Wednesday, October 27, 2010

BroadSoft Connections - Redefining Business Communications

The schedule didn't work for me to attend this year's BroadSoft Connections, but I was able to follow parts of the conference via streaming video. What I managed to see was very good, and this is one company that doesn't stand still. Of course, now that they're public, they definitely can't do that - way too many people are watching!

Anyhow, the innovation keeps coming, and with the launch of BroadCloud, they're keeping pace with this next evolution in communications - the shift to the cloud and hosted "infrastructure". They've come a long way from being an app server vendor, and made a great choice in having Toronto-based Don Tapscott do a keynote about the value of collaboration and how digital technologies are transforming virtually every type of industry and institution. He was his usual thought-provoking self, and gave the audience a lot to think about - and by association, how BroadSoft can help them stay on the right side of the innovation and value-creation curve.

I've distilled my thoughts into my latest Focus Brief, and it's running now on SMBs in particular can do well by BroadSoft, and your comments on the same are welcome - I'd especially like to hear from anyone attending Connections in person!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What Service Providers can learn from Newspapers, Part 2

Following up on last week's Service Provider Views column on TMCnet, this is Part 2 of my take on what service providers can learn from newspapers.

I find the parallels between these businesses really interesting, and given what Toronto's Globe & Mail has done with its latest re-design, I just wonder what's taking telcos so long to reinvent themselves. You can read Part 2 here, and as always, I'd love to hear your< thoughts.

Monday, October 25, 2010 Webinar - When it's Time for IP Telephony

I'm presenting on another webinar on November 3. This one is sponsored by Panasonic, and is titled "Top 5 Signs an SMB is Ready for an IP Phone System".

That's pretty self-explanatory, and I'm looking forward to sharing my perspectives on this webinar. I'm just doing a shout-out now for the webinar, and I hope you can join us. You can get all the details here, including how to register.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Interactive Intelligence - Making the Cloud Work

Followers of my blog will know that I was at the Partner Conference for Interactive Intelligence last week. I've already shared some thoughts about it there, as well as on the UCStrategies portal.

I have two updates for you - one about the IP comms market, and one for fun. On the market side, I've just published an analysis of Interactive Intelligence, with a focus on CaaS - their cloud-based offering - and why this puts them ahead of the curve. The writeup takes the form of a Focus Brief, which is my monthly research contribution as an Adviser with You can read it here, and I'd love to hear your thoughts.

On the fun side, you may know that our ad hoc group - Dead Circuits Revival - didn't win the Battle of the Bands last week. All things considered, though, I think we came off pretty well, and we've got a plan for how to win this thing next year. I just got some photos from our performance, and the video will be coming soon. Once I have that, I'll post these items for the record, and maybe you can judge for yourself!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

GridWeek - Day 2 Photos

It's been a pretty full day here at GridWeek, starting with a 7am breakfast with SmartSynch and the top wireless operators in the market. The rest of the day featured sessions focused on the consumer, along with a number of meetings and briefings. I've summarized my thoughts about the first two days - and that will run tomorrow on our smart grid portal. I've also been tweeting as time allows, and hopefully you've been picking some of those up. I know a lot of people have done that, as I have a whole bunch of new people following my tweets now.

SmartSynch's Campbell McCool hosting the breakfast

Group shot of all the wireless players with SmartSynch. More detail about this on my recap artcle. Photo courtesy of Edelman's Joey Marquart (can you tell who has a better camera?).

Morning roundtable - Consumer Engagement

Afternoon consumer panel: Recipe for Success

Afternoon media roundtable - public vs. private networks - very lively discussion!

Monday, October 18, 2010

GridWeek - Day 1 Photos

Day 1 of GridWeek is wrapping up shortly, and before the reception, this is a good time to post some photos. I'll be writing up my thoughts in another post, but just wanted to say that the turnout here is strong, and the caliber of both speakers and attendees is very high. This is definitely an A-list crowd, with a very international scope, which is no surprise being located in Washington D.C.

I've attended about half the sessions, and spent most of my other time meeting various smart grid companies. There's been a pretty active Twitter board here, and they're posting that in real time everywhere here. If you want to follow this thread, the hashtag is #gridweek - what else could it be, really?

For now, I'll leave you with some photos, and I should have some more tomorrow.

GridWeek organizer Anto Budiardjo

Opening keynote from Hon. Gary Locke, U.S. Dept. of Commerce

Collaboration roundtable, moderated by Anto

Renewable energy grid integration panel

Got here early afternoon yesterday, and with the weather so perfect, I just had to do a walkabout. Turns out the Department of Energy is literally right around the corner from my hotel. Small world.

It didn't take long to come across this contrast that reminds you about the gap between the haves and have-nots in America. I couldn't resist the lure of the Washington Monument, and found myself simply walking towards it once it came into view. Well, lying in front of me was this homeless man sleeping on the grass, and it has to be worrisome to anyone seeing this steps away from the most powerful icons of what we all believe in as Americans. Ugh. Whatever you have folks, be thankful!

What Service Providers can Learn From Newspapers

I recently posted about the redesign of the Globe and Mail, and how it's a great example of a newspaper trying to reinvent itself in the Internet generation. Lots of parallels popped up for me with telcos, and it's the subject of my latest Service Provider Views column on TMCnet. It's running now, and I'll have a Part 2 follow up coming next week. Enjoy.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Interactive Intelligence - Recap/Takeaways on

If you follow my blog, you'll have seen my posts already about this week's Interactive Intelligence Partner Conference. There's a lot to like about where this company is going, and I'm probably the only Canadian analyst who can tell you about it first hand.

As many of you know, I contribute to the UCStrategies portal, and it really is the best resource out there for all things UC. Interactive isn't a typical UC play, but they're close enough in many ways to be of interest to all the UCS consultants, a number of whom were with me this week in San Antonio.

Aside from the photos I've posted here, I've put my thoughts together about the conference and they're posted now on the UCStrategies portal. You can read my take here, and I'm sure you'll soon be seeing thoughts from my UCS colleagues who were with me this week.

Next Stop - GridWeek, Washington, D.C.

On Sunday, I'm heading to Washington, D.C. for my first visit to GridWeek, which is one of the top events in the smart grid space. I'm quite excited about going, and it will be very interesting to see how this compares to our Smart Grid Summit, which took place two weeks ago.

I'll be there through Wednesday morning, and will post my thoughts as time allows on Twitter, as well as our Smart Grid Portal. I don't travel this often, and next week will be my third straight week for U.S. events, and fourth in five weeks. That's plenty for me, and I'm looking forward to staying put for a bit once I'm back.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Interactive Intelligence - More Photos

Interactive Intelligence's 2010 Partner Conference just wrapped up, and people sure have scattered in a hurry. Before flying out I wanted to quickly post a few more photos from the past 3 days. I'll be writing up a recap of the event for the UCStrategies portal, and hope to have that ready for tomorrow. Overall, the event was very worthwhile, and I hope to be back next year!

Day 1 - Knibbe Ranch dinner

A bit hokey, but very fun...

Hard to tell which is the real bull here...

Better her than me - most people lasted about 3 seconds on this thing.

Nice crescent moon peeking out above the trees.

Day 2 - Battle of the Bands

We didn't win, but it was fun. No chance to play or rehearse with instruments before hitting the stage, but we managed ok. Photos and video clips will be coming from ININ soon!

Here's the house band's guitar/amp that I got to play - very nice. It was a big room - pretty nervous, but it goes by in a flash once you're up there.

Day 3 - Don Brown's Road Ahead wrapup

Good session to finish up today with CEO Don Brown giving us more guidance as to where the company is going 2011. Their biggest news here was the release of CIC 4.0, and Don was telling us a bit about what's already in the works for 5.0. We also got more insight about how IPA is evolving, and the company's overall focus to boost its branding and expand into more global markets. This company seems very much on the ball, I definitely plan to follow them even more closely now.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Smart Grid Summit - Video Clips

Getting things done here, one at a time. Finally getting more content up online now from last week's Smart Grid Summit.

First off, I did some video interviews at TMC's booth during the summit - those are running now - with Aviat Networks, Celergy Networks and Carl Ford.

Next - in addition to my photos I've been posting, TMC's photos are now posted, and you can find are some shots there of the summit.

Finally, I've managed to get my video clips uploaded and am ready to share them here. They'll be posted to our portal shortly as well, but since you're here now, enjoy! These clips are nice and short - about 2 minutes each - just enough to give you a taste of what you missed, and hopefully get you thinking about coming to our next summit in Miami. :-)

Semi-Random Thoughts on Texas, the Alamo, Gun Culture and Elvis Costello

If you want to read about my impressions of Interactive Intelligence's conference, this isn't the place to be. Texas is a big place, and whenever I come here, all kinds of things synapse for me in ways that just don't seem to happen anywhere else. Maybe it's all the sun and hot weather...

Anyhow, this is a very different type of blog post, and if you're wondering what the Alamo, Elvis Costello, guns and Interactive could possibly have in common, bear with me.

I'll start with a walkabout I did yesterday afternoon. Everyone knows what this is...

How can you NOT pay a visit to the Alamo, esp when it's about 3 blocks from our hotel? I love history and really enjoyed seeing this for the first time. Being from New England, I never had a true appreciation for what the Alamo means to Texans. You'd think it's considered a national historic site - and it probably is - but it's on a whole other level here. As the sign says, it's a "shrine" - and no pictures are allowed inside.

This sure is holy ground for Texas, and after learning more about the story, I realize this was their Boston Massacre. Am sure kids down here learn about that in passing, but my guess is that their history classes focus more about the Alamo. Texas really has its own sovereign identity that you just don't see anywhere else. So what is this a shrine to? Well, sure it's about independence and freedom, but around here, nothing embodies that more than guns. Frontier justice may be a thing of the past, but as they say, don't mess with Texas...

This brings me to synapse #1 - guns, Texas and Interactive.

At the Interactive general sessions yesterday, the stage props included some vertical towers with circular cut-outs for lights inside them. Like this:

I have no doubt I'm the only person in the room who made an instant association of this with a well known building that leads me to synapse #2. Anyone recognize this building?

Unless you're from Austin or a big Elvis Costello fan, it's extremely unlikely you'll know what I'm talking about.

This is "The Tower" building at the University of Texas campus in Austin, which is not far from San Antonio. Locals will know why the building is bathed in orange - the color of the Texas Longhorns - and they light the building when their teams win. I get that - and found it a bizarre coincidence that the "tower" prop here at the conference was lit in a similar way.

None of this registered for me until hearing a song from Elvis Costello's country music phase called "Psycho." It's such a departure from his style, and the back story is incredible. The song was penned by a blind country singer name Leon Payne, and Elvis did this amazing version that has become one of my favorite tunes of his.

The song is a very chilling rendition of the Texas Tower Sniper massacre in 1966. Once you read the story, you just can't get Elvis's song out of your head. In short, the story is about Charles Whitman, who was a student there, as well as an ex-Marine. He was also mentally unstable, and simply snapped and went on a shooting rampage. First he stabbed his mother and wife to death, then took his rifle and ammo up the tower and opened fire on helpless students below, killing 16 people before being gunned down by the police. This happened WAY before Colombine, and probably set the template for these types of killing sprees that now seem to be the inspiration for video games. Don't get me started on that one. Anyhow, I have no idea what inspired Elvis to sing about such a morbid event, but he sure captured its essence - check it out if you're still with me here.

I've never been to Austin, but San Antonio is close enough by to make these unlikely connections work for me. It also reminded me of my 2008 trip to Dallas and my experience visiting Dealey Plaza, yet another landmark symbol of the U.S. gun culture, esp deep in the heart of Texas.

Oh - finally - you'll love this. As I'm writing this, the most bizarre tune is playing now on my iTunes - Pantera's "Cowboys From Hell". Aside from Psycho, I couldn't have picked a more appropo tune for this post. Could you?

Enough synapsing for now - back to the conference...

Interactive Intelligence Partner Conference - Day 1 Photos

On the road again. Been a very full day and night here - not even time to tweet. This is my second Interactive Intelligence conference, and they're doing a great job so far. About 400 people here, and lots of product updates and roadmaps. For now, though, I just have time to post some photos and will continue sharing as time allows - got an early start tomorrow.

Joe Staples

Don Brown - CIC 4.0 announcement

Alan Percy, AudioCodes

Tim Sanders, Deeper Media - keynote speaker

Lunch-time executive Q&A

CaaS breakout session

Friday, October 8, 2010

Smart Grid Summit - More Photos

Pushing content out today as fast I can. Here is my second set of photos from the summit. Lots of Twitter activity today around my recap article on the portal, and the feedback both online and offline has been great so far - nice to see that! Got some nice video clips in the can, and will post those on Monday - stay tuned.

Sven Thesen, Better Place

Christoph Inauen, NSN

Lee Krevat, San Diego Gas & Electric

Steve Oldham, USTelecom

Dr. Mo Shakouri, Alvarion

Wireless broadband in the home panel - Jim Hunter - 4Home, Lew Brown - Z-Wave, Gabe Nave - SprintNextel

VC/startup panel - Chris King - eMeter, Gene Wang - People Power, Dylan Steeg - Intel Capital, Curtis Mo - DLA Piper, Dr. Pedram Mokrian - Mayfield Fund, Sam Smith - EV World (speaking about a hydro kinetic power startup)

Jerry Melcher, EnerNex and Tim Boucher, Southern California Edison

Dr. Emir Macari, Cal State University

Jason Rodriguez, Zpryme research - presenting with me on our renewable energy market study findings

Prof. Raj Gadh, UCLA WINMEC

Crystal Ball session - Jay Cappy - Verizon Business, Jamie Clark - OASIS, Raj Gadh - UCLA WINMEC, Eric Murray - Tantalus, Katherine Hamilton - GridWise Alliance

And now...for something completely different.

Why on earth is there a photo of a Philly cream cheese container here?

Well, look closely - on the left - the green leaf - it says "made with Renewable Energy". Really! I sure did a double take when I was prepping my bagel just before we started Day 3. I thought that would be a perfect prop to kick off our Crystal Ball panel. When you start seeing messaging like this on mainstream products, you KNOW there's perceived value to this concept. I think I'm going to call Kraft and see if they'd like to sponsor our next summit! :-)

Next Stop - San Antonio and Interactive Intelligence

Got a lot on the go right now, and am only home from the Smart Grid Summit a couple of days, then back out again on Sunday. Next week I'll be attending Interactive Intelligence's Global Partner Conference deep in the heart of Texas. Am really looking forward to this, not just because I've never been to San Antonio (a true blues mecca - that's all I need to know), but because I so enjoyed attending their conference last year.

Am also excited because they're doing the Battle of the Bands again. This was a lot of fun, and I was part of a pickup group that performed. We didn't win, but the buzz told us we were a hit, so we're back again. The lineup will be a bit different, but I'll be practicing this weekend, and getting tips from my way-too-good-for-his-age son #2, Dean. If you like shred and metal, check out his YouTube channel. Too bad I can't bring him along as a ringer - we'd win for sure!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Smart Grid Summit - Photos

Just got time to quickly post some photos from Day 1. Got more coming for the rest of the event, along with some short video clips from the sessions. I'll also have a writeup about my thoughts on the summit for Friday, and that will run on the Smart Grid Portal.

Ernie Lewis, Verizon Business

USTelecom policy panel - Michael Oldak, UTC and Eric Batongbacal AT&T Services

Data privacy panel - Lee Tien, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Ward Pyles, Southern Company

John Yu, LA Department of Water and Power

Ishak Kang, Dot UI

Gary Sorkin, USNAP Alliance

Team Alvarion, including Dr. Mo Shakouri and Eedo Lifshitz

Larry Lisser's hugely popular (and darkly lit!) Startup Bootcamp