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How AI is Changing Unified Communications

In this special guest feature, Sam O’Brien from RingCentral, outlines how AI-driven tools and advancements are changing the face of UC for businesses. Sam is the senior website optimization and user experience manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at RingCentral. He has a passion for innovation and loves exploring ways to collaborate more with dispersed teams.

The potential applications of AI are stunningly wide-ranging. There’s hardly an industry, niche, or sector where the tech isn’t proving to be a game changer. And the field of unified communications (UC) is no exception.

You see, AI-driven tools and advancements are changing the face of UC for businesses. And while it’s still early days in the amalgamation of AI and UC, the following four principal areas are where AI is already having an impact. 

More Efficient Meetings & Conferences

Firstly, video conferences and virtual meetings are a lynchpin of many firms’ UC environments. And there are many ways in which AI is starting to support and improve communication in these areas. Indeed, AI can identify both who is taking part in a meeting and what they’re all discussing. Integrated into a UC platform, those capabilities present lots of opportunities.

For example, AI-driven bots can help individuals keep track of who’s speaking at any one time. They can also give info on participants gathered from social media or other online sources. If that wasn’t enough, a virtual assistant can help when a specific subject gets mentioned. Yes, staggeringly it can ID the topic and disseminate relevant resources to those in the meeting.

Then there are speech-to-text applications which AI can supercharge. That makes automated minute-taking a reality. RingCentral is currently in the process of building such an application. An example you might be more familiar with though is the automated subtitle and transcription service provided on Youtube videos.

AI-powered translation engines are also showing rapid improvement. That’s thanks to machine learning and natural language processing. It’s not an unrealistic stretch of the imagination for meetings to soon get held in two languages, all with no need for participants to be multilingual.

Streamlined Workflows & Internal Communication

It’s far from video conferencing alone where AI is reshaping UC solutions. There are many other ways AI is streamlining UC-related business processes. AI platforms and bots help many firms to simplify workflows and improve internal communication.

For example, automated bots can collect, disperse, analyze, and act upon data. That assists intelligent, automated scheduling, amongst other processes. Furthermore, a bot that’s  integrated with your UC platform can recognize when meetings get discussed before adding them to your schedule. Such bots can even offer advice to help you complete tasks.

AI also improves the ability of organizations to track their internal communications. UC platforms powered by AI can analyze conversations and deliver supporting information. Bugs or issues with interaction are also more easily spotted in the available data. That makes it simpler to improve processes and systems proactively.  

Advanced Analytics & Integration

As we all know, data is invaluable to companies. And it’s by processing and analyzing data that firms can make informed decisions.

Those are the kinds of choices that make a real difference to a company’s bottom line. And an integrated UC platform generates lots of potentially useful data. Things like call logs, recorded calls, email content, and more all add to the data pool.

AI – and particularly machine learning – can help you make more of that data. AI-driven analytics can swiftly identify patterns in the available information. That may include patterns in things like transcribed calls or customer complaint emails. Such information is invaluable if you want to improve future interactions.

Conversational AI, too, can help better integrate the elements of your UC platform. Voice assistants like Alexa are now commonplace at home. Enterprise UC platforms are starting to follow their lead. Many solutions now let you add items to your schedule by speaking to your desk phone. Further voice and AI-led integrations will surely follow.    

Personalization & Automation for Customers

Of course, UC isn’t all about internal business communications. Firms are also always looking for better ways to interact with customers. AI, in combination with UC, is also helping in this regard. Many businesses now employ chatbots as part of their customer-facing communications. Chatbots are the prime example of AI and machine learning in the customer service niche.

AI algorithms allow the bots to respond to customer queries and solve problems. They can deliver pre-prepared responses and point users to useful resources. What’s more, the more questions they handle, the better these bots become. That’s thanks to the data analysis and pattern recognition made possible by machine learning. 

AI & UC – The First Steps Toward a Match Made in Heaven

As in many areas, the use of AI in UC is still in its early stages. Features and applications are developing and improving all the time. Potential new uses for AI in different areas of UC are also continually devised and conceptualized.

It’s fair to assume that we’re far from realizing the full potential of AI in this area of business. What’s also sure, however, is that AI has already changed the face of UC forever.  

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Comments

  1. Further voice and AI-led integrations will surely follow – exactly! In full honestly, this is exactly what we are doing at Respeecher, we use proprietary deep learning (artificial intelligence) techniques to produce high-quality synthetic speech. Thanks for the article!

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