Enterprise Connect Disappointments
It is that time of year again. Set the clocks forward and head to Orlando. It is time for the annual telecom ritual where the industry flocks to the Gaylord Palms to exchange and shape perceptions of the UC industry. Enterprise Connect is, without question, the most significant enterprise-focused UC conference each year.
For the most part, the conference runs fairly smoothly - sessions, keynotes, booths – the usual gambit. The organizers do a nice job, and their extensive experience benefits everyone. Sure, there have been a few mishaps: I recall when the Siemens smoke machine accidentally started during the Avaya keynote. NEC pulled off a flash mob last year – but otherwise the event runs like a “well oiled machine.”
Most vendors use Enterprise Connect as a forum to paint a picture of the future, their vision of where the industry is headed. Unfortunately, despite the best intentions, sometimes things get exaggerated. Sometimes new promises get made that never materialize. This is also part of the ritual which is why it is important to gauge news and promises against a backdrop of reality.
Let’s check in on some past Enterprise Connect announcements and messaging:
Siemens Enterprise: Siemens Enterprise Communications consistently uses Enterprise Connect to unveil some great concepts. I recall being impressed years ago with its Amazon storefront “proof of concept” which never saw the light of day. Last year, SEN used its keynote to unveil a new pocket-sized biscotti-shaped video device which was never productized. SEN is very astute about market trends, and was early with both a public hosted service and tight integration with Google Apps (both featured at prior Enterprise Connects) - neither a strong component of SEN’s current messaging.
Microsoft: In the 2012 Microsoft keynote we were all promised “the cloud on your terms,” with real time collaboration including Lync. Lync Online so far hasn’t been a particularly compelling solution - at least not compared to premises based Lync. Perhaps Kirk meant the cloud on your prem?
Cisco: Cisco was all over the “post PC era” at EC12. It does seem the PC may have peaked, but its death is greatly exaggerated, particularly within the enterprise. Though 2012 did turn out to be a post-Cius world.
Avaya: Avaya offered a bold vision of the future in its 2012 Keynote presentation, so futuristic that it would seem the same keynote may be valid in 2013. The company proudly demonstrated its video portfolio as a comprehensive and robust solution. However, most of it now has been usurped by its Radvision acquisition. Avaya promised contextual awareness would end the days of presence systems that just notify others when best to interrupt. Also at EC12, Avaya launched its new Collaborative Cloud with the promise of merging networking, UC, and contact center.
NEC: NEC’s big news at EC 2012 was its 3C software solution and move into hosted services featured in their serverless booth. nUCaaS launched a few weeks ago. I expect similar messaging in 2013 – this year with an actual cloud service. Also still waiting for GA of the sexiest and smallest DECT phones I’ve ever seen that NEC demonstrated at Enterprise Connect 11.
Enterprise Connect will undoubtedly have lots of exciting news, demonstrations, booths, and keynotes. It’s also a big show for the UCStrategies team with numerous tracks and events.
UCStrategies on Enterprise Connect 2012:
My Enterprise Connect 2012 Awards.