many months of hard work we've put into planning an outstanding conference program will soon come to fruition. You don't want to miss out! (And, in fact, I would highly encourage any reader who hasn't yet registered to do so now; our Early Bird Rate expires end-of-day tomorrow, March 3.

If the chance to save $800 off an entire event pass (Early Bird Rate combined with the $300 discount we offer No Jitter readers isn't enough of an enticement, let me remind you of the wealth of knowledge you'll have the opportunity to gain at Enterprise Connect 2017, taking place the week of March 27 in Orlando, Fla. My own list of trends to watch for and technologies to check out is long -- and getting longer by the day.

Here are three questions I'd like to raise and hear answered as the week unfolds:

How ready is the enterprise to embrace the concept of programmable communications, a la APIs and communications platform as a service (CPaaS)?

The ability to embed communications into existing business applications and processes has long been desired and is now within reach for pretty much anybody who has the hankering. Rapidly evolving development tools and platforms that have come from companies old and new have seen to that. But taking programmable communications from the conceptual to the strategic within a traditional enterprise communications hierarchy will be a big leap for many organizations. Where are we at with mainstream enterprise adoption of communications APIs?

I think we have a ways to go, but I'm hoping to see interest and adoption grow at Enterprise Connect. To help that along, we've got a hands-on TADHack-mini hackathon taking place coincident with Enterprise Connect and aim to provide thought leadership and practical guidance from the main stage and throughout the conference program. I'll be looking for evidence of this especially in a keynote address from Jeff Lawson, CEO of communications API darling Twilio, and in the six sessions we've designated as part of the Communications API track.

Will any particular cloud architectural model begin nudging others out for dominant position in UCaaS and CCaaS deployments?

My gut on this one is that we're still too early for any one model to gain supremacy, although certainly the multitenant public cloud model in which users share a single software instance on a common hardware platform is quite popular today among UCaaS and CCaaS providers, as UC analyst Blair Pleasant explained in our recent podcast, "Cloud Architectures: How They Differ & What That Means for You" (listen here). But at Enterprise Connect I'll be keeping an ear to the ground for word on use of the distributed multitenant cloud model in particular. As Blair mentioned in the podcast, and which she's sure to explain in her Enterprise Connect session on the same topic, this may well be the pre-eminent model of the future.

With this approach, the cloud provider uses public cloud infrastructure such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure for its communications platform. As Blair said, the distributed multitenant architecture is the "cloud model for cloud providers," allowing them to focus on creating services rather than supporting hardware. Genesys PureCloud (formerly from Interactive Intelligence) is one example, and just earlier this week we learned that Aspect Software has deployed its latest CCaaS offering in the AWS cloud (read "Aspect Charts Course 'Via' CCaaS"). How many others will we be able to count among this crowd after Enterprise Connect wraps up -- and how will this change how enterprises weigh their options?

Can artificial intelligence (AI) disrupt enterprise collaboration?

This is a topic we've selected for our first-ever Summit on the Lawn, to take place Wednesday, March 29, from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., and one I find quite fascinating. AI for so many years has been shrouded in a cloak of mystery -- the stuff of brainiacs toiling away in hush-hush research labs or the makings of surreal science fiction tales. But as highly intelligent computing and advanced analytical modeling have become more readily available via smaller but ever-more powerful form factors, the ability to apply all that oomph to corporate data stockpiles -- including the unstructured data filling our communications pipelines -- has brought AI out in the open. And it's turning into quite an ordinary technology, or so it seems.

So what happens when we are able to infuse our communications and collaboration experiences on the fly with cognitive and contextual smarts we've learned from live and historical data? I'm looking forward to hearing what the luminaries we've asked to participate in this summit have to say about how our conversations, internal and external, play out in the future.

What questions would you like to explore at Enterprise Connect? Drop us a note and let us know -- and don't miss out on the chance to talk over your ideas live and in person with our speakers and each other. Register by end-of-day tomorrow, March 3, using the code ECNL17 to receive $300 off the Early Bird Rate for an Entire Event or Tue-Thu Conference pass, or get a free Expo Plus pass.

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