Enterprise Connect 2018 Round-up from Plivo

Plivo attended Enterprise Connect 2018 in Orlando last week. Here’s a quick roundup of the top trends we observed and the interesting conversations we had at the Plivo booth.

Migration to the cloud

If we had to single out one word that dominated most of the discussions at EC18, it would have to be “cloud.” According to recent Cloud Collaboration Survey, 80% of the businesses are considering migration to cloud in the next 24 months. We heard a lot of lively discussions around how a move to the cloud can have some major costs due to planning, infrastructure integrations, identity management, security reviews, procedure revisions, new devices and phones, system testing, rollout, and taxes. Presenters shared some tips and tricks on how to avoid the “gotchas” in a cloud migration. Everybody seemed to agree that cloudification of communication made business sense. For a company like Plivo, which was born in the cloud, this was music to our ears.

The rise and rise of communication APIs

The ability to integrate communications into applications, business processes, and workflows is an increasingly important requirement for many enterprises. The conference API track had an interesting session entitled “Why you should embrace the API movement.” The discussion there went beyond the obvious topic of voice and messaging APIs to prepackaged building blocks for integrating communication capabilities. There was talk around how much technology know-how and staff expertise affects the decision to use or not use CPaaS. Does prepackaged functionality come at the cost of flexibility? At Plivo, we had some answers to that in our booth. More on that in a moment.

The Year of WebRTC

WebRTC has existed for more than five years, but real-world adoption has been limited due to browser incompatibilities. The speakers at EC18 examined whether things were changing, and agreed that they were. Apple’s decision to add WebRTC support to Safari, plus efforts to develop a common open source video codec, have breathed new life into WebRTC for enterprise real-time communications. That matches our observation that Browser SDK, our web SDK with support for the Opus codec, has been gaining traction lately.

TADHack mini hackathon

Enterprise Connect

The TADHack event is my favorite place at Enterprise Connect. At TADHack-mini Orlando 2018 there was a diverse group of people from across the Orlando developer and technology communities, Florida universities, Enterprise Connect attendees, and remote entrants. A huge shout-out to Myles McNamara (Twitter: @tripflex), who developed an entire third-party verification system using Plivo. We’re always proud and excited when developers use Plivo APIs to do amazing things.

Conversations at the Plivo booth

Enterprise-Connect-v2

At our booth on the expo floor there was never a boring moment. We met tons of great people and had some lovely conversations. Four topics kept coming up:

“Save developers time”

Along with the move to the cloud, things like personalization, customization, and client-specific implementations continue to be critical to businesses. This puts a strain on developer resources and availability. There was a lot of conversation around how to reduce development cycle and save developers’ time while they’re creating complex advanced communication capabilities. Our preview of a new way of integrating communications was a huge hit and generated a lot of interest among technical and nontechnical people alike.

“Can you help us move to the cloud?”

Many of the people we talked to were thinking about a WebRTC implementation or had already started one. In a cloud-centric world, using WebRTC as the main voice endpoint makes sense. Rapid deployment, instant availability, and no hardware costs are huge drivers for this decision. We talked at length about our customers’ implementations and how Plivo is helping them differentiate and win based on call quality.

“What’s Plivo’s role in the contact center?”

In this rapidly changing industry, we’re seeing signs of shifting market dynamics. With some of the recent announcements of new entrants coming in from the cPaaS industry and competing with their erstwhile customers, there were discussions (and some trepidations) around the changing landscape. Customers wanted to know where we stand in the ecosystem. We made it clear that Plivo’s core business is to enable enterprises — including call centers — with innovations around integrating communications capability into their platform and business. We’re here to enable our call center customers, and not to compete with them. Our solution showcase for call centers was well-received.

“Quality”

Many of the attendees we talked to asked us about their SMS deliverability and voice quality pain points. Especially in international markets, these issues can be difficult to address with CPaaS providers that use aggregators and that lack direct relationships with carriers. Plivo’s direct relationships with 1,600+ carriers worldwide was pointed out as a huge differentiator. When we described Plivo’s market-leading quality-based routing technology, rather than least-cost routing, attendees were pleasantly surprised.

Final note

One of the final sessions of the conference was entitled “Is The Cloud Unavoidable?” The answer is a simple yes :)

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