Thursday, July 31, 2014

Internet of Things Twitter Chat - Full Replay Posted Now

As you likely know, I was a panelist on yesterday's twitter chat about the Internet of Things. The session was hosted by IT World Canada, and was ably managed by Candice So and Brian Jackson. I was joined by Laurie Desautels of PwC and Sachin Mahajan of Telus, and our views were nicely complemented by all the participants who chimed in.

I've never done a twitter chat before, and one great thing is that the results can be shared in real time, as well as right after the event. As such, IT World Canada was able to post the full set of tweets over the course of the hour within minutes of it being over. I'm sharing that now with my followers, and I hope you give it a read - here's the link.

I enjoyed the experience, but this was new for me, and it was a real struggle to keep the tweets coming. The posts come in rapid succession, and with TweetDeck some show up right away and others much later, or not at all. So, it's really hard to follow what's going on, and it's easy to miss threads. Since it happens in real time, you have to write quickly, and that's not my style. I hate making typos, but it comes with the territory, and if I had more time to think, I'd probably answer differently.

Then, there's the 140 character thing. IoT/IoE is a rich topic, and you just can't say much in this format. Wearing my biz dev hat - which must always be on - I could say that the strategy is to only say enough to sound wise and then hopefully companies will hire me to get the full set of advice. Well, that is my business, so I would always welcome that, but our main purpose was to create dialog and educate the market about why this is such a hot topic.

I think we did a good job overall, and we had some great dialog. My main caveat is that this format is unmoderated, making it a free-for-all. Spontaneity can be great, but I don't like seeing tweets promoting your work/company interspersed with genuine conversation from people who just want to learn what's going on. Anyhow, social media cuts both ways, and I'm sure you'll get something out of this, and I'd love to hear what you thought of the event.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Last Call - Today's Twitter Chat on the Internet of Things

Just a friendly reminder about this twitter chat at 1pm ET today. I've never done a panel with this format before, but it should be fun.

IT World Canada is the host, and they've outlined 10 questions for the panel. I'll be joined by Sachin Mahajan from Telus M2M and Laurie Desautels from PwC. All the details are in this post, and I hope you can join us.

Monday, July 28, 2014

VoIP's Hidden Value for SMBs - Aug. 26 Webinar

Among other things, I contribute regularly to Ziff Davis B2B and their portals, and VoIP News. Aside from articles and buyer guides, I do webinars with them to provide more in-depth coverage of topics to help SMBs make better buying decisions.

My next webinar is Tuesday, August 26 at 2pm ET. The title is a bit of a hook, and the hidden value I'll be talking about is two-fold - the rich feature set of VoIP as well as the overall ease of deployment. VoIP isn't a simple matter of snapping your fingers, however, so I'll be looking at both sides of the coin for what lies in store.

The main message, however, is that there's more to VoIP than cost savings, and how it puts you on the path to where communications technology is going instead of where it's been for the past 40 years.

I hope you can join us on the 26th, and all the details for registration are one click away.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Race for UC in the Cloud - is Avaya too late?

I don't have the definitive answer for that, but yesterday, Avaya announced their "fast track" cloud-based solution for UCC. By now, you should know that UC has morphed into UC&C - UC + Collaboration - making it a more strategic investment. This isn't what the pioneers of UC had in mind, but if that's what drives sales, so be it.

On top of that is the full-steam-ahead push to the cloud for everything, including network infrastructure. I sure hope this works, since almost everyone is now betting heavily on the cloud. I'm sure things will work out in the end, but right now, this is where you have to be to win or keep business - even if the business model isn't all there yet.

Avaya's news - and emphasis on "fast track" - got me thinking more about where UC is going, and that's what my current writeup for UCStrategies is about. I'm not sure if Avaya's "fast track" ultimately refers to them or their customers, but it really doesn't matter. What matters is getting to the cloud now, hopefully before your competitors do.

Just as the cloud is now superceding premise-based deployments, something else could come along a few years from now to supecede the cloud, but let's not go there yet. Instead, please go to the UCStrategies portal now, and I hope my post gives you some food for thought.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Shout-out for our July 30 Twitter Chat on the Internet of Things

Just wanted to keep or get this event on your radar. IT World Canada is the host, and they're doing a great job promoting it so far. There are two updates since I last posted about this:

1. New speaker from Telus M2M - Sachin Mahajan

2. A third speaker has been added: Laurie Desautel from PwC's tech advisory group.

Of course, I say "speaker" loosely since we'll all be tweeting, and I'm too old fashioned to call someone a tweeter.

Should be a great session, and I hope you can join us. For more detail, including all the related twitter handles, I'm going to steer to you to my initial post - it's all there, including the link to the sign up page.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Twitter Chat on the Internet of Things - Join us, July 30

Well, here's something different. I'm going to be a featured speaker - for lack of a better word - on this upcoming event. It's being hosted by IT World Canada, and they've invited a speaker from TELUS and myself to discuss a series of issues around the hashtag du jour, #IoT. If you blink, that hashtag becomes #IoE - and this itself will be one of the things we'll be covering - the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything.

Something tells me that before July 30, another concentric circle will be added to this ever-expanding IoX universe. Kinda reminds me of the 2000 Year Old Man routine, when Mel Brooks explains his initial reaction when he discovered God's existence - "you mean there's something bigger than Phil?". Oy.

All schtick aside, this is a big topic, and it needs vendor-neutral attention. There's a lot of hype but a lot of promise as well, and businesses need to be thinking about what IoT/IoE could mean to them sooner than later. Big Data has a lot to do with this, so this means thinking big about new frontiers nobody really has a handle on yet. Should we fear IoT or embrace it? Well, I'm not really sure, so why not tune in and add your own take to things.

Call it what you want - we'll be chatting, tweeting, texting, messaging, discussing, speaking with our keyboards - something to that effect, but it should be interesting. I'll be joined by Greg Stark from the M2M group of TELUS, and here's the landing page for more detail.

If you're into hashtags, you can follow me here: @arnoldjon, and for the event itself, #ITWCIOT. Tweet you there!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Are you Communicating or Collaborating?

That's the title of my current writeup for TMC's flagship Internet Telephony Magazine. As you may know, I write a monthly column there, Rethinking Communications, and I'm always looking to push the envelope on what defines value in our space.

These two words are often used in close proximity, and since the definition of UC is so fluid, I felt it important to examine the differences between communication and collaboration. They are not equivalent activities, but it's easy to see how you  might think that way, especially while hopelessly multi-tasking.

Collaboration means different things to different people -as does communication for that matter - and these will be further explored separately in future columns, but to get the ball rolling, I'll steer you now to my column - and hopefully hear what you think. Isn't that what these ideas are all about?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Multichannel and the Contact Center - join us with Fonolo, July 17

Good things take time to put together, and the good folks at Fonolo are hosting another Google Hangouts session on July 17. As you may know, Fonolo is a Toronto-based vendor that continues to do innovative things in the contact center, and they're great at sharing knowledge and educating the market.

Multichannnel is a pretty disruptive concept that changes the way contact centers operate and how communications technology is becoming so critical to today's customer service experience. What that in mind, our next Hangouts is framed by the title "Top 3 Questions About Multichannel Customer Service".

I think we'll go a bit beyond three questions, and if this is on your mind, you'll definitely want to join us next Thursday, July 17 at 3pm ET. Fonolo's CEO, Shai Berger will do his usual hosting/moderating, and the questions will be handled by a panel of four - Art Rosenberg of The Unified View (and fellow UCStrategies Expert), Keith Dawson of Ovum, Ian Jacobs of Forrester, and myself.

Google Hangouts has its pros and cons, but for sessions like this, it's a great tool, and I hope you can join us. Fonolo has posted all the details here on their blog, and after you register, I hope you spend some time on their site to see some of the cool things they're doing in this space. Canada may have come up short at Wimbledon, but we've got some pretty good tech companies, and I know a few of 'em.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Internet Trends 2014 from Mary Meeker - UC Implications

We had a great podcast last week at UCStrategies, with the focus being our take on Mary Meeker's annual state-of-the-Web address. With over 140 slides, her presentation and video chat was OTT overkill, and you'd need to do a lot of unpacking to digest all of this.

Mary's talk was high level, but with lots of big takeaways on where the Web is going. The purpose of our podcast was to view this through our collective UC lens and share how we see this impacting our space. As our discussion unfolded, it became clear there's a lot of value to the commentary, as we reflected that Mary didn't really provide much analysis to help regular folks make sense of these mega trends. Data dump comes to mind a bit here, so it was a productive exercise for us to filter all this for our audience.

So, if you think Mary Meeker is on the pulse of technology - which I would vote Yes - then you should find our podcast time well spent. The audio file has now been posted to the UCStrategies portal, and links to Mary's slides and talk are included. Dave Michels moderated the session, and if you want to follow specific comments (mine start just shy of the 15 minute mark), there are break points provided so you can find when each of us is talking.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

June Writing Roundup

I was on the road a lot last month, so most of my blogging was about industry events. Otherwise, I kept up my steady diet of posts on Ziff Davis B2B, ADTRAN's blog and UC Strategies. For those of you who didn't read absolutely everything I wrote last month (really?), here's a quick digest that will still make for good reading.

Making music with the SIPtones at Interactions 2014, June 27, my blog

New contact center research from Interactive Intelligence, June 24, UCStrategies portal

Why toll fraud isn't your biggest VoIP security concern, June 23,

Personal video and UC - what are you afraid of?, Part 2, June issue, Internet Telephony Magazine

Top 10 things that will change with UC, June 18, ADTRAN blog

Genband Perspectives 2014 - Takeaways, Tricks, Pix and Throwbacks, June 13, my blog

Should you worry about Blackshades with VoIP?, June 6,

Interactions 2014 - PureCloud, Millennials, Boulders, Football and the SIPtones!, June 6, my blog

The Rise and Fall of Nortel - Infographic, June 2,

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Changing IT Spending Habits in the UC Space - UCS Podcast

Back to blogging after some time off to take in the Montreal Jazz Festival. First rate all around, and if you like jazz, it's pretty hard to beat.

For bi-nationals like me, we have a small window this week between Canada Day and July 4, so today and tomorrow are the only days that people in the U.S. and Canada will be paying much attention to things like blogs and podcasts, so I'd better do this now!

Last week, the UCStrategies team had a deep-dive podcast looking at the various ways enterprise spending is changing. It's not hard to see how UC fits into that conversation, nor how things like the cloud, BYOD, WebRTC, social media and video - just to name a few - are impacting where/how the money is being spent. This makes the topic equally interesting for buyers and sellers of UC solutions, and it's incredible to see how telephony is increasingly less relevant when budgets are being set.

Marty Parker took the lead moderating this podcast, and we all had our say during the call. The podcast has been posted now on the UCStrategies portal, and you can find my comments around the 8 minute mark. As you'll see on the link, the start times are posted for each contributor in case you just want to hear specific commentary. Give it a listen, and we'd love to hear your thoughts.