Tuesday, April 30, 2013

UC Webinar with ShoreTel - This Thursday at 2 ET

Just a quick shout-out for our webinar this Thursday. Registration has been strong and I hope you'll join us. I'll be the featured presenter, and will speak to my recent white paper for ShoreTel about the three paths you can take to UC - premise, cloud and hybrid.

I'll steer you to my last post for the details - everything you need to know about the webinar and how to register is there.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Do You Have a Mobile Strategy?

That's a fair question, as well as the focus of my latest article for Internet Telephony magazine. I've been writing a monthly column there for a while - Rethinking Communications - and in the current issue, this is the theme I'm exploring.

Mobility is ubiquitous and becoming even more so.There are many things you could do - and should do - but more importantly, you need a plan. This can be a huge topic, and my article touches on three aspects of that - BYOD, BYOI and service providers. All are different, and the mix will depend on your environment, as well as where you want to take mobility - which of course is all about having a plan.

I welcome you to read the article, and hopefully that will help focus your thinking on mobility. Following that, I hope you continue reading my future articles there.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Best in Biz Awards - am on the 2013 Judging Panel

Here's something new. I was recently invited by Best in Biz Awards International to be a judge for their 2013 program, which is underway now. Looks like I'm in pretty good company, including Canadian Business magazine, the Jerusalem Post and the Vancouver Sun. All told, there are 43 judges from 18 countries, including several from Canada.

The awards program is pretty extensive, with both international and regional categories, spanning a wide range of classes, including company, team and personal level awards. I don't know yet which categories I'll be judging, but several are in my scope, and they'll be determined soon. Will keep you posted.

If you're looking for recognition, awards submissions are open until May 17, and for more details, here's where you need to go.

In terms of the judging panel, here's the link with photos/bios for everyone. They haven't quite got my name right, but that will be fixed any day now. For more detail, the press release announcing the judges went out on Tuesday, and from there, feel free to explore the website proper, and follow the tweets - @BestinBizAwards.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

UC Webinar with ShoreTel - May 2

Busy week here, and I've got another webinar to tell you about that I'm doing. This one is with ShoreTel, and it's coming up quickly - next Thursday - May 2 at 2pm ET.

I recently wrote a White Paper for ShoreTel about the virtues of three paths to UC - premise-based, cloud and hybrid, and as you may know, they are one of a few vendors who can support all three. Each has its place depending on your situation, and both businesses and channels are struggling to make the right choice.

You're welcome to download that paper any time, and if these choices are on your radar, then you'll want to sign up for this webinar. I'll be sharing highlights from my White Paper, and will be joined by a ShoreTel customer as well as a channel partner.

Collectively, this will give you a broad perspective on the drivers for each scenario along with hands-on realities from the field. We're not doing this to tell you which path is best for UC, but to provide guidance for you to decide which path is best for your needs.

I hope you can join us, and to get you there, here's the landing page with all the details along with the registration form.

Monday, April 22, 2013

UC Summit Preview - Lync and the Channel Opportunity

Am wearing my UCStrategies hat here, as the 2013 UC Summit is coming up and starts this Sunday. I'll be there for my second time and am very much looking forward to it.

This time around I'll be speaking as well, and am co-presenting with fellow UCStrategies Expert, Kevin Kieller. We'll be looking at the business opportunity Lync presents to channel partners. It's a mixed bag, but there is money to be made, and more importantly, Lync offers a path to keep your customers.

I'm going to steer you now to a more detailed writeup of mine about the opportunity, which has now been posted on the UCStrategies portal. There's more information there as well about the Summit, just in case you haven't made up your mind yet. Hopefully, my preview article will push you off the fence, and I hope to see you in La Jolla!

Cybersecurity Webinar for Smart Grid - May 8

Cybersecurity is a complex topic, and I follow it to some degree in the VoIP and IP communications spaces. While the threats are real, it's easy to ignore them until something bad happens. I know this sounds eerily familiar to what happened last Monday in Boston, but these threats are not well understood, and the bad guys just need to be a step ahead of where you feel safe to do their thing.

Some of you know that Smart Grid is another market I stay busy in, and frankly, I can't think of a bigger cybersecurity target to be worried about than our power infrastructure. I'm pretty attuned to this given my focus on the growing overlap between Smart Grid and communications, especially when IP is layered across this.

On that note, I'm wearing my Zpryme hat on May 8, when I'll be moderating a webinar on the importance of this topic for utilities. They have a lot of catching up to do, and as Smart Grid matures, cybersecurity will pose more of a risk unless the right precautions are in place. Joining me will a speaker from the webinar sponsor, ViaSat, along with a cybersecurity strategist from UTC.

This should be of timely interest to anyone in the Smart Grid space, as well as those interested in cybersecurity issues for vertical markets - and this is a pretty big one. Details to register can be found here, and I hope you can join us on May 8.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

UCStrategies Podcast - Innovation Roundup

Don't ask where the time goes - it just does. Blogging for me lately has become like VoIP - it's on a "best efforts" basis - not because I have nothing to say - am just too busy. Also, as you hopefully know, my writing pops up regularly in a few places, so I'm not that hard to find.

One thing I try to do regularly is participate in the weekly UCStrategies podcast, and Dave Michels led a great topic a few days back. Instead of talking about what all the majors are doing to tighten their grip on global domination, the focus was on innovation we're seeing from the smaller guys. As usual, this is where most of the cool ideas percolate up from, and each of us has our own circle to draw from.

I chimed in near the end, talking mostly about Fonolo, and what they're doing with virtual queuing to reduce hold times in the contact center. Aside from making the customer's life easier, this actually saves the contact center a lot of money, and I wanted to cite Fonolo because their solution is built around a specific business problem rather than being a catch-all for a lot of things.

I also added some thoughts to two vendors mentioned earlier in the call - Vidtel and Esna Technologies. Video got a lot of attention on the call, and Vidtel is emerging as one to watch, along with BlueJeans. For transparency purposes, I'll note that I'm an Advisor to both Fonolo and Vidtel, but that doesn't mean I can't speak well of them objectively, especially when I'm also talking about other vendors in a similar light.

Enough about that - it's a solid podcast, and you can check it out right here, right now.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

UC Summit 2013 Coming Up

Regular readers will know that I'm part of the UCStrategies group, and I contribute a monthly post to the portal. Their annual UC Summit is coming up later this month, and to start buiding some buzz, the first press release went out today.

Last year I attended for the first time; it was a great event and am happy to be returning for the 2013 edition.  Unlike most conferences, this one is invitation-only - it's a good way to ensure the best fit among attendees, sponsors and speakers.

Speaking of speakers, I've been asked to do just that, and will be co-presenting a breakout session with fellow Torontonian and UCStrategies Expert, Kevin Keiller. We'll be talking about Microsoft Lync and how channels can monetize this opportunity. There are definitely pros and cons to going with Lync and we'll be looking at both sides of the story. The agenda is still being mapped out, but I think we're on at 2pm on Sunday, April 28.

I'll update you soon, but for more detail, as well as how to apply for an invitation to attend, here's what you need to do next.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Consolidation Trends in the UC Space - Podcast

I really am trying to blog more regularly, but so many things are keeping me busy, and my writing has found a few regular homes, so it's not hard to see what I'm up to.

Podcasts are another forum, and I try to participate in the weekly sessions hosted by UCStrategies, which remains the best source I know of to keep current in the ever-changing UC space. This week's topic is a great example of that, as we focused our groupthink on consolidation, an inevitable trend in every market.

M&A activity is perking up, and the deals are getting bigger, with Oracle's recent buy of Acme Packet setting the bar yet even higher. I think that move is a sign of what's coming, and you can read more about that in this post of mine, also on UCStrategies.

Getting back to the bigger topic, there are several avenues worth exploring, both in terms of specific vendors - such as RIM, Avaya, Polycom, BroadSoft and others - as well as which segments along the value change are ripe for change. So much to talk about and speculate on, and so little time. Without further ado, then, the podcast is ready for listening on the UCS portal. Thanks to Don van Doren for moderating and we hope you enjoy our perspectives. Comments as always are welcome, as are suggestions for future podcast topics.