Here’s a quick look at some trends we’re expecting to emerge as the key themes from UC EXPO, forming the conversation for the next year or so.
- Thousands of comms tools and vendors are creating complexity and walled gardens – far from the promised of unified utopia. Lessons are being learnt from mainstream consumer apps – Facebook and Whatsapp – which offer efficient, rich, partly asynchronous communication. The approach is driving the development of real time, open, web-based contextual communications applications, which will simplify business communications. For example, apps that embed a call or chat function within a web page allow efficient and frictionless comms in context. Comms must eventually become truly unified, where apps and tools integrate and interoperate, not be balkanised by siloed services. This is something I’m passionate about and will expand upon in my talk at the show.
- Security remains the top concern for businesses, so ensuring data is protected is paramount. Contextual comms is an example of where it’s easier to define how and when people communicate and this controlled approach is less likely to leak than traditional ‘free’ communication. Developers of hosted solutions can do more to help protect against fraud in terms of prevention, detection and compensation. I, for one, will be looking to see how many vendors have really grasped this and are making in-roads in solving it.
- Innovations like machine learning, bots and AI are starting to filter into contact centres and business comms. Chatbots are already dealing with the most common queries, complaints, requests and making suggestions according to what’s in their database. Beyond this comes cognitive interactions where robots understand accents, sentiment and context, so they can handle communications in a more natural, human way. It’ll be interesting to see how many real applications of this we see at UCExpo this year. Will we have moved on from novelty value alone?
Rob Pickering will be speaking about Contextual Communications at UCEXPO, Thursday 18 May at 11.40am