Enterprise Connect 2013 in Surround Sound

Enterprise Connect 2013 in Surround Sound

By Jim Burton March 14, 2013 Leave a Comment
UCStrategies Experts Podcast logo
Enterprise Connect 2013 in Surround Sound by Jim Burton

In a special Industry Buzz podcast previewing Enterprise Connect 2013, the UCStrategies Experts use new conferencing technology that will be demonstrated at next week's event. The partnership between Dolby and BT Conferencing aims to transform the user experience around conferencing with spatial audio. (Use a stereo headset or stereo speakers to experience the full effect.) Jim Burton moderates the podcast, and welcomes guests Andrew Border, Vice President of Dolby Voice, and Daniel Edwards, Vice President of Marketing for BT Conferencing. Also taking up virtual positions around the conference table in today's conversation are UCStrategies Experts Don Van Doren, Jon ArnoldMichael FinneranMarty Parker, Dave MichelsSteve LeadenPhil Edholm, and Art Rosenberg.

Unified Communications Strategies

Also on UCStrategies.com on this topic:

Loading media...

Transcript for Enterprise Connect 2013 in Surround Sound

Jim Burton: Welcome to UCStrategies Industry Buzz. This is Jim Burton, and I’m joined as usual by the UCStrategies team of experts. Hello, guys.

You may have noticed, if you're listening to this in a stereo system of any kind, that you can hear people coming from different directions. I encourage any of you who are reading this podcast to put on a headset, and anybody who is listening to this podcast, put on a stereo headset to listen to this or listen to it from your stereo speakers, because we are doing a podcast on what’s going to be happening at Enterprise Connect next week. And one of those things that will be happening is that Dolby will be announcing a partnership with BT Conferencing – that’s actually been announced (previously) – but they’ll be demonstrating the technology and the product. With us today is Andrew Border, Vice President of the group who is delivering this technology. He’s here to talk to us a little bit about what’s going on, what they’ll be doing next week, and a little bit about the technology. So Andrew, over to you.

Andrew Border: Hi Jim. Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk you and the UCStrategies team. We’re really excited to be able to help out and deliver this podcast using the technology today, and to have the opportunity to speak to you about what we’re doing at Enterprise Connect with BT.

So I guess just by way of introduction, Jim and the team, we’re tremendously excited from the Dolby point of view about the opportunity to be able to really transform the user experience around conferencing. Our goal here is to deliver a very different sort of meeting experience, which enables people to communicate in different, more natural ways. Really for Dolby, it’s a great opportunity to take what we’ve spent the last 40 years in terms of working in signal processing to deliver great experiences on the entertainment side, and apply that knowledge of signal processing and psychoacoustics to this critical area of, how do we enable better business meetings and better communications?

We’re really proud to be able to have partnered with BT on bringing this service to market. At Enterprise Connect, we’ll be launching this service and having demonstrations at the tradeshow floor to really show off this technology. With that, I’d like to introduce Daniel Edwards. Daniel is the VP of marketing for BT Consulting.  

Daniel Edwards: Hello Andrew. Thanks for inviting me.

Andrew Border: Jim, maybe it’d be worth talking just a little bit about what makes the Dolby solution with BT conferencing different, if that would be useful for the listeners today.

Jim Burton: I think that’d be great. I just wanted to point out; I noticed that as you were talking, you were kind of in front of me, maybe just a little bit to my right. When Daniel joined, he was much further to the right. So I could tell that you were in different spots. I know that in this particular case you're in very different spots. I think you're in California, Andrew, and Daniel, I think you're in the Boston area?

Daniel Edwards: I’m just outside of Boston, yes.

Andrew Border: Yes, that’s right. I’m in Sunnyvale in Silicon Valley Jim.

Daniel Edwards: And, we still have snow on the ground here – lots of it.

Andrew Border: We have fine, sunny, California weather.

Marty Parker: Yeah, but in Silicon Valley there’s snow in the marketing department.

Andrew Border: Well, actually we’ve just demonstrated one of the great things that Jim was referring to – the spatial audio scene there. One of the things it does is actually allow it to have a very natural interaction. So hopefully when everyone laughed at the joke there, we actually feel as though we’re much more connected in the call because we could actually hear the laughter. Rather than presenting that just as a mono mix to the user, we presented it in this spatial scene that Jim was referring to.

One of the things we’ve done is actually do a lot of work in that area because there’s been a lot of focus on wideband and HD voice in the UC space. Dolby is very, very passionately committed to that. It makes a huge difference in terms of intelligibility and call fidelity. In audio conferencing we think there’s a lot more scope for improving that experience. So by delivering this spatial scene that we talk about, it really allows the users to get the benefits of being able to hear multiple talkers on the call and really leverages the power of the human brain to be able to separate different talkers and distracting noise.

If you think about this, this works the way that we hear in everyday life. There's actually well-understood research over 50 years old in terms of these sorts of factors. It’s actually referred to as the “cocktail party effect” in the research. If you imagine you're at a cocktail party and there’s noisy background noise from glasses clinking, there are people talking around you, and you want to focus on what someone is saying to you, you’re very able in that scenario to be able to focus on the sounds that you want to listen to, and not be distracted as much by other sounds around you. That’s really the sort of capability that we’re bringing to the conference call.

The idea is that we really want to deliver a solution where Dolby voice in BT Meet Me Conferencing, helps you focus on the call rather than the connection. So it’s really about delivering a much more immersive experience. It’s really built on obviously the wideband experience, but much more than that, it’s delivering a communication solution which really mimics the way that we hear and interact in everyday life.

Jim Burton: That’s great. I know one of the questions people are going to have after they see this – because I’ve been saying this for a couple years now, having worked with you that long – is when can I have it?

Andrew Border: In this instance I’m going to pass over to Daniel, because BT is really the route to market for Dolby with this technology. Daniel, would you have some comments around the availability of the solution?

Daniel Edwards: Right now, we’re just in the midst of closing out a proof of concept, which we’ve worked on very hard with the Dolby folks. The immediate responses and results out of that – that proof of concept – have been nothing short of excellent. The next stage of the process is we’re going to launch a service trial. So we can arrange potentially for some of your audience to be part of that service trial, if you're interested. That service trial will probably run us through around the June/July time frame. Then we’ll be looking to launch it for service sometime thereafter. So, we’re probably looking at some time in the latter part of this year. We’re talking months, not years, for this to be available.

Jim Burton: Daniel, I don't think you're going to have a problem getting people to sign up to help you with the trial. In fact, that’s probably going to be one of your biggest challenges – figuring out who is going to get in on that trial. I’d like to volunteer to be first, please.

Daniel Edwards: Sure, no problem. It’s really fun to experience this for the first time. I still remember the first time meeting with Andrew and with Jeff when they first showed me this. Really, what struck me was the laughter, actually. Someone laughed and I could immediately hear it, whereas in the traditional service – and we still think we provide high, high quality service. The analysts in large part believe that BT provides one of the better quality enterprise audio solutions. But the actual ability to differentiate voices and sounds and things was wonderful.

Then we had a chance to take in and demonstrate to one of our very large customers. The response from that customer was pretty interesting, from my perspective. She said it was like “telepresence for audio.” I was like wow, that’s a great way (to describe it). Even though I’m a marketing person, I didn’t come up with that. It was actually a client. I think you're absolutely right. A number of our customers have already expressed a strong interest in being a part of the service trial. I will be happy to make it available to people as we can.

Jim Burton: That’s great.

Daniel Edwards: One of the things I think is an important piece to note is we are starting to see more and more soft client applications around voice, and we see this as a centerpiece of that move for us. That’s why we're really pleased with partnering with Dolby on that. We see that increasingly clients will look for soft clients to be able to leverage voice solutions. It’s not just limiting yourself by saying you have to use a soft client to get there. But this is an added benefit from a soft client. There’s a reason why you use the soft client, in this case. It provides real value in terms of the overall user experience. We think that’s a critical piece to our strategy because if you simply try to push people to use a new technology without providing benefits for it and having a benefits story, it’s much, much harder to do. But in this case, I think the benefit is, for anybody who has joined this call or is listening to this, and sort of on the wideband experience on the application will hear the value and the reason why we’re doing it. I think that’s going to be a really critical piece to getting people to adopt new technology. We’re also very excited about that as a core added development to our portfolio.

Jim Burton: I agree. I think it’s really important. You certainly get the benefit here. But for the benefit of those listening in, I’m going to ask two of my colleagues, Don Van Doren and Jon Arnold, who had to dial in, to speak. Don is on a road in the mountains and is cutting in and out. Don, why don’t you just talk so people can get a chance to hear about what it sounds like from you as you’re driving down the road.

Don Van Doren: Yes Jim, I certainly can. I think this is just a fascinating discussion. Frankly, the ability of Dolby and their alliance with BT to present this kind of conferencing, I think, is going to be a real interesting step forward. I am delighted to be a part of this call.

Jim Burton: That’s great. Jon Arnold, who is on a landline, you heard someone can call in from a cell phone. John, why don’t you talk to us again to see how you sound.

Jon Arnold: Yeah, great. I hope you can hear me alright. Technically I’m calling in on a VoIP line and like Phil, I’ve had a lot of in-depth experience with the DiamondWare experience. So, I’m pretty familiar with the concept. I think it can be a real differentiator, especially for contact center applications. I think there’s a lot of upside for this application for sure.

Andrew Border: Jim, just to pick up on that little example there, what’s really interesting – and hopefully people will be able to hear this pretty clearly on the recording. Even though John and Don actually dialed in via the PSTN, for the folks who are joined through the soft client experience, we heard them as more narrow band signals obviously because they’re coming in through the public telephony network. But they still would have had a position in the spatial scene. So number one, it helps actually in being able to identify the different talkers. But two, the way the human brain processes sound and distracting noises, it helps you isolate any distracting noise that may come in from the PSTN callers as well, because that noise will essentially be coming from one part of the spatial scene rather than being just presented in a mono mix in the conference call. It’s one of the ways, even in the PSTN calling scenario, that we can actually improve the effectiveness of the meeting experience.

Jim Burton: Well, Don typically calls in on his cell phone and it’s the best he’s sounded on any of the conference calls. We have one every week. Don, you've never sounded so good.

Don Van Doren: Thanks Jim. I appreciate that.

Jim Burton: Let me turn this over to Phil Edholm, who has a lot of experience (with this). He ran the DiamondWare group for a couple of years and did a lot of research in that time. I thought he might be able to add a little value and maybe ask slightly more intelligent questions than I could ask. Phil, over to you.

Phil Edholm: Thanks. Absolutely, I believe spatial technology has a huge benefit. If you kind of come down to the basics here, it’s a very interesting perspective...you decide how this has become a path, whether it’s evolution or some other form. Human beings have very different sensory apparatuses. Our eyes tend to be not very good at multitasking. Our peripheral vision can sense motion and we can refocus our eyes, but you typically have a highly singularity of focus in your eyes. If you like to try to read and drive at the same time, you'll probably find out when you hit something, that that’s singularity of focus.

What’s very different about our audio sensory system is that it actually is very multitasking. You had to be able to hear the stick break behind you that was the saber-toothed tiger that was going to eat you, even though you were looking ahead, so you could react. I think your point is very good. The brain is very good at doing those associations.

What’s beautiful about spatial audio is that we can extend that function of your brain to making meetings a lot less stressful. That was one of the things that is really obvious. Some interesting research – you commented on some of the 50 years of research. There was some research done by the U.S. Air Force that looked at the effectiveness in the cockpit of a fighter pilot receiving audio streams. Typically they’re getting audio streams from ground-based controllers, from air-based controllers, from their wingman, from their group leader. So, they may have four to six audio streams that are coming in essentially simultaneously.

What the Air Force found, was by putting those streams into a spatial mix, where they actually separated them by 30 degrees across the spatial scene, 180 degrees in front of you. Each one was about 30 degrees apart. The effectiveness of being able to recognize an important message within that media stream went up by literally multiples. Because if you put them all together in a mono stream, it was very hard for people to distinguish which one is which.

I’m curious about that, and plus speaker recognition makes the spatial a lot less strenuous. The combination of wide band and spatial, you've done a lot of research, what’s the research been of users using this kind of technology in an audio conferencing setting? What’s the reaction been in terms of the ease of the meeting?

Daniel Edwards: Great question, Phil. Actually, there’s probably three layers to that in terms of what we can say. First of all, there’s the classic research that you're mentioning. Interestingly enough, Dr. Mike Hollier – who is part of the Dolby voice team – when he was actually at BT, he did some of the work out of Wright Patterson Air Force Base that you're referring to. I think that’s one of the interesting things around this technology in fact, that for many, many years as we’ve been saying the benefits have been known. Really, the challenge has been, how do you bring this out in a practical, implementable solution? A lot of the early demos were done on Cray super computers and very, very intensive signal processing. I think that comment you made around evolution verses revolution, a big part of that is obviously computer powers have improved and being able – what Dolby has brought to us – being able to do this in a highly scalable way that can run on a smartphone through to a PC. And, in the backend support, the very large conferencing infrastructure that BT needs to run. The classic research really demonstrates the importance of this.

Then if you look at what we’re seeing from the user reaction, what we have done is commission some research where we’ve got users to basically compare a regular audio conference call – PSTN, narrow band – to a wideband call, to a wideband call with Dolby voice with the spatial audio. What we’ve found is that, as expected, you would see a large improvement for the users who surveyed wideband over narrow band conferencing. But when you compared wideband to the spatial solution, there was a leapfrog in terms of user preference for that solution over and above narrow band and wideband conferencing. If you think about it, there’s very few wideband conferencing services available. That is a pretty dramatic leapfrog in terms of the user experience.

I guess really the third aspect, and this is something that Daniel mentioned earlier, is that the reaction we’ve had from the customers to whom we demonstrated this has just been outstanding. Daniel mentioned the example around telepresence for audio. What’s interesting there is we’ve had customers sort of say they’re seeing people choose to not travel and use telepresence instead. But we’ve also actually had reactions where customers have said if they had this in their regular audio conferencing solution, the choice may well be between an audio conference and travel, in terms of the effectiveness of the meeting.

So, if you look at those three layers – the classic research, the specific research on audio conferencing we’ve done with end user preference, and now the market reaction we’re getting – it’s a pretty compelling story. Actually, just to go back to the top there Phil, in terms of those classic studies you're talking about, when we talk about the benefits of spatial in terms of being able to focus on the right part of the conversation, what those studies suggest is about a 12 decibel improvement in the signal-to-noise ratio. Anyone who is a bit of an audiohead listening to this podcast, I mean, that’s massive. Twelve decibels of improvement in signal-to-noise ratio is just unbelievable in terms of the benefit that can provide on a multiparty call.

Phil Edholm: Absolutely. For those who are listening, you begin to get this idea that you can identify people by the combination of two things. In this kind of a meeting there are two things that are very important. One is how it becomes easier to identify different talkers by the wideband voice timber as well as the location. And then the second being the comment that when there are multiple talkers, you actually avoid the unpleasantness that actually happens on a lot of conference bridges where you have what’s typically called a two-talker bridge where you have two talkers. There’s an active talker and a secondary talker. When a new talker comes in, it often only allows one talker in. That really limits those points in a conversation where five people want to jump in and make a comment, where you kind of get this back-off collision.

One of the nice things about this kind of a conference is that you actually are replicating the much more human experience of when two people talk they both can hear each other talk and they have a much more natural back-off mechanism. Especially when you have some things like latency over a longer distance, it can actually make the conversation more effective because it’s not doing that duplexing of choosing certain talkers. So, excellent technology.

Andrew Border: Yeah, thanks so much.

Jim Burton: Thanks, Phil. So Art, you've always got questions particularly when it comes to multimodal. We all know that. You must have a question for these gentlemen.

Art Rosenberg: Yes; everything that was discussed as far as voice conferencing is excellent and I’ve been watching DiamondWare for a long time. I’m looking forward to the future when voice conferencing will only be part of the overall multimodal conference where some people might be speaking, some people will be on camera, and some people will be watching what’s on camera in terms of video. Because the devices are multimodal, there will be all these different combinations and we’d like to get the best of everything – the best of video, the best of the audio, and get all the benefits that are accruing. Would you like to comment on how you see that your audio approach is going to fit into that kind of multimodal conferencing environment?

Andrew Border: Yeah, and thanks for the question. I think the first thing to say is we think the sort of technology we’ve been talking about today can add a huge amount of benefit to that multimodal sort of communication and collaboration tool set. We think there’s a lot of opportunity for integrating this sort of audio experience with video and really leveraging some of the things that Phil was talking about before, where you bring together our perception of audio with the video conferencing image, and really enhance the experience so that when people on the left of the screen are speaking I’m getting a sense of that audio presence from them, but also being able to interoperate that very freely with audio conferencing-only users. We think the technology has a great deal of application.

Just to wind back though on why we're very focused with audio conferencing to begin with, the reality today is that is the predominant business communication tool. I think that by and large users have come to expect what that service can and can’t do for them. So, given that’s still the predominant way that people communicate remotely in real time, we saw that as really low hanging fruit where we can deliver a very different and significant uplift to the user experience and certainly partnering with BT who has the market reach to deliver that. That’s why we're focused there first, Art. But, that being said, we think there’s a lot of opportunities to do exactly the things you're talking about.

One of the things I wanted to say, which didn’t come up in the conversation before, was that part of solution that we’re bringing to market with BT will include clients for smartphone devices as well. So, already when we introduce a solution, it will be multimodal in the sense or at least multi-device. The user will be able to join a conference from their Mac, from their PC, from the PSTN, but also from their smartphone as well. If you think about some of the sessions I know the UCStrategies folks are doing around the mobile evolution and bring your own device, we think that’s going to be a very important, uplifted experience.

But overall, we’re very interested in integrated technology in the video. I will say that BT is one of the world’s largest suppliers of managed video services as well. So, we’re excited to be able to extend the partnership down the line. But we think there’s a great opportunity at the outset to really uplift the audio conferencing experience as the predominant communications tool.

Art Rosenberg: Great. That’s what I expected to hear. I know that some things might still come forward as you get more experience with merging the two – other benefits that could be gotten from having the wideband.

Daniel Edwards: Let me add on to that real quick. I think there are benefits to be seen. What strikes me from the conversation is that any conference always has audio as part of it. So, whether you're in a video call, you've got to be able to hear what people are saying. If you're on a web conference you have to be able to hear what they’re saying as well. So, starting with voice and then rolling it from there is, we think, the right approach. We are very quickly looking for integration with WebEx or web conferencing as part of the integrated solution we’ll provide. We already provide fully integrated solutions for our customers that include audio, web, and video. So, we see this as a journey with Dolby on this path to provide a higher quality audio experience. I think we’re starting with the base first, which is the pure audio reservation-less, then we’re going to roll it out from there.

Art Rosenberg: Sounds good. Great. Thank you.

Enterprise Connect 2013 (23:45)

Jim Burton: As we said this was a discussion about some of the exciting things that are going to go on at Enterprise Connect. Having a pretty good idea of what we can expect to see next week, this will be one of the most exciting things anybody is going to see. I encourage everyone to stop by the Dolby and BT booth to check out the technology. It’s fascinating.

The other part of our podcast today is going to be talking about what the UCStrategies team will be doing at Enterprise Connect. For that, I’m going to turn it over to Marty Parker.

Marty Parker: Yeah, hi Jim. Thanks very much. It’s going to be an exciting time at Enterprise Connect. I invite our readers and listeners to visit UCStrategies.com. You can just search for my name, Marty Parker, in Enterprise Connect. You'll see an article at UCStrategies.com, UCStrategies Experts Front and Center at Enterprise Connect. It describes the sessions that we will be producing there – close to 20 of them. There’s a table down below that shows them all by time and a PDF that can be downloaded that shows them with the room locations as well. If you're a paying attendee at Enterprise Connect, you're going to get a backpack and you'll find a bag stuffer inside that has that same information. But if you're a reseller or a vendor, then you probably just want to download that PDF and bring it along so you can get into the sessions that you have access to and that you'd like to listen to.

With that, Jim, I’ll say one more thing on the sessions that I’m running. I put a post up on NoJitter this past week that points out that this is probably a fabulous career development opportunity. The industry, the communications industry, is changing. It’s very clear that the PBX-centric world is now going away. Eric Krapf posted an article yesterday talking about how market forecasts that will be shown at Enterprise Connect show that industry has flattened out. We’ve seen that happening for some time. We know that part of that revenue that’s there even includes some UC sales because they’re giving the UC licenses away in order to keep selling what they think our PBXs. But, that’s not the world. The world is now driven by email, instant messaging, click to communicate, and then maybe a voice call, but more likely a video call probably with broadband audio.

The world is changing quickly and the platforms to do that are changing. People want to be careful to come and learn how to do that. The endpoints are changing, too. Michael Finneran has a number of sessions about mobility because that’s the world’s most popular endpoint these days – surpassing the PC and certainly surpassing the desk phone by a long way. Enterprise Connect and the sessions that we’ll be doing about unified communications are really important to your career. It’s time to look ahead and figure out how you can add unified communications to your career development, your career track, and the value you bring to your employer; not just continue to polish the PBX.

So, I know that sounds like a bit of an attitude, but I’m trying to be helpful. With that Jim, I’ll pass the ball. I think Michael Finneran is going to tell us a little bit more about the mobility tracks he has.

Michael Finneran: Yes Marty, thank you. But before I do, first I’d like to say Andrew, congratulations. From the first time I heard this thing I was impressed. It’s great to see how far you've pushed it along now. Best of luck to you.

Andrew Border: Thanks so much Michael, cheers.

Michael Finneran: You're very welcome. The mobility track...I organize the mobility track at Enterprise Connect and wind up speaking at a whole bunch of different places. To quickly summarize, we have a deep dive session on Monday at 9 a.m. called Managing Mobility in a BYOD World. That’s basically my core dump for the session. Then, we have a number of sessions, we have the Mobile UC Summit with Verizon, Sprint, Microsoft, Samsung, the mobile development vendor Air Watch, and also Blackberry who is coming back to the Enterprise Connect after a few years hiatus.

Immediately following that is a session on endpoints – one called UC Mobile Devices in the Age of iPhones, Androids, and Tablets. The sessions pick up on Tuesday. Actually, my associate, Robert Harris, is doing one on BYOD, and I’m doing one on Tablet Tactics – Another Endpoint. Our last major session is on Wednesday. We talk about high capacity wireless solutions, 4G, and what’s happening in 802.11ac on the Wi-Fi front. So, a big day, but Jim, back to you.

Jim Burton: Great. Thanks Michael. Why don’t I turn it over to Dave Michels, who I know has got some pretty interesting things, and he has a group of young startup companies that are going to be there competing for an opportunity to show that they’ve got some things of value to the audience.  

Dave Michels: Thanks Jim. The competition is actually over. We’re not competing anymore. We announced the Innovation Showcase about a week or so ago. We had 20 companies apply for the showcase and we got it down to the four we were looking for. They each have a very short pitch, presentation/demonstration. They all take place on Monday. We do two at 11 in the morning, and then two at 1 p.m. in the afternoon. They are just before what they call the Summit Sessions on Monday and each session is about 15 minutes in total. So it’s very abbreviated. Two at the beginning and two in the afternoon.

Marty Parker: Right, and that shows on the schedule too, Dave.

Dave Michels: Yeah, they actually put it on the schedule this year. I was pretty excited to see that.

Marty Parker: It’s on the one on our website and on the PDF, too.

Dave Michels: There are a couple of panels I’m involved in. I’ve got the API panel, which is getting a lot of pre-show attention. We used to talk about open systems, but today it seems things are more open if they have rich API’s and the different venders are all competing with richer API solutions, better documentation, better support, better capabilities. So we’ve got a panel put together – gosh, I can’t remember the day on it, the day of the panel. I think it’s Wednesday. We’ve got some great companies on there. We’ve got Cisco. We’ve got Voxio. We’ve got Twilio, and we’ve actually got AT&T coming from a carrier perspective.

Then, on Thursday I once again get to be in the Locknote, which is one of my favorite things. We put together our crystalizing thoughts of what was important this year. I’ve already been working on that diligently and I’ve come up with about five key points that I think are strong this year. They are video, video, video, video, and video.

I’ll be running around the whole time at Enterprise Connect. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of people. If you see me, please say hi.

Jim Burton: Great. We will. Steve Leaden, I know you’ve got a session or two.

Steve Leaden: Thanks Jim. Yeah, I’ve actually got four sessions. I’m focusing on a few topics here that are very relevant to what’s happening in our enterprise client space. We’re very involved with the cloud these days, with a lot of private cloud opportunities with mid to large clients. We’re doing a session on cloud contracts called The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. We’re also involved in a lot of SIP trunking. We’re going to be talking about SBC’s role in the communications architecture and how that relates back to SIP trunking.  

We’re going to be doing a session on the future of desktop communications and collaboration. Finally – this is I think going to get a lot of attention…actually, I’ve been doing some research and it’s gotten a lot of attention – Lessons Learned from Super Storm Sandy. I’ve have a chance to reach out to most of the venders out there and I’ve gotten a very interesting response on failures as well as successes as well as lessons learned going forward and using unified communications as a tool in the event of a disaster. So, it should be a very interesting session. Back to you, Jim.

Jim Burton: Great, thanks a lot Steve. Marty, you've got some pretty interesting sessions – one in particular that you might want to give us a little more detail about.

Marty Parker: Yeah, thanks a lot Jim. I just talked about the overall program before. I want to highlight two of the four sessions I’m involved in. One is on Tuesday afternoon from 2:30 to 5:30. Yes, it’s three hours long. There is a break. It’s two and a half hours, but 60 percent of that time will be panel time on the topic of CEBP – communications enabled business processes. All four of the following venders, each of them will present two customer case studies for about 20 minutes: Cisco, Microsoft, who I believe will also do live demos, NEC, and Siemens. So, if you want to see the future of communications, that is, communications built into business workflows and providing high ROI transformation, that’s the place to be on Tuesday afternoon, March 19.  

The other is the RFP, Unified Communication Without Buying a New PBX. Without buying a new PBX is showing some remarkable results this year. I’ll just give you a preview. Every one of the seven venders can deliver unified communications attached to any existing PBX essentially, for less than $10 per user, per month. By this I include IM, presence, conferencing, mobility, and application capability – CEBP capabilities. So, we’re seeing that UC has really broken through the affordability barrier and can be put in place for at least, in my opinion, half of what we’re going to see as the total five year cost of ownership for a full-scale PBX replacement with UC as part of that license. So, it’s time to look at it as a separate activity and not as a PBX decision, in my opinion.

Jim Burton: Great. Thank you, Marty. I’ll follow-up. There are other UCStrategies experts who are not on the call today who will be presenting. So look for the article that Marty had mentioned and you'll be able to find out more about them. I have a session I do every year with Fred Knight, who produces the conference. We bring in all the major venders – I think there’s eight of them this year – and talk about the state of the industry. There’s always a theme behind this, but it’s really, where is the industry headed? Have we hit a plateau? What’s next?

Fred and I have been working on the discussion of what topics to ask for this year. We’ve got some pretty exciting things that really are going to help the venders tell you where you should be looking. Sometimes they’ve got a current product they want you to buy. We’re going to try to get them to tell us where they’re headed so you can think about what’s coming next and whether you really want to make an investment today or you want to wait on what the migration path to get there might look like.

Jim Burton: Phil, I know you're doing a session this year. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Phil Edholm: Yes, actually it’s Monday afternoon at 3 p.m. It’s a session on an interesting project I did for a client that actually turned into a generic analysis of Jabber and Lync as a collaboration option. One of the things we’re seeing a lot of today is organizations that have Cisco on the voice side and obviously have Microsoft on the desktop side, and have this interesting challenge of both organizations within the customer actually pushing either Lync or Jabber. What I did was actually built a very quantitative analysis technique of how to analyze in your specific organization, the value of the interfacing of Lync or Jabber across your organization to create an ideal experience.

So, we’ll actually go through that tool, how it’s developed, and how to use it. I actually have both a representative from Microsoft and Cisco as a reactor panel at the end of that to talk about it. Then, for everyone who comes I’m actually going to set up to have them get a copy of the tool so they can actually use it to their organization and apply it to analyzing their choices in this space. So, it should be an interesting session.

Jim Burton: Yeah, it sounds like you're giving a reward to be there too, which is always nice. That’s great.Well, thank you everybody. I appreciate it. UC experts, thanks again for joining us and Andrew and Daniel, I appreciate this opportunity to work with you and show off your technology and I look forward to seeing you both next week at Enterprise Connect.

Andrew Border: Okay, well thanks so much guys. I really appreciate the time to speak with the UCStrategies team and hopefully your listeners can hear a very different sounding podcast when this goes up on the UCStrategies website.

 

No Comments Yet.

To Leave a Comment, Please Login or Register

UC Alerts
UC Blogs
UC ROI Tool RSS Feeds

Related UC Vendors

See all UC Vendors»