Friday, July 31, 2015

UCS Podcast: What Is/Should be Kaput or End-of-Life?

We had some fun on this week's UCStrategies podcast, talking about things we think should be goners or are walking dead, but just don't know it yet.

Of course, everyone has their pet peeves, and the one that resonated for me was Kevin Kieller's comment about privacy. Yeah, that's a big one, and we're giving it up, one tweet at a time - as long as we can have fun in the moment, really, what else is more important in life? Party on....

I'm even bleaker, but you'll have to get to the 28:19 mark for my thoughts. Lots of good ideas otherwise - some very technical and some just everyday practical. Unless I missed something, I don't think anyone said that UC itself is kaput, and there are certainly times when I think that's the case.

Let's stay upbeat and get you over to our portal. The podcast was moderated by the always-you're-wrong-unless-I-tell-you-otherwise Dave Michels, and it's now posted there for downloading.

Sneak peek - I'll be moderating next weeks's podcast - that will be a first for me as a UC Expert. I recently posted about some new research that had some noteworthy findings about how SMBs view UC. It's not a topic we hear enough about, so we'll all get to explore things further then. Watch for it here and on the UCStrategies site towards the end of next week.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Analyzing VoIP Basics - New Post, New Series

I've been contributing to TechTarget in various forms for many years, and am currrently working with them on a VoIP series, which will be followed by a UC series.

Ultimately, these series are being produced to help IT make better buying decisions around communications technologies, and my posts provide independent analysis that will be complemented by other forms of content from other contributors.

My first post for the VoIP series was published yesterday on their SearchUnifiedCommunications portal. It's titled "Analyzing VoIP basics reveals telephony's evolution", and it's getting good traction already. I hope you give it a read, and even better if care to share it - and, as always, comments are welcome.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Accolade for my Blog - 2015 Top Tech Blog Awards

From time to time, we all get recognition, and in the morass of anonymity known as the Internet, it's always good to have validation that someone is actually paying attention. Most of us don't blog to make money - I write, therefore I blog. Well, not as much as I used to, and now it's just one of many platforms I use to share my views on the markets I follow.

Vendors and operators aren't the first things that come to mind as award-givers, but like everyone else, they have to rely on independent sources for what's happening out there. Broadview Networks falls into that category, and they've been doing this for a few years now. Being in the hosted communications space, I'm glad to be on their radar.

This week, they announced their 2015 "Top Tech Blog" awards, and am happy to say I'm on the list. I don't know all the blogs in this group, but I'll definitely need to check them out to broaden my own horizons - and would encourage you to do the same. I made their 2013 list as well, so it's good to be back.

Monday, July 27, 2015

How is Microsoft Doing in UC These Days?

In the UC space - UC&C as well for that matter - the world largely revolves around two vendors - Microsoft and Cisco. They're hardly the only games in town, but nobody can match their footprint and market power. Despite Microsoft's size, the jury is constantly out for being leaders or laggards, and I don't think we'll ever have a clear answer.

Whether you think Skype for Business is the right name, they're sticking with it, and the latest development is their plan to add PSTN connectivity to Office 365. You might say it's too little too late for that, but you might also say that it doesn't matter as much now with so many other options for voice.

These are the state-of-flux scenarios that keep us busy at UCStrategies, and that was the focus of our latest podcast. Lots of commentary from all over the spectrum, and this is a great way to get up to speed on where Microsoft is sitting in the eyes of analysts and consultants. The podcast was hosted by Marty Parker, and my comments turn up at the 34:31 mark - here's the link.

Also, a warm welcome to Simon Dudley as part of our UC Expert ranks. We worked well together when he was at Lifesize, and we look forward to his UCStrategies contributions, which actually begin with this podcast.

Friday, July 24, 2015

What SMBs Think About UC - New Research

Hopefully you know that as a UC Expert with UCStrategies, I contribute a monthly post to their best-in-the-biz portal. I'm working on a project with Metaswitch Networks, where I'm producing a report that pulls together the findings from their current 2015 SMB Market Report - and you'll be hearing about that soon. This study is quite extensive, and my job is to distill a ton of slides and a mountain of backup data into concise guidance for decision makers about VoIP and UC. I've been a market research practitioner for 30+ years, so I'm definitely up to the task.

For UCStrategies (with blessings from Metaswitch), I've zeroed in on the handful of questions asked specifically about UC, and the findings are definitely worth sharing. Even these few data points tell a good story, so if you want to quickly digest how SMBs are seeing UC, you'll want to give my analysis a read. It was just posted to the portal, so here you go. Would love to hear your thoughts, especially if you're an SMB.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Should SMBs Buy From Incumbents?

Time flies when you're busy and I didn't realize how long it's been since my last blog post. Life happens, summer's here and my kids are away. Am also working on a re-fresh of my website, and you'll be hearing more about that over the next few months. Back to work now.

My current Rethinking Communications column is now running in Internet Telephony magazine and as the title suggests, there's a David vs. Goliath reality when it comes to making decisions about VoIP and UC. SMBs have not been the highest priority for incumbents, and with so much competition now chasing this market, they have to up their game to keep what was once a captive customer base.

By nature, incumbents cannot easily change their stripes, but by necessity, they're learning to be more SMB-friendly, and that's what my post explores. I hope you give it a read, and would love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Wednesday Webinar - What to do with your Aging Phone System

Just one more alert about this Wednesday's webinar I'm doing with Ziff Davis B2B. What started out as a topic specifically about aging Nortel phone systems, has now been broadened to address what all SMBs struggle with as time marches on.The value proposition of telephony sure has changed, and if you take a glass-half-full approach, it can be an exciting time for moving on to today's IP-based technology.

The webinar is at 2pm ET, and all the details for registration are here. Hope you can join us.

Friday, July 10, 2015

UCStrategies Podcast - Is UCaaS a Blip or a Trend?

That's the question we tackled on this week's UCStrategies podcast. Lots of opinions on this one, and I'm not going to give it away here. Let's just say UCaaS is for real, but we're not there yet.

Dave Michels moderated this one, and my comments start at the 25:41 mark. Everyone has something to say on the topic, and if you can't listen to the whole thing, feel free to cherry pick for the UC Experts you want to hear from. It's posted now on our portal, and we'd love to hear your thoughts as well.

Cisco Canada - Pan Am Games Update

Today is the official opening of the 2015 Pan Am Games here in Toronto, and it's totally taken over the city. Cisco is a major partner, driving most of the technology both behind and in front of the scenes. It's a great opportunity to showcase their collaboration, networking, wireless and data security capabilities, much like the games are a huge global showcase for the city.

Yesterday, I was part of the local media and analyst contingent invited to Cisco Canada's new HQ. The main focus was to update us on all the cool things they're doing around the games, but also to invite us back to their almost-ready new offices. Back in February, I was part of the hardhat tour that showed us their vision for intelligent buildings, and now we're seeeing the near-finished product.

Cisco excels at large-scale challenges, and this is as big as it gets in Canada. Much of what we saw and heard will be baked into the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and that was another reason why yesterday's event was populated mostly by visiting media from Latin America. It was a lively group, and thankfully, they had a translator to follow Cisco's messaging.

Plenty of buzz all over town, and everyone loves to follow the torch relay leading up to tonight's opening ceremonies. They had a couple of torches on display yesterday for photo opps, but the main event was about how Cisco is keeping all that data flowing faster than any of us can possibly run. I'm sure they'll hold up their end of the bargain, but we're not quite at the point where it can solve all the traffic congestion. That's another topic, and for now, let's stay in a good mood and enjoy the games!

And - don't forget to tweet - #TO2015 for the games, and #CiscoTO2015 for their feed. Overall, here's a cool social media tracker from Cisco Canada for all the tweets - have fun.

 Cisco Canada President, Bernadette Wightman
Cisco Canada CTO, Jeff Seifert giving us a real-time check-in of the Velodrome located in Milton, about an hour outside Toronto
 Cisco Innovation Center demo
 What the space looked like back in February

 Lucky me - I happened to see the torch bearer passing through my neighborhood earlier this week
Ok, so look closely - yes, that's a big spider outside the window. We're 29 stories up - how did it get there, and how is it surviving? Maybe a new Olympic event?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

June Writing Roundup

Had several events in June, plus I'm still getting settled from moving, but I managed to stay busy on the writing front. Here's a digest of my top posts for June that showcase what I'm seeing the IP comms space. I also had a blast playing keyboards with the SIPtones at the Interactive Intelligence event in Indy. Once the video highlights have been compiled, I'll share that here and on social media.

Hosted VoIP Landscape - Incumbents: Pros and Cons,, June 30

Cloud Realities to Consider for Hosted VoIP,, June 23

Interactions 2015 - Big Bets, Smart Bets, Great Music and a Silver Lining for UC - UCStrategies, June 15

Three VoIP Realities - Caveat Emptor for SMBs,, June 11

VoIP Security - It's Real, but so are the Solutions, Internet Telephony Magazine, June 8

CTCA 2015 Conference - What Partnering Means for UC, UCStrategies, June 5

Hosted VoIP for SMBs - Evaluating Your Needs,, June 2

Canadian Telecom Summit Highlights, my blog, June 2

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

State of UC 2015 - The Experts Weigh In is one of the better info portals designed to help SMBs make buying decisions around communications technologies, especially VoIP and UC. That's definitely my sweet spot, and I've been tapped several times by GetVoIP's founder Reuben Yonatan for his various state of the market reviews.

This time around, the focus was on UC, and I was one of several analysts asked to comment on where things are going in 2015. If you follow me on UCStrategies, you'll know I'm close to this space, as are several others for this update. Overall, it's a pretty informed take on UC, so if you want to know what the thought leaders think, I urge you to give it a read, and show Mr. Yonatan some link love.