Unified communications solutions that seamlessly unite voice, video, mobile, messaging, file sharing and conferencing have proven invaluable for supporting the transition to hybrid and remote work environments. UC is poised to deliver even greater business benefits through the increased use of artificial intelligence (AI).
The integration of virtual agents, speech-to-text capabilities, advanced error detection, automated data entry and real-time data analysis greatly enhances UC and simplifies workflows for end-users. Here are some of the ways AI improves UC:
- Better customer experience. Contact center UC systems were some of the first business systems to incorporate AI on a large scale. Chatbots, automated call routing and data analytics have been instrumental in improving customer interactions, automating routine tasks, analyzing large datasets and improving time to resolution.
- Increased productivity. Digital assistants can automate many routine tasks, giving employees extra time to work on more pressing issues. For example, AI-powered bots can help schedule meetings, make calls, send text messages and even translate voice mails to text.
- Enhanced collaboration. Cognitive collaboration features can improve virtual meetings by giving participants useful information about others in attendance, with intelligence gathered by bots from social media and other online sources. During meetings, AI-powered digital assistants can conduct research in the background, looking up answers in real time without being prompted.
- Better data analysis. UC systems generate enormous amounts of data. AI can analyze data logs to identify and troubleshoot issues affecting UC system performance. Predictive analytics algorithms can collect and analyze data from all communication channels, including audio visual systems, to identify trends and deliver suggestions about improving performance.
- Stronger security. AI systems learn to spot anomalies and automate responses to attempted attacks. For example, deep neural networks can process millions of emails to learn the telltale signs of malicious emails. Machine learning algorithms can even analyze grammar and syntax in texts and emails to spot likely frauds.
Security is a considerable paradox in the AI world, however. While these systems are very good at identifying and reacting to threats in other business systems, they are themselves becoming very attractive targets for malicious actors.
AI solutions access and analyze vast amounts of sensitive data contained within UC systems, which creates a significantly expanded attack surface. Attacks that manipulate data or modify machine learning algorithms can change the way systems classify and interpret information, which can result in faulty reports and misclassified data.
Consider these steps for protecting your AI-enhanced UC systems:
- Establish data governance processes. Inaccurate or maliciously altered data can result in inaccurate and damaging decisions. A sound data governance program should establish a framework for storing, archiving, backing up and securing data. Consider building AI algorithms that audit and ensure the quality of other algorithms.
- Protect your data. UC requires end-to-end encryption to protect all forms of data, both in transit and at rest. Cryptographic systems should adhere to Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) encryption guidelines to ensure compliance with privacy guidelines such as HIPAA, GDPR and PCI DSS. Firewalls and session border controllers should be implemented to protect files and information moving through the cloud.
- Control access. Implement strong password policies and two-factor authentication to restrict access to UC accounts. Stronger measures such as identity and access management (IAM) solutions integrate a variety of tools such as authentication, user provisioning, password management and single sign-on into a comprehensive platform.
AI technologies such as machine learning, predictive analytics and natural language processing help organizations provider a smarter and stronger collaboration experience, but there are potential security pitfalls. The UC experts at IPC can help you enhance your communications and collaboration platform with secure AI capabilities.