Enterprise communications are on the cusp of a revolutionary transformation as advanced technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, including AI-assisted search, and virtual and augmented reality arrive to solve real-world collaboration challenges while enabling new services and capabilities.
According to Nemertes 2018-19 study on unified communications and collaboration, based on data from more than 700 end-user organizations around the world, nearly half are already using or planning to use IoT in the next two years. Forty-one percent plan to deploy AI, while more than 35% plan to use virtual and/or augmented reality technologies.
These capabilities, apart, or together, offer the opportunity to drastically change they way people work with data and with each other. IoT can provide direct inputs from sensors, enabling insertion of alerts into workflows. For example, a manufacturing process sensor can provide real-time updates to controllers via instant message or team collaboration app, enabling monitors to discuss anomalies in the context of a persistent workspace. IoT can also enable new services such as alerting of repair or customer support facilities in the event of an adverse event. Imagine getting a call from your refrigerator manufacturer or installer letting you know that the temperature inside has risen to an unacceptable level and offering to schedule a service call.
AI integrated into communications platforms can deliver improved call routing, dips into applications enabling those answering the phone to have relevant contextual information related to the call and the caller at their fingertips, and even improved security by using machine learning to detect and automatically respond to threats. AI, coupled with voice assistants, could enable individuals to use natural language to quickly start meetings and calls, and to retrieve information (e.g. saying “Pull up the sales forecasts for the next quarter” could result in a meeting app finding the relevant information and displaying it to meeting participants.
Augmented and/or virtual reality provides a new means of engagement for virtual and distributed workers, enabling them to visually participate in meetings even when miles away from each other, or from a conference room. Some Nemertes clients are already exploring how they can use wearable devices for information sharing, for example allowing an inspector to transmit live video into a meeting where it can be discussed. In another example, after the recent hurricanes wreaked havoc in Florida, power restoration crews used drones to conduct inspections and share the results, in real-time with teams of engineers and lineman, resulting in faster restoration times.
Ultimately it’s business cases that will drive the adoption of these emerging technologies. Communications service providers must be prepared to not only offer platforms capable of quickly supporting technologies like IoT, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence, but they must also establish themselves as strategic partners with their customers to identify and pursue opportunities to use emerging technologies as part of a digital transformation strategy to improve existing business processes or to take advantage of new revenue and customer retention opportunities.Find out more about combining UC, AI, and IoT using Dialogic BUZZ.