Thursday, January 29, 2015

My UCStrategies Post: VoIP at 20 and Why the Best is Yet to Come for UC

I'm attending TMC's ITExpo this week, and yesterday they had a great one-off panel celebrating VoIP's 20th anniversary. I've been pretty close to the center of VoIP for a long time, and it was a special gathering to have so many pioneers and innovators in one place.

I touched on this in my earlier post today as part of my overall takeaways from the conference. There was more to say, however, and I put that together for my current contribution to the UCStrategies portal, with some messages there for UC as well as VoIP.

If you haven't come across this yet from that post, you can access it directly there. Either way, I hope you give it a read and would love to hear your thoughts, especially if you go back to those heady times when it looked like VoIP would obliterate the telcos.

ITExpo Miami - Quick Hits

Once things get going here at ITExpo, it's hard to know when I'll get time to blog, so am just doing a quick check-in now.

Yesterday was the first full day, and I took in a solid mix of keynotes and panel sessions. We heard first from Guvinder Ahluwalia from IBM, talking about where the cloud is going, and how distruptors like Uber are developing new business models based on shifting physical assets into the cloud-based digital world where they become much more liquid. As much as I'm not a fan of Uber's tactics, every industry is ripe for re-invention when the Internet of Things and the cloud become the drivers (no pun intended!)

Next up was Mitel CEO Rich McBee, and he provided a nice overview of how techology diffusion is a long process. We take it for granted when new things gain rapid adoption, but that's more the exception that the rule. His main point is that UC remains a work in progress, and TDM will be with us for years to come, so success requires solutions that work across new and old technologies. He also gave his 10 predictions for UC, and at the core of things, he contends that voice quality is still a big deal. I agree, and it shows that after all these years of innovation with IP communications, this basic need has still not been perfected.

Moving along, we next had a great one-off panel to celebrate 20 years of VoIP. I don't know the next time you'll see all these people in one place, but it was pretty special to pull this together, so kudos to Rich Tehrani, Andy Abramson and others who made this happen.

There's lots to say about what they talked about, and I prepared my thoughts for my current contribution to the UCStrategies portal. It's running now, and if you have a warm spot for VoIP, or want to know what some pretty smart people think about innovation, I hope you'll read my post.

Another highlight from yesterday was the Net Neutrality panel, and we heard again from many of the above speakers. There is a lot at stake here as it affects all of us - not just in the communications space, but as consumers too.  Am glad the topic was covered at the conference, and I wish it would get more attention at every event out there.

Otherwise, the show floor opened at 5, and it was the usual rush to the bar and then a walkabout to check out the exhibitors. Great energy out there, and a pretty healthy mix of vendors from across the whole telecom ecosystem. If there's one theme that stands out, it's M2M, and those exhibitors were getting plenty of traffic.

I've also been taking my share of briefings, and am moderating panels today and tomorrow, so it's constant motion. I'll try to blog again before the show ends, and otherwise, feel free to follow my tweets - @arnoldjon.

Monday, January 26, 2015

ITExpo Panel Update - Customer Experience and Telco 2.0

Just wanted to give you the latest info on my second panel at ITExpo, starting tomorrow in Miami.

We've added another speakers now. Joining myself and Rene Sotola from CGI, will be Hugh Goldstein from Voxbone.

Earlier today I posted about another speaker being added, but she has since switched out to speak on another panel. I'll post again if we end up adding a third speaker.

We'll be in Room B213 at 10am Friday, and hope to see you there. For more detail about our session and the conference program overall, here's the agenda.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Metaswitch Canada Technology Day on Monday - Speaking at 10:15

Just a final shout-out for this event, and if you're local, it's not too late to register.

Great to see Metaswitch supporting the Canadian market with a tech day, and I'll be doing my part by speaking about how hosted VoIP/UC can be a great move for carriers to transition their customers from legacy telephony and into the richer world of cloud-based services.

In addition to my post here, I wanted to share yesterday's post about the event from the Metaswitch blog - thanks Carol! However you find out about their Technology Day, if you're able to make it, I have no doubt it will be time well spent.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

ETS15 in Austin, March 25-26 - my Smart Grid Hat and new Articles

Many of you know I've been active in the Smart Grid space for years, as there's a lot of overlap with the IP communications market. It's actually a great growth opportunity going both ways, and I try to straddle both as best I can.

I'm an Advisor with Austin-based Zpryme Research, and that keeps me rooted in the latest trends for Smart Grid and energy overall. Last March, Zpryme launched the inaugural ETS - Energy Thought Summit, and I had a few roles for that event. If you don't recall, we had Steve Wozniak keynote, and for a first-time event, it was quite successful.

This coming March is ETS15, and I'll be posting/tweeting regularly to help drive attendance. I'll be wearing even more hats at this event, and I won't be hard to find if you're planning to attend. I'm donning one of those hats as the ETS Community Advocate, and have just started a series of posts specific to the event that will run on the ETS Insights portal. This is the go-to spot for all the news about the summit, and my first post is running now.

If this space is of interest, I hope you sign up for regular updates, including my articles. All I can tell you is that ETS15 is going to be a great experience, and you'll be hard-pressed to get a more intense overview of where energy is going. The warm weather and live music scene aren't too bad either, and I know where I'm going to be March 25-26.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

ITExpo Preview #2 - Panel: Customer Experience and Telco 2.0

I'll be moderating two panels next week at TMC's ITExpo, and yesterday I posted about the first one. My second panel is on Friday at 10am, and I hope you can join us.

The session is titled Customer Experience and Telco 2.0, and we'll be speaking about the kinds of experiences that service providers need to deliver in order to meet the expectations of today's subscribers. Almost anyone can be a "service provider" now with cloud-based platforms, so the competition has never been more daunting and the hold over subscribers has never been so tenuous.

Whether you're an operator trying to figure out how to stay in the game, or a subscriber trying to better understand what's out there in the ever-expanding service provider universe, I think you'll find this an engaging session.

Joining me will be Rene Sotola of CGI, and we're hoping to add a couple more speakers this week. By the time next Friday rolls around, you shouldn't have any trouble finding us in Room B213, but just in case, all the details are here - just scroll down the Conference Program page until you find our date and time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Last call - today's ShoreTel webinar - noon ET - not 2pm

Just  one more quick post to keep/get this on your radar. In about 2.5 hours, I'll be presenting highlights from my new White Paper about how BYOE is driving value for UC. Registration details are here.

Apologies, today's webinar is at 12pm ET, NOT 2pm as originally posted.

ITExpo Preview #1 - Panel: What is Real UC, Really?

The 2015 East edition of TMC's ITExpo is just a week away now, and weather-wise, I'm ready. I'm also ready for the conference, during which I'll be moderating two panels.

First up is on Thursday, Jan. 29 at 12:30, and as the title suggests, we'll be exploring the real nature of UC - what it is, what it should do, what benefits should you really expect, etc. Joing me will be David Byrd from ANPI, Asif Rehman from BroadSoft, Joshua Haslett from Mitel, and a TBD speaker from West IP Communications.

There may be more questions than answers, but if you're still trying figure UC out, coming to our session should be an easy decision. We'll be in Room B213, and for more details, just scroll through the conference agenda to our date and time.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015 UC Forecast - UCStrategies Podcast

Well, this didn't take long to get posted. On Tuesday, the UCStrategies Experts gathered to share their 2015 outlook thoughts, and as usual, we all had something to say. Nobody knows what the future holds, but it's clear that UC will continue undergoing fundamental shifts as our world becomes increasingly defined by the cloud and those bright, shiny mobile devices.

I think the outlook for UC as we know it is bleak, and my thoughts were the starting point after which everyone else shared their views on the call. To better understand my perspective, you might want to check out our last podcast, which focused on 2014 and how that sets the stage for 2015. If you can do that, great - otherwise, your next stop should be this week's podcast, and you can pick it up here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Omni-Channel Contact Centers - my Current TMC Column

I've been writing a monthly column for some time for TMCnet, and under the banner Rethinking Communications, I address a wide range of trends that are shaping today's comms landscape. My columns usually run in their flagship pub, Internet Telephony, but given the focus, this one is running now in Customer magazine.

Omni-channel sounds big and complicated, and it actually is. This doesn't mean, however, you should ignore it, as the upside for improving the customer experience is pretty exciting. The best place to start is at the beginning, and my article breaks down the concept and explains what got us to omni-channel. I hope you find it a good starting point for this topic, and here's a direct link to the post.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

ITExpo Preview - JAA Interviewed by TMC: "The Tech Road Ahead"

I started posting about the upcoming ITExpo recently, and will be doing more of that over the next two weeks. This is TMCnet's flagship event, and when the weather is this cold, Miami Beach can't come soon enough.

If you're keeping score, I'm moderating two panels, and you'll be hearing about those very soon. For now, I'm going to share an interview TMC did with me to help set the stage for ITExpo. It's titled "The Tech Road Ahead", where I share my views on various tech trends you can expect to see covered at length at the show. Here's the link, and if it inspires you to book your trip to join us, I'll buy you a fancy cocktail - and perhaps TMC will buy me one too!

2014 UC Review - UCStrategies Podcast

In my books, we've passed the point now for wishing each other Happy 2015, but 2014 is still fresh, and there was a lot of change last year in the UC space.

You won't find a more diverse and informed collection of UC perspectives than UCStrategies, and our weekly podcasts - as best we can - are a great way to showcase this. The theme for last week's session was the "most significant" events we surmised over the course of 2014.

Dave Michels was our more-than-able moderator, and we all took our turns on the topic in three minutes or less. Lots to digest here, and placeholders are provided for when each of us starts speaking.

My segment starts at the 28:40 mark, but I'm just one of many voices, and I encourage you give this a listen, as it will set the stage nicely for what's coming this year. In fact, that's the focus of this week's podcast, so if you like this one, you'll definitely want to catch the 2015 version, which should be posted around this time next week.

Until then, here's the link to the MP3, and we'd love to hear your thoughts after giving it a listen.

Monday, January 12, 2015

My New White Paper - How BYOE Drives Value for UC

I write my fair share of White Papers, and this is my second one with ShoreTel. As the title indicates, my focus is on BYOE and how it's impacting the value proposition for UC.  We all know how UC is becoming more end-user driven, and since this means many different things, UC is morphing in new directions. This is part of UC's ongoing evolution, but it's clear now that end users are bringing new expectations into the workplace that conventional forms of UC can no longer address.

There's lots to consider here, and my paper examines what BYOE needs to look like for vendors to sell UC today, along with what it means for end users. The concept is still very new, so there's also a lot to learn, and my intention is to provide business decision-makers with a foundation rooted in what's happening today.

The White Paper has just been published on ShoreTel's website, and here's the link to register and download a copy.

If you didn't catch my earlier post today, there's a companion to this in the form a webinar I'm doing next Tuesday that will feature highlights from the White Paper. Here's the post with details, and I hope can join us!

ShoreTel Shout-out #1 - Next Week's BYOE/UC Webinar

Just wanted to keep the message out there about my webinar next Tuesday with ShorteTel. I'll be presenting key highlights from my just-published White Paper (more on that in my next post) about how BYOE - bring your own experience - is driving value for UC in new ways.

I'll be joined by one of ShoreTel's top channel partners - the LANAIR Group - so you'll have a chance to learn from both my industry research along with the everyday realities of selling and supporting UC in the trenches. BYOE is a great example of how the UC value proposition is shifting from the needs of IT to end users, and this has major implications right across the value chain.

I hope you can join us next Tuesday at 2pm ET, and for more details on the webinar and how to register, just follow this link.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Metaswitch Technology Day: Canada - Speaking Jan. 26

There aren't many Canadian events in my space, and it's nice to see Metaswitch running one here in Toronto. I've closely followed them for years, and they've done a great job winning a lot of business up here with independent carriers. As such, this is a good opportunity to gather that community and share their roadmap along with updates on industry trends.

This is a one-day event, and I'll be speaking at 10:15 about how hosted services provide opportunities for carriers to keep their customers and drive new revenues. The event will be in Toronto, Monday, Jan. 26, and for those who might find this worth attending, all the details are here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Next ZD Webinar - UC and BYOD - Feb. 24

I have a full plate to keep me going in early 2015, and next month will be another Ziff Davis B2B webinar. Regular followers will know that I write frequently for their portal, and some of my themes become developed into webinars.

That's what we'll be doing on Tuesday, February 24 at 2pm ET. The webinar is titled "Why BYOD Matters with UC - Strategies for Success", and if this topic is on your mind, you'll want to join us. I'll be presenting an overview of how BYOD is impacting business communications, and what SMBs need to do to incorporate this into their UC deployment plans.

I'll do more shout-outs as the date approaches, and to learn more now as well as register, here's the landing page for the webinar. I hope you can join us.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

December Writing Roundup

Happy 2015! Hope you had some good time away from telecom/tech. I sure did, but now it's back to work and looking ahead to what the new year holds in store. Before doing that, I wanted to share my top posts from December - some of which have a 2015 focus.

Will UC be About Process or Outcomes in 2015?  Adtran UC blog, Dec. 30

2015 UC Outlook - Who's Driving the Bus?  UCStrategies, Dec. 29

Business Continuity - how VoIP Brings Agility, Dec. 23

Three Trends Behind Remote Working, Dec. 18

Do you know your VoIP?  Network World, Dec. 12

What Happens with UC when all your Employees are Tech-savvy?  Adtran UC blog, Dec. 4

Big Picture Benefit #2 - Every Business can use VoIP, Dec. 4