SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Zeus Kerravala | December 14, 2017 |

 
   

5 Big UC Events of 2017

5 Big UC Events of 2017 Chart-topping news from 2017

Chart-topping news from 2017

The software-ization of the communications industry has enabled innovation to happen at a faster pace than ever before. This has an interesting market impact, as it enables new entrants to quickly jump into a market and disrupt it and causes established vendors to quickly build new products or acquire to compete with these new entrants. Market transitions are something that has been common in communications since it shifted to IP, but they're happening much faster today. This has created an environment where we should see more "big news" more often, and 2017 was a good example of this. Here are five news items and themes that I felt topped the charts in 2017.

portable


1. Avaya Goes into Bankruptcy and Exits
This is something that had been expected for quite some time, and finally in January the news of a bankruptcy filing dropped. A massive debt load combined with a declining revenue stream didn't leave the company enough cash to operate the business and compete effectively, so it bit the bullet and put together a restructuring plan. As part of the plan, the company wound up selling off its networking business to Extreme Networks, which allows the company to be 100% focused on communications. Although Avaya hasn't officially come out of bankruptcy yet as of this writing, it's expected to by the end of 2017. Now that the restructuring has been done, the hard work begins as the company looks to become more cloud-centric.

2. Mitel Acquires ShoreTel
Over the past several years Mitel has been acquiring competitors to expand its customer base or to add technology. About three years ago it made an offer for ShoreTel, which was rejected. Toward the end of July, it finally got the ShoreTel board to accept an offer of $430 million, which was about $140 million less than its original offer. The ShoreTel acquisition gives Mitel an excellent cloud platform to convert the combined installed base, which also includes the North American Toshiba business, also acquired in 2017. The question for Mitel isn't whether they will make another acquisition, but rather who that might be. One of the missing components of Mitel's UC portfolio is video and someone like Vidyo, a current Mitel partner, would make sense. Regardless of who it is, Mitel CEO Rich McBee and CFO Steven Spooner will ensure it gets a great deal.

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Comes to UC in a Big Way
The intersection of UC and AI is something that the industry has been discussing for a couple of years. In 2017, AI-infused UC came to life with both Cisco and Microsoft giving us a glimpse of the future. In September at its Ignite conference, Microsoft showed off its activity maps of a worker's usage patterns across Microsoft Office 365, LinkedIn, and Dynamics 365, which provides deep contextual intelligence. Businesses can then ask virtual assistant Cortana to interpret the data and find new insights. Less than a month after that, Cisco held a press event to show off all the cool things it was working on with AI. This includes its own voice agent Spark Assistant, video analytics, virtual reality collaboration, auto-mute capabilities, and automatic speaker video framing. Microsoft's advantage is the wealth of data it owns, where Cisco's advantage is its ability control the entire end-to-end experience. This should set up a nice battle to watch in the coming years.

4. Amazon Jumps into the Contact Center Space
In March at Enterprise Connect, Amazon Web Services (AWS) made a big splash when it announced its Connect cloud contact center solution. The new offering gave rise to a number of news headlines that predicted doom for the likes of Five9 and NICE inContact. I believe Amazon's entry into the cloud contact center market legitimizes the industry but in this post, I took a look at many of the shortcomings of the current offering. I certainly think that Amazon could be a major disruptor in this market, as it's been in many other markets, but it's likely at least three years away from having an enterprise-grade solution. Meanwhile, vendors like Five9 and Talkdesk continue to see strong growth as the market transitions to the cloud. Evidence of this can be seen in Five9's stock price, which has nearly doubled in the past year and tripled in the past two years.

5. Cisco Acquires BroadSoft
On the eve of BroadSoft's annual Connections event, Cisco announced its intent to acquire BroadSoft, one of the driving forces of UC moving to the cloud, for a shade under $2 billion. The purchase of BroadSoft has a number of financial benefits for Cisco, as it will be accretive to both revenue and gross margins. Considering BroadSoft's expected growth numbers and profitability, the price point of $1.9 billion seemed relatively modest. The acquisition was certainly a win-win for both companies, as it expands BroadSoft's reach and gives Cisco a viable multi-tenant, highly scalable cloud right now, instead of it having to go build one itself. The purchase will create a ripple effect of changes with non-BroadSoft cloud providers as they look to capitalize on any concerns with the transfer of ownership. Also, BroadSoft had many partners, such as Avaya and Polycom, that are competitive with Cisco. Cisco has stated it will keep BroadSoft an open platform -- and I believe they will, but that doesn't preclude them from creating a BroadSoft + Cisco offering that has special pricing or unique features.

2017 was a certainly a fun year in unified communications, and based on everything that happened this year, we're setting up for an even better 2018. See you all at Enterprise Connect!

Get all the latest in enterprise communications at Enterprise Connect 2018, March 12 to 15, in Orlando, Fla. Register now using the code NOJITTER to save an additional $200 off the Advance Rate or get a free Expo Plus pass.

Related content:

Follow Zeus Kerravala on Twitter and Google+!
@zkerravala
Zeus Kerravala on Google+





COMMENTS




April 25, 2018

Yesterdays simple phone call to a contact center or business location is rapidly becoming todays interactive session, spanning multiple channels and devices. If you need to know how Omnichannel can

March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

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 BlogGeek.me 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.