Tuesday, September 8, 2009

IT Expo/Smart Grid Takeaways

Between the IT Expo and our Smart Grid Summit; along with jet lag, email catchup, Labor Day and back-to-school, blogging has been limited lately. I don't blog from my BlackBerry, but I'm back at my desk now, and trying to get back in gear.

I'd venture to say that anyone who attended TMC's events last week came home happy, myself included. I'm not going to rehash the daily blog/TMC recaps, but will quickly summarize a few takeaways and highlights that stood out for me.

First was our Smart Grid Summit. By all accounts, we feel this was a successful launch - the room was full, it stayed full throughout the day, the panels were lively, the speakers were great, the audience was engaged, and I think the sponsors were pleased. I posted about it briefly last week, and we're already in planning mode for an expanded Summit at the Miami Expo in January.

For some objective analysis, here's a nice wrapup piece by noted IT/tech writer, David Greenfield, which ran on the Ziff Davis Smarter Technologies portal. And if you follow David on Twitter, you'll know he was tweeting throughout the whole day. Thanks Dave! And of course, a big thank you to all the people at TMC who worked hard to make the event happen, and to have faith to partner with us with such a short timeline.

I'll be posting more Summit highlights as they come, including the video interviews both Shidan and myself did with various speakers. Here are some photos of the sessions - Demand Response, and Security...

Tuesday was all Smart Grid, but for the rest of the Expo, I was wearing my JAA analyst hat. I moderated two sessions - one on SMB IP telephony, and one about bringing voice and Web 2.0 together. Both panels were well attended, and the speakers were very good. One of the speakers (seated, far right in first photo) just sent me a video clip that an audience member (Suzanne Bowen - thanks!) made of his presentation - Kevin Corson of HBN Inc. Hah! You never know when/where things like this will turn up - here's the YouTube link.

One quick shout-out to add for another speaker - Bill Bumbernick of Alteva (speaking in first photo). Here's something cool. I've been a fan of Alteva for a while, and they're part of a competition called Shine A Light, co-sponsored by American Express and NBC. The idea is to spotlight promising businesses, and the top 3 submissions share in some nice cash prizes and marketing support. It's a pretty neat idea, and nominations are open until September 13. If you want to support our space, I'd urge you to check Alteva out for yourself, and if you like what you see, you can endorse them here.

Quickly, a few other highlights and items of note from last week...

- Terry Matthews gave a great keynote on entrepreneurship - pretty inspiring, not just for attendees, but TMC and conferences in general. Hopefully we're on the right track here with Smart Grid.

- the show floor was solidly busy from what I saw - it's always tough to balance time between the exhibitors and speakers, but it worked out pretty well on both ends

- Carl and Scott's 4GWE event looked quite good from what I saw. They were running sessions in 2 rooms, including the M2M tracks, which had some nice overlap with our content. I liked the fact that they were videotaping the sessions - we'll consider that for the next summit.

- Some familiar companies came away with Best of Show recognition, namely Voxox (Telecentris), TelcoBridges, Airespring, Interactive Intelligence, Ooma, Intelepeer, 8x8, AudioCodes, BrightCom and ShoreTel. Overall, many of these companies point to continued vitality in voice applications, along with the growing trend toward collaboration. On the voice front, media/VoIP gateways are becoming more intelligent to support today's applications, as demonstrated last week by TelcoBridges, AudioCodes and Dialogic. In terms of collaboration,some of this is about UC, but some is just using one or two tools to be more productive working with others. I'll be writing more about these themes soon, as I'm working with some up and coming companies doing interesting things here.

- Finally, many of these thoughts were shared by Andy Abramson, and I'll steer you to his podcast wrapup of the Expo here. It's a nice change from regular blog posts, and Andy probably saw much more of the Expo than me. No mention of Andy and the Expo would be complete without a big thank-you for hosting yet another great industry dinner last week. This was the biggest gathering I've seen yet - almost 40 people - and it was especially nice to have Terry Matthews join us. If you enjoyed seeing his keynote, he was even better in tight company, and he has a great sense of humor. Great job, Andy and Comunicano crew!

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