Michael Finneran
Michael F. Finneran, is President of dBrn Associates, Inc., a full service advisory firm specializing in wireless and mobility; services...
Read Full Bio >>

Michael Finneran | June 14, 2017 |


Apple WWDC Announcements a Mixed Bag

Apple WWDC Announcements a Mixed Bag Most offerings reflect incremental improvement rather than innovation, with a few surprises like Business Chat.

Most offerings reflect incremental improvement rather than innovation, with a few surprises like Business Chat.

Two major themes struck me from the annual Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) Apple held last week.

First, the ennui around mobile and smart devices continues, as we're still in a period of incremental improvements with only a few truly new ideas and some potential blockbusters mixed in. Apple developers were enthused by Apple's latest moves, but industry reaction was more muted.

Second -- and this is more of an aside than anything -- one of the requirements for reaching Apple's executive ranks must be having really great hair. See for yourself:

With one head of great hair after another taking the stage, Apple once again put on a beautifully orchestrated keynote that, as usual, outclassed any others in the industry. Of course, if you're in the consumer products business, looks are important, and just about everything Apple announced from the keynote stage at WWDC was decidedly "consumer."

Apple led off the keynote (watch here) with a smart, funny video about a worldwide apocalypse occasioned by the loss of access to apps -- perfect for an audience of developers. But, as I mentioned, with the exception of a few gems scattered throughout, much of what Apple announced can be categorized as "incremental." (Someone should let the Apple marketing crew know the more you cite advantages like "X% faster" or "Y% brighter," the more you're screaming "incremental!")

Here's a look at some of the product enhancements.

Besides learning that more cartoon characters will join Mickey and Minnie as Apple Watch face options, we did find out that Apple is adding some intelligence to the Siri Watch face. Some enterprise wearers might even find these of benefit. The Watch face will now feature a button to activate Siri and the ability to present different information throughout the day. These notices can include next appointments and other customized information based on machine learning (ML).

Separately, Apple is expanding the watch ecosystem, and will allow the watch's activity monitor to exchange data with gym equipment, interface to glucose meters and surfboards (to measure wave height), and even analyze your tennis swing.

On the Mac front, Apple made some announcements, but not the big one -- no talk of a touchscreen Mac. What it did say is that it is calling the next-generation MacOS "High Sierra" (the current one is Sierra, so I guess that's Apple's way of saying, "Don't expect much").

Probably the biggest improvement will be in Apple's Safari browser, which will automatically block those annoying videos that pop up in an increasing number of Web pages (you can click if you actually want to view them) and an intelligent tracking prevention function. More important for enterprise users is the fact that Safari will now be getting WebRTC capability, though the full details are not entirely clear. And Apple also made a point of touting Safari's performance advantage, particularly in comparison to Chrome.

From Machine Learning to Messaging
When you get past all of the hardware nonsense and frivolous features, the really big news was Apple's embrace of ML -- which it needs if it hopes to close the gap with smarter systems like Amazon's Alexa -- and augmented reality (AR). For example, Siri will be getting a translation function (English to five other languages initially) so your iPhone can act as a translator when you travel.

What's more, Apple will be opening up these capabilities to developers with ML tools like Core ML, SiriKit, and, for AR development, ARKit. That Apple made moves around ML and AR shouldn't be too much of a surprise given all the buzz around these emerging technologies and the fact that they are first taking hold in the consumer space.

In addition, Apple promised some important enhancements for iOS 11. First, the Messages app will include a person-to-person payment function, a challenge to payment services like Venmo. Siri will be getting a more expressive voice (not that I could hear much of a difference), and a male voice option.

For contact centers, the biggest piece of news will be Business Chat (view the video here in Safari or through the WWDC app), which Apple will add to the Messages app next year; the capability is available to developers now. Apple snuck this news in last week outside the keynote forum.

Essentially Business Chat is a platform that will allow businesses to communicate and engage with customers through their contact center or CRM systems. It will provide a persistent chat capability through Messages that will interconnect with Safari, Spotlight, Siri, and Maps. A company will be able to add a website button, accessible through Safari or Maps, for initiating chats. The user will be able to make one-click choices and send pictures or videos to describe a problem. If a purchase were to ensue, the buyer would be able to use Apple Pay.

With Apple's focus on privacy, it is putting the customer in control of all Business Chat communications. The customer will have to initiate the chat, and the business will initially be provided with an "opaque ID" (along with the language and region) until the customer chooses to divulge more information. Businesses must be registered with Apple, and already Genesys, Salesforce, and LivePerson are on board.

While Business Chat will primarily serve a business-to-consumer use case, I'll be watching to see if it will be usable in for business-to-employee communications, too. In this case, Apple would essentially be opening Messages the same way CallKit opened the iOS native dialer to VoIP and mobile UC developers. In any event, Business Chat will allow contact centers to deliver a far richer and more integrated interaction experience for iOS users.

Click below for Page 2


September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

August 29, 2018

Moving your voice services to the cloud introduces new challenges for 9-1-1 services. These include the need to serve multiple locations, and the increased mobility that comes with having a phone t

August 8, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a reality for your contact center. But to turn the promise of AI into practical reality, there are a couple of prerequisites: Moving to the cloud and integr

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.