Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Metaswitch Forum - do you Believe in Magic?

Great song, huh? John Sebastian at his best - bet you can't get it out of your head now. That's the idea. Now, close your eyes, hum along and then say, "damn, I wish I was at Metaswitch in Vegas this week".

Well, if you can't be here, then keep reading my posts, and pick up the Twitter feed (#mforum11) - it's been pretty active. I just wanted to share some thoughts from Day 1. This is my fifth Metaswitch Forum, and it keeps getting bigger and better every year. Attendance is close to 1,000, and it's a great testament to their loyal customer base. They really have a great balance between sharing their roadmap and providing quality content with Vegas-style showmanship. The production quality and visuals are first rate, and a special kudo goes out to uber-host Steve Gleave. I think he's got another career waiting in this town - the man knows how to work a room!

Actually, Steve set the table by talking about the 7 M's, which define their vision for this market. In short, they are: Moments, Multimedia, Mobility, Management of sessions, Migration, Mosaic and Metaswitch.

Each of these are laden with meaning, but I'll leave that to your imagination. I couldn't make a living if I spelled it all out for you here, but suffice to say, I like where they're going, and think they are very much in synch with what the market needs. With a bit of effort, mind you, you'll get another layer of understanding by sifting through the tweets.

Otherwise, Day 1 had a good mix of public and NDA discussions, and it all reinforces my sense that they know what they're doing. The business continues to perform well, they keep adding customers, and they are proactively fine tuning their value proposition to reflect what's happening today. As smart as they are, even they concede it's a very daunting task, and frankly nobody has got all this figured out - well, maybe Apple or Google on a good day.

Regardless, among the telecom vendors, Metaswitch is as well positioned as anybody, and being private, they have more freedom to innovate without the time-sensitive pressures of meeting quarterly targets. Their market won't keep growing at current levels - even they know that - but as long as they keep innovating and responding to today's disruptive technologies, they'll hold their own just fine.

I could go on a lot about the details and memorable observations, but will save that for another post - pretty busy here now. In short, when you hear about the future they're envisioning, you really wonder if it's all magic, esp being here in Las Vegas. Well, to an outsider, it may look like magic, but when you see the quality of people and thinking that Metaswitch has, it looks pretty real to me.

Just a few photos to share here. Unfortunately, the analysts and media had special seating out in the bleachers during the morning sessions, so the best photo opps were off the video screen instead of stage - it's a big room!

Steve Gleave - funny, clever, but delivering a strong vision about the Power of M

Execs Kevin DeNuccio and Graeme MacArthur - very different styles, but more strong messaging about their growth story and roadmap

The chocolate lover in me couldn't resist making this connection - coincidence? I think not....

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