UC Summit 2013 Day One
Today was the first full day at the UC Summit in San Diego. The conference is aimed at Trusted Advisors or the combined groups of solutions integrators and industry consultants. This annual event is a fairly intimate conference – lots of food and wine (and wine). The sessions fall into two categories: industry updates and vendor product updates.
The exhibits area is expanded this year – major UC vendors, cloud providers, distributors, and more. The opening session this morning was about key technology trends and shifts. Selecting the topics was an interesting exercise in itself. There’s no shortage of technology topics that are shifting or changing right now. We ended up with a four-part session: mobility, video, cloud, and WebRTC.
The mobility session was hosted by Michael Finneran. He took the group through some major trends and shifts. For example, I had no idea that Android has established such a market share lead over iOS, particularly overseas. 802.11ac was covered, along with its major impact to enterprise wireless networks. MDM will be getting its own session later, but it’s interesting that so much of the industry is trying to reinvent what RIM did so well years ago. A big gap remains in the vision of mobile UC versus what organizations are actually doing. Great stuff from Michael.
I presented both the video and cloud topics. With video, we seem so be heading into a new era. For decades, video has been 1) limited to VIPs, 2) primarily used to communicate with internal colleagues, and 3) largely associated with room-to-room (group-to-group) meetings. All of that is about to change – throw in a shift toward software, the acceptance of mobility, SVC economics, new levels of interoperability, low cost appliances, public (free) bandwidth, millennial expectations and voila: new paradigm. Big opportunities for the channel partners that can seize the emerging opportunity between consumer/prosumer and room systems.
The fact is we have all learned to expect audio-only interactions largely because that was the only choice. Voice-only is not natural, it’s a compromise we accepted when it was the only choice on the menu. Slowly, the option to use video has emerged – approaching the point where it isn’t a major concern any more.
Regarding the cloud, the good news is it’s officially boring, which is a prerequisite for enterprise adoption. Large enterprises don’t like to be on the cutting edge. It’s now time to hype up things like WebRTC so that we focus on selling and implementing cloud solutions. Unfortunately, cloud means just about anything including private clouds, managed services, and public services. UCaaS was the primary topic for this audience.
UCaaS will continue to grow – and what’s most interesting is every premises-based vendor now has skin in the game. It used to be premises vs. cloud, but the conversation is going to shift back to user requirements (good thing). There are a lot of folks who believe that either premises or cloud is always better, but it isn’t. The key is to focus on user requirements and being open to the right solution.
WebRTC isn’t quite a channel play yet – but it’s important for everyone in the industry to be up-to-speed on the solution. It clearly promises to bring significant change to the industry, likely impacting contact centers first. Phil Edholm led this conversation and took the group through some potential opportunities and impacts. There is little debate about the potential impact of WebRTC; everyone is rightly interested and curious. However, Phil and I largely disagree on the timing (I’ll prove him wrong in a few hours).
The Summit continues with various break-outs and keynotes. Cisco did a product demonstration tying together video, collaboration, and mobility in their keynote. Siemens Enterprise Communications presented a clear vision regarding business value, and how realizing the opportunity of truly unifying communications is approaching. NEC focused on the transformation of the industry – from both business and product perspectives.
Also on UCStrategies.com on this topic: