Though I admittedly have a shameless self-interest in a workforce of the future where human capital is still highly valued, there’s no denying that bots will play an important role which was evident in the Verizon booth at the recent annual Enterprise Connect conference. AI-powered bots actually starred in several booth demos, including one that promises to simplify workforce collaboration.
While at the Verizon booth, I caught up with Michael Winkler with the company’s product management and development team who was demonstrating a solution that simplifies workplace collaboration by essentially enlisting AI-powered bots to do the often tedious, yet necessary, tasks of aligning schedules, setting up Cisco WebEx or Spark conference rooms or even reaching out to a team member to check if they are free to join an impromptu discussion. I watched in awe as Mike simply spoke a few commands into his mobile phone – the basic who, what and when – then his bot went to work, and voila, the ‘where’ soon appeared on his mobile calendar via a meeting invite with a meeting room link that participants can seamlessly and securely open from mobile devices or desktops.
Enlisting a bot as a personal assistant for work -- think Alexa at your office instead of on your kitchen counter -- is an intriguing idea, especially if this can remove some of the complexity that is often associated with deploying advanced technologies across an enterprise. And while my work bot ‘assistant’ is not capable of writing my stories and press releases thankfully (a job function still safe from automation!), help with administrative tasks would be a welcome time saver that can lead to greater productivity.
As Michael explained, to power up the collaboration bots his team created an AI-based bot that can extend to a variety of business applications whether using Cisco Jabber or Spark, or even a Verizon messaging client. This process simplifies access to conferencing services, and can find out when people are available or even just ask if they can join a call.
This strikes me as a much needed collaboration tool for today’s ‘anywhere workforce’ and the Verizon team is working to make these types of valuable collaboration tools available to its business customers in the future.