Enterprise Connect 2013 Shout Outs
The whirlwind of Enterprise Connect is over, and I’m still recovering from several days of sessions, meetings, and receptions. Enterprise Connect is the largest gathering of the who’s who in the UC industry, and it was THE place to be for enterprises to get an update about what’s going on in the market (of course the UCStrategies UC Summit is the place to be for Solution Integrators/VARs/Resellers and consultants, but that’s another topic).
I attended a few sessions and keynotes, and had a couple quick walks through the exhibit hall, and had many, many vendor briefings. While I only had a chance to meet with a fraction of the vendors attending and exhibiting at Enterprise Connect, here are some “shout outs” to the vendors that I thought did a good job of differentiating themselves.
Dolby and BT Conferencing: on Sunday night Dolby and BT Conferencing had a special briefing for analysts to experience the new BT MeetMe with Dolby Voice. I experienced the demo last year, and was surprised at how much better it was this year. In fact, during a twitter exchange with Gartner’s Steve Blood when I mentioned that Dolby improved since last year’s demo, he replied, “How do they improve on awesome?” If you know Steve, you know that this is an amazing compliment. Dolby’s wideband, spatial audio conferencing provides unbelievably clear audio quality, providing a more natural and effective user experience. Participants can interrupt each other and speak over each other, and you can still hear them clearly, which never happens during regular audio conferences. When the service goes live in a few months, users will need stereo headsets to appreciate the full experience. However, it turns out that iPhone ear buds work exceptionally well, and many people already have these and don’t have to spend extra money on headsets.
Smart Technologies, with the tag line “Inspired Collaboration,” demo’d its Smart Room System for Microsoft
Lync, emphasizing the simplicity of joining a meeting by simply touching a screen with no prior set up needed.
Several of the video players discussed how their solutions enhance the user experience, making it easier for customers to join meetings and get the full value of their solutions. While I didn’t have a chance to meet with all of them, I did speak with Vidyo, Vidtel, BlueJeans, StarLeaf and Smart Technologies, all of which emphasized how their solutions enhance the user experience and make meetings more effective. Rather than focus on codecs and MCUs, they emphasized the user experience, which is ultimately what it’s all about.
did a WebRTC demo during the keynote, where Rob Lloyd and Cullen Jennings showed how WebRTC can change the video experience. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – WebRTC will be a game changer, and those vendors that aren’t thinking about their strategy will miss out. Unfortunately I didn’t get to go to the WebRTC conference-within-a-conference, so I can’t give shout-outs to the vendors who participated and did demos on Monday. However, I saw a great demo by start up Plivo, showing how easy it can be to integrate real time voice calls into applications. This is a company to watch.
Microsoft’s Derek Burney gets the “best keynote” award. Aside from his multi-colored and patterned shirt, he stole the show by adding humor and personality. In addition, I like the fact that he did his own demos (which mostly worked) without the aid of a “demo guy.” While it was mainly a rehash of information presented at the Lync conference a few weeks ago, the demos were interesting to watch, and the video at the end that showed how Microsoft technology is helping students succeed by doing online learning was heartwarming, which isn’t a word generally associated with Microsoft.
There were tons of announcements, and I can’t cover them all, but some of the big news announcements included:
Collaborative Cloud, which now includes Avaya Cloud Enablement for UC and Customer Experience Management, as well as Cloud Enablement for Video, enabling service provider partners to offer hosted solutions with more flexible pricing. Also, Communications Outsourcing Solutions Express private cloud solution that can be hosted by Avaya or service provider or channel partners.
announcing a new platform based on technology from Altitude Software, which will eventually replace the Genesys technology. Altitude’s uCI solutions now enable ALU’s OpenTouch Customer Service (OTCS) solution.
Cisco showed off the new Cisco DX650 device optimized for a “Desktop Collaboration Experience, which runs on Android and comes preloaded with Cisco Jabber, WebEx, and other UC capabilities.
and Sprint Emerging Solutions & Global Wholesale announced a wholesale agreement that enables Sprint to include the Mitel hosted PBX cloud communications service in their offerings.
focused on its nUCaaS offering, a fully managed end-to-end hosted offering that is “dealer friendly” and provides five 9s SLA. nUCaaS is one of the few hosted services that is FCC certified, providing full regulatory compliance.
Siemens Enterprise Communications
added OpenScape Mobile (addressing the BYOD trend) and OpenScape Enterprise Express, a UC solution for mid-sized enterprises with 200-1,000 users.
If anyone thinks that unified communications is dead or dying, they clearly weren’t at Enterprise Connect. UC is very much alive, with new products and solutions – as well as customer deployments – to prove it.