Dreamforce 2015 Preview: Key Trends to Watch For

Dreamforce 2015 starts Tuesday, and there’s so much to discuss about this highly-anticipated event. This year’s show looks bigger and better than ever, with a notably impressive lineup of keynote speakers that includes Jessica Alba, actress and founder of The Honest Company; Goldie Hawn, actress and founder of The Hawn Foundation; and Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s recently appointed CEO, who I’m personally very interested to hear from, as he has been leading innovation at the company since taking over in early 2014.

As we count down the days to Dreamforce 2015, taking place September 15-18 in San Francisco, I become all the more eager to see the impact of  two huge trends that I expect to dominate breakout sessions, keynotes and conversations during downtime:

Integrating multiple applications into one: By enabling connectors among multiple different applications, users seamlessly acquire content from disparate applications through a single, easily-accessible interface. The goal here is to significantly enhance the day-to-day user experience by making it that much more immersive. We are seeing more organizations coming to the forefront with efforts to strengthen connectivity among the various environments where their employees live and work. This has been very exciting to see, and I look forward to the impact of the topic at this year’s event.

Multi-vendor/vendor-agnostic collaboration: This seems to be a trend that is rapidly growing within the enterprise, one which I am certainly pleased to witness. Empowering various working teams with real-time communications—regardless of the vendor that supports the equipment or infrastructure they use—is not only unbelievably useful, but truly transformative. This ability to connect in real-time across virtually every vendor environment is what we at Avaya believe to be the next generation of connectivity, enabling enterprise users to spark new connections, initiatives and deals immediately, in order to improve and sustain business like never before.

Salesforce has been working to make headway in this arena. For instance, Salesforce Chatter, the company’s free enterprise social network platform, enables employees to create Chatter sessions to begin communicating about projects and opportunities in real time, regardless of what infrastructure or other tools they may be using. I’m curious to see what other moves Salesforce intends to make to strengthen multi-vendor enterprise collaboration.

Whether you’re looking to hear key insights from disruptive industry leaders or hear tunes from this year’s featured band, the Foo Fighters, I hope to see you at this year’s Dreamforce 2015 event. If you’re on the show floor, visit us at booth #W841, Moscone West.

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Looking Back at Dreamforce—and Forward to Avaya’s Future

For those of us fortunate enough to attend Dreamforce 2017, the message was clear: We are in the midst of a staggering pace of change. Customers are more connected to brands than ever as new technologies and the capabilities afforded by them create what Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, calls the Fourth Industrial Revolution: The Age of Intelligence. In this era, the customer experience reigns supreme. Loyalty is earned, not a given. Companies must evolve ahead of their changing expectations and preferences.

To stay relevant, we must create the future.

As we turn the page to a new Avaya, the charge to create the future rings true. We are simultaneously creating the future of our company and the future of the customer experience. Avaya, with Salesforce and others, is embracing technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and blockchain. We’re making it possible for companies to identify and seize new opportunities unlocked by the massive amount of data generated by the Internet of Things.

Avaya’s Jean “JT” Turgeon, vice president, chief technologist and evangelist for Digital Transformation, spoke about this during his Dreamforce breakout session, saying that we need to talk about cloud technology, AI, IoT, cybersecurity and blockchain when we look at the digital transformation that is driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He also noted that “this isn’t a tomorrow thing—together with Salesforce, we have it now. This is a fast, agile Avaya.”

We can—and will—give our customers an incomparable advantage in competing through the customer experience. To do so, there needs to be an open ecosystem of companies coming together to provide the highest degree of choice and flexibility. Further, it’s incumbent upon each of the players in this open ecosystem to not only do what they do best, but to execute flawlessly. This is what our alliance with Salesforce delivers—a seamless experience between Avaya’s communications innovations and the Salesforce platform.

And this is just the beginning. Or rather, a new beginning built on decades of unparalleled expertise focused on communications innovation, re-energized, and putting the competition on notice.

From Dreamforce to Avaya ENGAGE

We are creating the future. Be part of it! Come to Avaya ENGAGE® 2018 in New Orleans, January 28-31. See what happens when Avaya, Salesforce, and other trusted partners come together to build an open ecosystem that transforms the digital experience. Ignite ideas for your business as you interact with and learn from customers, partners, and Avaya experts.

Sneak Peek of Avaya at Dreamforce: Convergence of AI, IoT, Blockchain

At Avaya, we have always been industry leaders in innovation. The digital transformation age has only provided more opportunity for our team to grow and continue to innovate, in entirely new and exciting ways. One of the ways we have been able to do this is by forming strong partnerships with other industry leaders, such as Avaya’s recently announced significant partnership with Salesforce, which we will be supporting and showcasing at this year’s Dreamforce event.

As part of Dreamforce, I have the privilege of taking the stage on behalf of Avaya as one of Salesforce’s premier partners to evaluate the role that Digital Technology is playing today, and the role it is poised to play tomorrow, in areas such as data security, self-service, facial recognition, digital identity, and fraud protection. A future of automation and contextually relevant insights is here—and it’s being shaped by technologies such as AI, IoT, sophisticated, pervasive and real-time analytics, and Blockchain architectures. These technologies will create massive business opportunities while dramatically evolving the future of customer and citizen experiences.

As part of my session, I will discuss use cases in market today, as well as future use cases, which exemplify the convergence of these disruptive technologies. A fascinating topic and one I am incredibly passionate and excited about. I couldn’t wait to take the stage to share these insights, so I will give you a taste of my Dreamforce session and show you a day-in-the-life example of how AI, IoT and Blockchain technologies are rapidly converging and providing tremendous value to both businesses and consumers.

The Roles of AI, IoT, Blockchain

In a world where we are constantly looking to deliver better experiences while driving higher levels of efficiencies for businesses, automation reigns supreme. With that in mind, it’s little wonder that AI (Artificial Intelligence)—with its ability to learn, adapt and personalize automatically—has become one of the latest, greatest buzzwords in technology.

The IoT (Internet of Things) is a buzzword that’s lost a bit of buzz. For the most part, consumers and business now understand and even expect the role it plays in connecting and streamlining our everyday business and consumer devices. As this expectation of connectivity grows, discussions have ramped up around the role IoT will continue to play in bringing real-time analytics outputs to automated frameworks (which AI is part of) and its ability to trigger sophisticated workflows to personalize and customize experiences.

So, we understand and appreciate the role these two important technologies play in increasing efficiencies and personalization in business and everyday life—but what about Blockchain?

With growth in connected, automated, personalized services, our needs around storing and accessing increased volumes of personal information have also grown. And with that growth, come requirements for much stronger security architecture with centralized models. Blockchain, a distributed architecture using cryptography and a concept of “write a record once,” provides enormous value to some of the use cases required as part of digital transformations.

When we combine AI, IoT and Blockchain, we get a very powerful solution. I see these being jointly implemented a lot more in the near future. Here’s how these technologies may all come together in your life….

Dreamforce Preview: Use Case Shows Converging AI, IoT, Blockchain

Imagine you’re going on a business trip in the next few weeks to Europe and you’re looking for the best airfare and hotel. You can easily use various web tools, or you can use a personal assistant, to help you find the best options available to you at the best price.

A few days after researching multiple options, you receive notification on your smart watch of a great deal, so you accept it. Rather than using a typical credit card to secure the deal, you use your company’s bitcoins (digital currency) to make the reservation.

A week later, as you are getting ready to board the plane, an announcement comes over the PA system. Unfortunately your flight has been delayed due to mechanical problems, and the delay will cause you to miss your connecting flight. Frustrated at this, you tweet about your experience. The airline has an AI solution that monitors social media and automatically reaches out to you via SMS, quickly connecting you with an agent.

(Take a moment to consider that as a customer of the airline, you have now gone through at least four or five channels to connect to their service before even boarding the flight. Easy to see the importance of a strong ominchannel strategy when you consider this.)

The AI platform that interacted with you via Twitter has also leveraged sentiment analysis to detect the tone of your tweet and determine you are very unhappy with your experience. The system then leverages another omnichannel connection to relay this contextual information to the agent who is assisting you.

Understanding the context of your situation and your frustrations, the airline provides you an upgrade to first class for your connecting flight. It also notifies the hotel connected to your booking of your delayed arrival, which has your digital identity (facial) stored in your profile, all secured/encrypted through the Blockchain architecture implemented by both the hotel and the airline.

As you arrive at the hotel, facial recognition analytics (via video surveillance) recognizes you walking into the hotel lobby and immediately notifies the manager on duty to welcome you and provide you with a suite upgrade.

This is just one example where AI, IoT, digital currency, and identity management using Blockchain all come together to transform the customer experience and build stronger loyalty.

Above all else, what this example shows is how much the world of customer service has changed. Where it used to be human-to-human as a first interaction, now more often, it is a human-to-machine/AI interaction that occurs well before you or someone in your business personally becomes involved.

Customers use multiple channels to connect to your services—and more importantly to talk about your product or service. You can’t be everywhere—but you can make it seem like you are by leveraging these technologies. Use technology to strengthen your omnichannel strategy and ultimately your overall customer experience, and gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly technologically integrated world.