Grey Chatter: Leading Into a World of 'intelligent Communication'

By Randhir Dhawan, Technology Solution Professional, Microsoft India

randhirUnified communication (UC) – with efforts from Microsoft, IBM, CISCO, AVAYA etc. was an effort to integrate silos such as - Telephony, Instant Messaging, email, Audio, Video, web Conferencing etc. This has been the primary communication tool ever since the age of the Internet. The idea was to provide a single interface for any form of communications. The idea of Unified Solution was widely adopted by the organizations, for cost savings & productivity enhancements for the end users. But with Digital culture all set to explode, the need for effective Digital communication has gone up manifold.

The Future of Business Meetings

‘Consumerization of IT’ has forced the enterprise to make the ‘Individual’ the focal point of its products and services. Prime examples are use of Personal Digital Assistants like Siri or Cortana, Social Media such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter etc. as tools of choice for communications, especially with Millennials. With our personal social and devices preferences reflecting productivity, there is a need to provide similar tools across the enterprise as well.

Let’s look at how business meetings would happen in the future:

• Before the meeting:

o These tools will surface relevant notes, documents and rich information about the participants to help you prepare. The information would be sourced from emails, document libraries, linkedIn and other social tools.

o Proactively suggest people & content when scheduling a meeting on a particular topic

 o Quick access to people I collaborate with frequently.

• During the meeting: o Minimal context switching between tools

 o The conversation can be captured, transcribed, and time-coded, with closed captioning and voice recognition for attributing remarks to specific individuals.

 o Remove language barriers by providing real-time translations

• After the meeting:

 o The cloud recording and transcript can be automatically added to the relevantrepository, so conversations, documents, notes, and action items can be reviewed, indexed, and searched by the entire team.

Manifestation of Intelligent Communication Solutions

These characteristics define the need to transform calling and meeting experiences for people and organizations. These experiences would also include:

Integration capabilities: These tools need to have Industry standard APIs – e.g. REST, so that they can be integrated with Line of Business applications. The integrated interfaces should go beyond communication and also work with data.

 Guest Access: The ability to bring in people outside of your organization into this collaborative meeting environment seamlessly. 3

 Ability to include calls to PSTN numbers in the same meeting as VoIP

 Persistent chat, complete call analytics and ability to reference documents from document libraries, Notes, Emails, Drive etc.

Microsoft has realized this vision via Teams which is the hub for teamwork in Office 365, and helps build a team environment dedicated to that project, campaign, or department. It cuts across organizational boundaries by allowing private chats or group conversations take place from anywhere and across mobile, desktop or browsers. The work that traditionally required an in-person meeting happens right in the hub— through chat, calls, smaller group video conferences, and shared files— faster than before and from virtually anywhere. With this, employees can have access to conversations, files, people, and apps in one team workspace—ultimately spending less time searching and more time making decisions. It also enables users to customize and automate their chats with dozens of first-party chatbots and third-party app integrations. Chatbots can instantaneously improve employee efficiency. Instead of relying on an employee to pull data or retrieve an alert or email, chatbots alert teams when an action is needed or a report is ready. Teams also provide data-encryption for at-rest and in-transit data in company cloud storage and email; Compliance leadership with EUMC, HIPAA, and more; multi-factor authentication; and secure guest access help protect sensitive company information from multiple angles. Organizations should start exploring these new age solutions in their environments as part of their Digital transformation journey.

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