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Microsoft Wins Best of Enterprise Connect 2018

Microsoft earns top honors in the annual Best of Enterprise Connect Award competition for exhibitors with products and services that best advance enterprise communications and collaboration, as determined by a panel of four independent judges. Microsoft stood out among six finalists for the latest enhancements it's bringing to its year-old team collaboration app, Teams.

Teams, a cloud-based team collaboration and communications solution built on Office 365, has been available for one year, with GA announced this week last year. With this week's enhancements, Microsoft is taking Teams to the next level by adding artificial intelligence (AI) and automation into team collaboration workflows. Specifically, Microsoft introduced new voice and meeting skills built on the Microsoft Graph, Microsoft Cognitive Services, and Cortana (read more in yesterday's No Jitter post, "Microsoft Polishes Teams Story").


This year nearly 40 companies entered their products in the Best of Enterprise Connect Award program. Judges assessed all entries, and shortlisted six finalists to move on to the final round of in-depth briefings. In addition to Microsoft, the 2018 finalists are as follows:

  • Cisco: The Cisco Spark Room 70 video conference and collaboration room system features voice-activated controls and face detection, as well as delivers intelligence on meeting room use
  • Oracle: Live Experience Cloud enables enterprises to create context-driven customer engagements across Web and mobile, leveraging communications capabilities such as annotations, screen share, HD video, and HD voice
  • Plantronics: The self-adjusting Habitat Soundscaping system uses physical and digital nature scenes, natural sound, and intelligent software to reduce speech distractions in open office environments
  • Polycom: The Pano conference room solution allows meeting participants to share up to four simultaneous content streams, including video and annotation capabilities, over wireless connections and via touch control
  • TTEC: Humanify Digital Worker Factory offers customizable omnichannel-ready intelligent virtual assistants for customer engagement

Following the briefings, judges ranked their top choices; all voting is independent so any one judge cannot unduly influence the decisions of others. In addition to the previously mentioned AI and automation capabilities, judges pointed to the Microsoft's endpoint deployment strategy and the solution's potential enterprise reach as reasons for selecting Teams as the 2018 winner.

Participating in this year's judging were:

  • Robin Gareiss, president and founder, Nemertes Research
  • Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst, ZK Research
  • Marty Parker, principal consultant, UniComm Consulting; and co-founder, UCStrategies
  • Dave Stein, principal, Stein Technology Group

"Microsoft is delivering a significantly advanced user experience for the workplace -- desktop and mobile -- that it calls 'Microsoft Teams with Intelligent Communications -- The Hub for Teamwork in Office 365,'" Parker said. "When all the new features are evaluated and are compared to the collaborative workspace offers of other UC and UCaaS vendors, it's clear that Microsoft has delivered a significantly expanded level of communications-centric capability to support the roles and tasks needed to succeed as a knowledge worker, information worker, or manager of those groups."

For a deeper dive into the Best of Enterprise Connect 2018 evaluation process and the innovations that Microsoft is bringing to Teams, reader Parker's post, "How Microsoft Teams Will Advance Collaboration." And see the latest enhancements for Microsoft Teams for yourself; the company will be showcasing its latest solutions in the Enterprise Connect Exhibit Hall, at booth #507.

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