My EC17

by Dave Michels

I have a lot to say about EC17 and will be doing so over the next few weeks over several channels (it all lands at

Three weeks ago I posted

EC17 will a pivotal year. Transitions in enterprise communications take more than a year, but I think when we look back we will associate the turn with EC17. Of course we need to wait for EC17 to see if my Spidey-Sense is right, but…

Was I right?

Download the TalkingPointz 2Pager on EC17

Certainly, the contact center space is in motion. EC17 had a lot of contact center firsts including: the first EC without a standalone ININ, no Avaya, a big surprise from Amazon, a little surprise from Cisco, and IoT galore. The other shoe – automated agents – hasn’t even dropped yet.

Workstream Messaging was more or less incremental from last year. I give the transition nod to EC16. There were really no major announcements at the event, but momentum is clearly building. It’s a very interesting space that does excite me – sorta fixing everything wrong about UC 1.0. The most interesting developments year to date are the GA of MS Teams, 8×8-SameRoom, RingCentral Glip UI, and Cisco SparkBoard – all of which occurred before EC17.

CPaaS continues to rock EC, but again I give the transition nod to EC16. Technically Twilio had its first keynote, but it was at least a year overdue.  

Here’s a preview of some longer content coming from me regarding EC17:

  • UC as a marketing term has run its course. Don’t confuse this with end-of-life from a tech perspective.
  • Workstream messaging, team collaboration, Team Chat, PCS – still a nomenclature disaster. It’s time again for my annual post on this matter.  
  • It was pretty hard to hide from workstream messaging at EC17. It was in three of the five keynotes and about 98 percent of the sessions.
  • We are at the beginning of the end of “customer engagement” – hallelujah! That’s the term contact center companies use to justify big ticket sales. While the battle for large enterprise contact centers will continue with fewer leaders, the real drama will be emerging new models that deliver value and ROI faster to a much larger market.
  • Where was Apple? Without actually attending, the iconic company has somehow managed to dominate prior EC conferences. In the past we have seen iOS devices in all the keynotes. Half my briefings used to be presented on iPads. Popular booth prizes were iPods or Apple Watches. I didn’t see many Apple products this year other than personal use devices. Even the vendors that support Callkit kept it low favoring (shocking!) their own UI instead.
  • I thought the Slack booth was really impressive – too bad they didn’t bring it to EC17. I wanted to get a selfie in front of the booth to show my grand-kids. (see related)
  • Even a cloud service with 5-7 nines of availability is useless if you can’t access it.
  • Ready, Fire, Aim! Several new products were barely viable, but that’s the new model of rapid iteration.
  • WebRTC finally takes its proper place. There were two very good WebRTC apps both under the name of Chime. But, it’s no longer being billed across the conference as a disruptive force that it never was.
  • The communications industry is torn between packaged applications and rich customization and integration via APIs. While the latter is ultimately more versatile, the shortage of quality developers and the trend to outsource complicates the equation.
  • The keynotes were more diverse this year. I’ve watched and rewatched them all several times now. Ranked in order: Cisco, Amazon, Twilio, Microsoft, Google. More to come.
  • There will be 25 billion IoT devices at EC20.
  • A good year for enterprise video. Lots happening here, particularly from the edges.
  • Every keynote had a ‘buy it all from us’ component while simultaneously bashing monolithic systems. If a monolithic system has APIs, is it still monolithic?  

I had a pretty tough EC17 – I think it was food poisoning but who knows. It’s a shame because it’s typically my busiest week of the year. I even adjusted to East Coast Time the week prior to eliminate jet lag. I had a full calendar of meetings with the movers and shakers of the industry, but only made it to about half of them.

I still managed to get a lot out of the week, and I spent last weekend catching up on sessions. There was tremendous activity across the entire conference. I think EC17 hit a new high on ‘gee wow’ moments.

#stay-tuned – more EC17 content planned during all of April

Download the TalkingPointz 2Pager on EC17