Innovation Showcase Deadline Approaching

by Dave Michels

As you may know, I’ve been known to enjoy a few episodes of Star Trek. Many people don’t realize how much tech evolves even in science fiction. It takes the Federation, for example, years to figure out Cloaking technology that the Kingons mastered.

One mainstay in all of the Trek series is the speech UI. Like video conferencing, it’s considered so basic and so obvious that it’s just part normal interaction. You never hear a Starfleet captain say something like “You aren’t going to be believe this, I’m calling from space.”

Video arrived some time ago. For many relationships, video calls (such as FaceTime) are more normal than voice calls. But the speech UI only newly arriving.

My son uses his Google Home so much that he keeps adding new ones to each room. He regularly queries it for information as well as uses it as an intercom of sorts. The tech is either incredibly advanced or somewhat primitive depending on your perspective. It seems to generally understand language, and seems remarkably adept and common requests such as setting a timer or checking the weather. I think back to those old IVRs with regimental press 1 for this or 2 for that and it’s a huge upgrade. These new voice speakers have eliminated the menu.

On the other hand, they are still pretty limited. HAL on 2001 was actually able to carry a conversation. The “operating system” in the movie Her was like a best friend that can provide intellectual insights in natural conversations. We aren’t there yet – but at the current rate of speech innovation, we will be soon.

That brings me to the Innovation Showcase at Enterprise Connect. The Showcase highlights new companies and new solutions to the Enterprise Connect audience. This year, the theme is speech. We are looking for some innovation solutions that utilize speech tech and the deadline is quickly approaching.

Everything you need to know is here:

I’ve done a few other posts on the Showcase and Speech here.

I have seen some great demos from the likes of  Vonage, Cisco, Mitel, and RingCentral. Most of those use Alexa, but there’s some compelling other alternatives. However, none of those companies are eligible for the Showcase. Eligibility rule number one:

  • Eligible companies must not have exhibited at EC17; one goal of the Showcase is to introduce the EC audience to new companies. (see other programs such as Best of Show that recognize returning vendors).

The Innovation Showcase is a great space to see what’s new and emerging. And speech is wide-open. There are all types of new applications that are designed to make technology more accessible, intelligent, and invisible. The Showcase companies will be presenting on Monday morning at Enterprise Connect.