What's Changing in Cloud Communications (Part 2)

What's Changing in Cloud Communications (Part 2)

By Erik Linask

This is Part Two of our interview with Mike Chase, Director of Channel Management at Jive Communications, as he discusses many of the market trends driving the communications market and the way Jive and other market players are evolving their models and capabilities.  In Part Two, Mike speaks to some of the many emerging technologies that are creating new opportunities for providers and customers alike.  If you missed Part One, you may read it here.  Mike will be addressing many of these topics in person at MSP Expo in Ft. Lauderdale.

How can blockchain transform your industry?

When you think of blockchain, you may not immediately think of Unified Communications and Collaboration. However, blockchain has the potential to greatly impact this industry, especially when it comes to identity verification, the time and order of communications, and reliable automated communication.

For instance, blockchains enable us to verify who we are communicating with, as well as the order of communications. In a day where caller ID can be easily manipulated by the caller and has few regulations, trusted identity verification would eliminate a lot of noise for our customers and actually give users more privacy. As for the order of communications, knowing when these transactions occur (each is timestamped) can actually benefit customers in many fields — just think of the benefit for patent lawyers and attorneys.

Concerning automation, at Jive, we automate a lot of our communications, from emails and system alerts, to call notifications and business SMS, but blockchains can allow authorized, bi-directional communications and transactions to happen more freely within an automated environment, as opposed to just non-critical and asynchronous communications as are happening now.

What implications does AI have for your business and your customers?

We see AI as a way to help employees be more productive and effective in their jobs. AI can take away many of the mundane time-suck tasks and allow workers to focus on higher value projects. For example, at LogMeIn we offer AI capabilities in our meeting tool, GoToMeeting that automatically records and transcribes a meeting. This means that everyone in the meeting can be present and focus on things like brainstorming, ideation, and other creative thinking tasks.

Is SD-WAN changing the way you and/or your customers operate?  How?

Jive SD-WAN allows our customers to enjoy greater business agility, guaranteed enterprise-grade features and increased security for our network users — even under adverse network conditions, or whether an app is located in the Cloud, and without paying for premium MPLS connectivity.

In short, it allows businesses to set up and scale up seamlessly. They can prioritize critical-application bandwidth and ensure that critical applications are always accessible, fast, and never hijacked by high-usage apps. It also allows businesses to improve network quality and performance to deliver consistent uptime with seamless failover, link aggregation and dynamic load-balancing and network monitoring and alerting, as well as providing a simple-to-manage GUI interface with no coding necessary.

What new opportunities does IoT bring your company?

The Internet of Things is changing how we work, live, and even get value from our belongings and assets, and the connectivity aspect of the IoT is generally provided through telecommunications. As the IoT continues to grow and gain traction, the two will become even more interwoven.

IoT, AI, and machine learning are helping UCaaS companies offer businesses greater efficiency and improve the customer experience in many ways, and 2019 will bring a lot of innovation. A few opportunities they present include mapping consumer preferences better, tracking and analyzing the consumption patterns of customers, and addressing customer queries.

What is your perception of The Future of Work and how new tech is changing the face of communications?

We are seeing a consolidation in the market. IT leaders need to offer their employees a variety of options to connect via chat, telephone, meetings and more. We are seeing companies, ours included, expanding their offerings to meet these needs. This consolidation is due in part to a shifting mindset in the way employees want to work. They are mobile, they need to be accessible across time zones and devices, and they want an easy to use solution that allows them to connect, do business and get on with their day.

What is the greatest opportunity facing your industry? 

There’s so much innovation happening in cloud computing and the UCaaS market right now that it’s difficult to pinpoint the greatest opportunity. However, UCaaS has a lot to benefit from the rise of AI and workstream collaboration and, in 2019, we’ll continue to see the adoption of these technologies.

We’ve already seen the benefit of AI with virtual assistants interacting with IP-enabled devices like phones and conferencing systems to manage meetings and help with scheduling. We’re also seeing the rise of meeting transcription, a feature that will (and is beginning to) drastically change the UCaaS and meeting space.

The digital workplace is also seeing greater opportunities for employee and customer engagement. Our industry has a lot to benefit from integrating communication platforms such as Jive’s that include features such as chat, messaging, audio and video conferencing with workstream collaboration tools. This will allow customers, partners and internal teams the ability to not only communicate seamlessly, but to share documents, manage projects, and engage more meaningfully.

What is the greatest challenge?

While the constantly changing technology landscape offers many opportunities for UCaaS, it also presents its challenges. Keeping up with this tech landscape means understanding what tools our customers — across many different verticals — are using. This knowledge enables us to work on partnerships and integrations that will help our customers maximize their investments and see the most benefit from their Unified Communications and Collaboration platform.

Along with overseeing these adoption and integration strategies, managing these changes internally and externally so the employee and customer experience are seamless is critical.

What do you hope to achieve at the event?

We look forward to learning about and being exposed to new technologies that will benefit us within the UCaaS industry, as well as researching more about current solutions and forming new and unique partnerships to benefit our customers across various industries.

Why should people come to ITEXPO and collocated #SuperShow events to meet with your company?

ITEXPO is the perfect venue for us to sit down and forge profitable relationships with you. At Jive, we understand that seamless integrations and partnerships result in better products and happier customers. Jive means unlimited scalability, extensive partner support resources, the most intuitive platform in the industry, and programs that minimize your customers’ upfront CAPEX.

Why should your session be on the list of must-attend sessions at this year’s conference?

Now more than ever, businesses should be thinking outside of the box when it comes to how they communicate internally and with their customers. Collaboration, mobility, and flexibility are no longer options in today’s competitive marketplace. This session will take a look at what’s to come in 2019… what to focus on to ensure your offering is innovative, competitive and profitable.

Please make an interesting prediction about tech in 2019?.

Technology such as voice assistants will become smarter and will be powered by natural language processing, as well as continuous machine learning. We’ll also see instant transcription, more contextual information through AI, and the globalization of business will escalate. This will result in the proportionate growth of voice and UCaaS, creating opportunities for businesses to go global.

Mike’s panel at MSP Expo, Another Chasm Crossed! What to Expect from Cloud Communications in 2019, will take place at 2:00pm, Thursday, January 31, 2019.  Because every MSP is facing an increasingly competitive landscape, they should be looking for the latest communications solutions to deliver to their customers.  Likewise, businesses, too, are looking at how to increase productivity and efficiency with next-gen communications solutions.  This session will provide plenty of insight into how to achieve those objectives.  If you haven’t booked your ticket to MSP Expo, don’t wait – register today.

Edited by Erik Linask
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