We’ve seen a lot of evolution in everyone’s favourite online marketplace lately. What began as an exotic solution for finding books and other unique items, as quickly evolved into something that could quite easily earn it’s predicted “trillion-dollar” evaluation in the years ahead.
From an outsider’s perspective, the recent moves made by Amazon might seem a little disjointed. For instance, the company started by introducing a “Geek Squad” to simplify and improve customer experience, then went onto focus on building their grocery-shopping section with the purchase of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion.
However, if you look a little closer, you’ll begin to notice that every step made by Amazon, is a step towards a company that’s truly comprehensive. From a store that offers exclusive-brand clothing for it’s Prime members, to a solution that provides communication and collaboration innovation to businesses – Amazon wants to be the one-stop-shop, for everything.
Right now, we’re seeing some evidence of that development as Amazon searches for new ways to grow in the UC space, looking to either build their own team collaboration app from scratch, or build upon the preexisting popularity and loyalty earned by “Slack”.
In 2017 UC Today awarded BroadSoft the Iron Throne. If Amazon are successful in their quest, they could become the new king of UC&C in 2018.
Looking into the Future for Amazon
Amazon have been exploring their roots in the UC&C sector for a little while now. Not so long ago, you might recall the introduction of AWS “Chime”, a solution for video and audio conferencing, intended for use by a range of connected businesses.
Barely a few weeks after the Chime announcement, Amazon expanded their UC even further, with the introduction of “Connect”, a cloud-based contact centre. All the while, new opportunities were emerging from the consumer side of Amazon too, with things like the Echo Show.
Though Amazon obviously have some work to do before they become as synonymous with UC&C as giants like Microsoft, there’s a good sign that the company is pushing forward into this new development as quickly and aggressively as possible. With the implementation of an app like Slack, Amazon could easily begin to rival serious UC competitors in no time.
Perhaps one of the key things that makes an Amazon collaboration solution so appealing from a business perspective, is that the company lacks any of the legacy issues that you might have encountered with Microsoft or Cisco. Amazon has always been online, which means that there’s plenty of opportunity there for some serious, and speedy growth.
Of course, Amazon isn’t flawless. Devices like the Echo Show, and services like Chime and Connect are struggling to gain traction in a world that’s dominated by higher-ranking apps, and pre-established Work-stream solutions.
To get ahead of Cisco and Microsoft, Amazon would have to convince customers to abandon something they’re already familiar with, and embrace an alternative that’s new, strange, and worrisome. Of course, by adopting Slack, they could overcome that particular problem, but there’s a good chance that Amazon will still have some battles to face. For instance, Amazon has no telephony or VoIP background, unlike Cisco and Microsoft.
Competing with Cisco and Microsoft
If Cisco and Microsoft want to maintain their spots as the “Kings of the Castle”, then they’re going to need to look into ways that they can make their offerings more appealing than whatever Amazon potentially has to offer. After all, Slack’s partnership add-on collection is much broader than what’s currently offered by Cisco or Microsoft.
To maintain their lead, Microsoft and Cisco will need to think about building their inter-operability features, and making life easier for their partners.
The growth of AI and new technology is yet another area that needs to be considered. Cisco Spark, Microsoft Teams, and Slack are all looking deeper into the possibilities that AI have to offer for productivity and customer service. While Microsoft and Cisco also have a range of AI solutions to choose from, it’s likely that they’ll need to start introducing some pretty incredible new developments if they want to stay ahead of Amazon.
Is Amazon Taking Over?
It’s easy to be impressed by Amazon’s journey into the UC&C space. After all, despite the size of the company, it’s thrilling to see how quickly they’ve pushed their way into the adoption of new technology and services.
If Amazon does purchase Slack, or chooses to build a UC app of their own, then it could present a unique and interesting alternative to companies who aren’t interested in pursuing the Cisco, or Microsoft route. However, it’s worth noting that Amazon probably does stand the best chance of success, if it chooses to combine it’s efforts with Slack.
The existing popularity of Slack, combined with Amazon’s knack for innovation could make the result something truly revolutionary. Right now, we’ll just have to wait and see what the tide brings.
Rob is Founder & Publisher of UC Today, a leading news publication specialising in Unified Communications & Collaboration technologies.