Unified communications enables employees to communicate and collaborate more effectively through screen sharing, video conferencing, mobile apps and more. But adding artificial intelligence to the mix promises to send productivity through the roof, so it’s not surprising to see enterprises jump at the chance to experiment. More than 40 percent say they plan to incorporate AI into their UC systems by the end of 2019.
Still, even as artificial intelligence transforms communications and collaboration, it also raises new security concerns. Let’s take a deeper dive to understand how AI enhances unified communications and what enterprises need to do to maintain a secure communications environment.
Artificial Intelligence: Emphasizing the unified in UC
If you thought unified communications was great for efficiency and collaboration, just wait until you see how AI enhances UC.
Improved collaboration: Integration of AI chatbots into UC applications opens new doors for collaboration by gathering status updates from team members and even alerting members via an app, email, SMS or push notification if an error occurs on a product or process. When chatbots keep everyone and everything connected, employees can more easily troubleshoot together, keep track of each other’s progress on projects and share ideas and information.
Easier access and use of data: AI virtual assistants improve access to documents and other information, automatically gathering and distributing data to employees’ devices —whether it be a presentation, a video or PDF. If questions on a prior discussion or topic arise during a meeting, the assistant retrieves pertinent emails, messages or documents. As voice assistants such as Cortana and Alexa become more ingrained in the workplace, these requests may even be made through voice recognition. Attendees stay focused and engaged in the conversation, with all information at their fingertips.
Increased productivity: Chatbots field straightforward calls and online chats with customers, allowing your customer service team to focus on more complex calls and issues. In meetings, attendees concentrate on the content and discussion rather than on the communications tools. The AI assistant even initiates the conference automatically.
Better efficiencies: Wouldn’t it be great to have someone else send meeting notes, assign action items and schedule follow-up calls? The AI assistant handles all of it, allowing human attendees to spend their time on more complex and higher value activities. AI also simplifies scheduling by identifying times that work for everyone. In the not-too-distant future, facial and voice recognition technologies will take attendance at meetings, eliminating yet another mundane and time-consuming task.
How to mitigate AI security issues
While the benefits of AI and UC are many, the security of your communications system will also require more attention. AI technology accesses vast amounts of enterprise data on products, processes and customers. If an attack occurs, all of that data becomes vulnerable.
New standards and protocols will emerge as AI plays a bigger role in enterprise communications systems, so organizations must remain vigilant to stay compliant with the latest requirements. Enterprises also have an obligation to protect the data gathered about their customers.
In addition, there are likely to be security challenges with BYOD, as employees’ AI-enhanced personal devices enter the workplace. Some organizations opt to disable voice assistants such as Siri in the workplace. But, as employees bring newer devices like the Amazon Echo to the office, organizations will need to assess emerging AI technologies for security threats and establish clear guidelines in a formal security policy.
A positive note here is that AI actually enhances data and communications security. It will scan for potential threats and alert IT and security teams when vulnerabilities or possible attacks occur. Security professionals are able to respond far more quickly with the help of these technologies.
As AI and UC blend, organizations gain an extremely powerful set of communications and team collaboration tools. Productivity skyrockets, efficiency improves and data is more accessible than ever before. But the architecture must have a stable base, with security as a main priority. This is the best way to reap the benefits of AI and UC while minimizing the risks.