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Return of Events | Insider Lite | TalkingPointz

I’ve been to two large events recently, Enterprise Connect and Channel Partners. Both were great events, some of the same people, but also very different.
Events are great. When the pandemic started, I was perfectly happy to skip all the travel. Honestly, I travel too much. I have 1K status on United, which is really nice, but I think I would be ahead in life if I had less travel and didn’t have status.
Status on airlines is really a scam. It offers ‘elite customers’ better customer service, but it’s only valuable because of how bad general service has become. As an elite flier, for example, a human agent (a useful one, too) actually answers when I call. Other benefits include a free drink and snack during the flight and free checked bags. Remember when this was all standard?
I digress. My point is that while I didn’t miss travel at first, travel, events, and face-to-face meetings are important. I was missing them, and glad they are returning. Eric Yuan, the CEO of Zoom, famously travels very little (like a few times a year). I used to envy that, but I’m not so sure anymore. I got so much out of these two events that I could not as a remote participant.
Enterprise Connect worked really hard to satisfy both in-person and remote participants. The tech term for that is hybrid events, and it makes a lot of sense. It really depends on what you are after - keynotes and many of the sessions are actually better as a remote participant. Same is true for professional sports, IMO. Play/Pause control was one of man’s greatest achievements. Not to mention volume and subtitles.
Cisco is the only UCC company pushing hybrid events. That was a prudent move. Clearly, online webinars and events will continue to grow, and there’s also a need for in-person events, so why should these involve separate tools?
I am writing a deep dive on EC22, so I will just mention a few key takeaways from Channel Partners here. First, the channel is reclaiming itself. I sense a rebellion forming against the agent model, which has taken over/disrupted enterprise comms. There are several plays/angles here, but watch Intermedia. For those that like the agent model, watch Nextiva and Goto shake things up.
Also, don’t take your eyes off Sangoma or Audiocodes - these companies are among the most transformed during the pandemic. I am considering a research note called “While You Were Sleeping” about the UCC companies that changed the most during the pandemic.
Post-pandemic is the next chapter of the ongoing Future of Work saga, and there’s some interesting developments. The pandemic changed everything. Along these lines, an interesting provider I met at Channel Partners was Nynja. It offers a fresh and new approach to collaboration.

From the Last Insider Report
One Small Step for Google and a Giant Leap for UJET: Google announced it is expanding into CCaaS. It opted to do so via an OEM relationship with UJET. There is a lot to talk about here. First is the expansion into CCaaS, which is both obvious and totally surprising at the same time. It’s obvious because Google Cloud’s top competitors, Amazon and Microsoft, have already done it. Plus, expanding into CCaaS is the in thing. Zoom, Zendesk, and others are expanding into CCaaS — everyone’s doing it. 
It’s surprising because Google seemed to be building its CC strategy around AI and competitive-free partnerships. CCAI works with and is supported by most of the CC vendors. Many CCaaS providers already host on GCP, and Chrome has made impressive inroads as the browser and device of choice. The Chrome Recommended CCaaS program has attracted participation from most CCaaS providers in just a few months, though I can’t say that co-opetition has hurt Amazon or Microsoft. 
The issue is that the contact center isn’t just another application. The effective contact center is interconnected to applications and data across an enterprise. Offering a CCaaS isn’t just about agent revenue but also applications, processing, data, and AI revenues that Google can’t ignore. 
Google CCaaS makes sense, and so does UJET. After Zoom’s attempt to acquire Five9, I said that Zoom could jumpstart its CCaaS development effort by acquiring UJET or Edify. I read the tea leaves but didn’t realize it was Google’s mug. 
CCaaS prospects aren’t interested in being lab rats, so Google opted to OEM UJET as the Google-branded CCAI Platform. That makes sense, but it’s odd that Google didn’t just acquire UJET. Possible reasons are that Google isn’t committed, Google intends to offer or acquire something else, UJET hasn’t proven itself yet, or perhaps Google wants to make some money by investing in UJET. There are countless possibilities, and we simply don’t know. 
During the EC22 keynote, an important point was made but not emphasized: Google now has an end-to-end CCaaS solution. This traverses from GCP through the application to the Chrome endpoint. No other provider has an end-to-end solution like this. Chrome runs on Windows and Macs — and there’s also a potential Android play, as well. 
One final point to note is how the CCaaS provider landscape is changing: Although it is still attracting new players, soon it will reverse. Over the next few years, as in most sectors, only a handful of players will dominate CCaaS. Meanwhile, Avaya and Cisco still intend to dominate CCaaS as they did in premises-based systems. There are also several disruptive wildcard possibilities, such as a CCaaS solution from Salesforce or Facebook/WhatsApp.
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Dave Michels

Speaker, author, founder of TalkingPointz. I'm a video, voice, messaging protagonist. I publish the TalkingPointz Insider Report. @NoJitter

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