Friday, August 21, 2015

My "Coffee with Chris" Podcast - Comms Technology, Disruption and Millennials

Chris Gorog is an interesting guy, and it's easy to think of everyone in the tech space purely in those terms. We crossed paths around VoIP security, and from there, he's taken me to his real passion, Logic Central Online.

This is a community he's building that's focused on leveraging knowledge beyond tech to help people better understand the real world around them - not the virtual world! - and lead more meaningful lives. I'm not looking for spiritual journeys, but I do like how his ideas help frame technology in a richer context that goes beyond entertainment and making us efficient knowledge workers.

One of his hats is Coffee with Chris, an ongoing podcast series built around these ideas. We did ours recently, and it's posted now on his site. He's got quite a few there, so if you like this sort of thing, there's lots to explore. Our session is CWC 44, and our chat is titled "Bridging the Gap: How the Knowledge of the Working Generation will be a Springboard to the Future for Millennials".

Whew, that's a mouthful, and I would have shortened that title up a lot. Anyhow, it's a bit about how I got into VoIP, and from there a discussion about how pervasive IP-based communications has become. We tied that into themes around Big Data, collaboration, disruptive technology, and how Millennials are adapting to all this change.

It's a bit different from what I normally do, and I hope you give it a listen. If any of this resonates, I'm sure you'll enjoy checking out the other CWC podcasts, as well as his broader Logic Central Online initiatives. I'll be doing that myself, and you'll likely be hearing more about that here soon. Until then, here's the link to our podcast, and any sharing would be great.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My New White Paper for Cisco: The Omnichannel Experience

I write a lot of white papers, and this one has been in the works with Cisco for some time. Things tend to take longer to unfold with large companies, but I'm patient, and Cisco has always been a great client to work with.

The topic is omnichannel, a topic I've been writing about for some time, and Cisco has been on the leading edge in taking contact centers to the next level with this. Like Unified Communications, the omnichannel concept is hard to define - and sell, and deploy, and use - but when all the stars align, it's a pretty powerful approach to improving how contact centers and their agents support customers.

As usual, my white papers are supported by industry-based research, and are largely vendor-neutral. The focus of this paper is very much about how the contact center space has evolved from single channel to multichannel and now to omnichannel, and from there explains where and how it provides new value to the contact center.

To promote the white paper, Cisco has created an infographic, which you can see here.

From there, a link is provided with more detail about my white paper along with a registration form to download it from their site. That's just part of the deal, as vendors generally use white papers to generate leads, but as you'll see, my analysis is about why omnichannel is important - if you want to follow up directly with Cisco after, that's your call.

That aside, I really hope you give it a read, and if the registration process isn't working for you, drop me a line. Am happy to answer questions any time, and as always, any sharing would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My VoIP "Buying Decisions Series" for TechTarget - Parts 1 - 3

I recently started writing a 3-part series about VoIP for TechTarget, and the third post is running now. Together, these posts will be part of a bigger buyer's guide that will be published there soon.

In case you didn't know this was a series of posts, now that they're all running, here are links to all three of them.

#1 - Analyzing VoIP's basics reveals telephony's evolution

#2 - Three use cases that highlight the benefits of VoIP

#3 - What you need to consider before you buy VoIP

As always, comments are welcome, and any sharing you can do with your colleagues or customers would be greatly appreciated!

Friday, August 14, 2015

ADTRAN Connect - First Take

Am back from ADTRAN's 2015 Connect event in Huntsville, Alabama. This was their first press/analyst event since late 2011, so a lot has happened. The company continues to do well, and their big focus now is enabling broadband connectivity. One way is through their Enabling Communities, Connected Lives program to advocate Gigabit broadband buildouts. They're having good success, and this week announced a new milestone, where ADTRAN has now enabled 200 communities with Gigabit connectivity.

Another broadband focus is ProCloud, which is also seeing a lot of momentum. This is their managed WiFi offering, built on their Bluesocket acquisition, and they brought in some customers to talk about how it's being deployed. You'd be surprised at the wide variety of use cases, and this is definitely a case where if you give businesses these capabilities, the applications will quickly materialize.

Closer to my everyday focus, though, ADTRAN has moved away from the UC market, and while they continue to serve the telephony space with their NetVanta product family,it's not a core focus at present.

That said, I think their focus on Gigabit broadband is sound, especially for how it helps make their customers - service providers - more competitive for today's always-on end users. Related to this, we heard a lot about another strong focus - NFV/SDN. Again, they're on the right track, but pretty much all the carrier-centric vendors are doing this, so it's hard to say if this will truly differentiate them.

For now, I just have time for these short comments and a few photos from the event. Gotta get back to everything else, but I'll have more to say soon.
Chris Thompson
Jay Wilson
CEO Tom Stanton during the press/analyst roundtable
Dinner at The Ledges - with just a tiny bit of prodding, I got Kevin Morgan up to sing, and he pretty much stayed there all night!
A few shots from the plant tour - something you don't get to see much of these days unless you go overseas

This is their wall of patents, showcasing all the innovation coming from ADTRAN
Space Museum - this place never gets old - highly recommended. Didn't catch the name of the band performing underneath this gigantic Saturn V rocket, but very impressive.

Monday, August 10, 2015

UCStrategies Podcast - Is There Really a UC Market with SMBs?

That's the topic for last week's UCStrategies podcast, for which I was the moderator.

The question came to mind during my analysis of a recent market study sponsored by Metaswitch Networks and Edgewater Networks. Their research focused on the broader VoIP opportunity, but there was some coverage of UC as well, which I distilled into a post for UCStrategies. That sparked a lot of interest, so we expanded our efforts and did a podcast about it.

There are many angles to explore here, and I think we covered 'em all. I'll let you be the judge of that, so here's the link, and I hope you give it a listen.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Next Stop - ADTRAN Connect

Travel has been very light this summer and am very happy about that as I moved end of May, and still have a lot of unpacking ahead of me. However, I'm also very happy to be going to ADTRAN's Connect event on Monday. It hasn't quite been an annual event, and as I search my blog - yikes - we were last there in late 2011, so there's a lot of catching up to do!

As a matter of course, I get regular briefings, but nothing beats being with their team in their house for a couple of days. Will tweet and post from Huntsville as time allows, but if I come across any killer BBQ recipes, I'll keep those to myself,  :-)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

My New E-Guide: 3 Hot Buttons for Hosted UC

I've been doing some work recently with ShoreTel, a UC player I've been closely following for years. They've carved out a solid niche mainly with SMBs and the mid-market, but like everyone else, have lots of competitors, both for hosted and premise-based offerings.

In June, I did a well-attended webinar with them on the topic of "3 hot buttons for UC". The focus was on three trends currently driving this space, namely security, application integration and scalability.

This was based on some broader research of mine which I have distilled into an e-guide. It's great format to get a quick but effective update on current topics - not a full-length report, but more narrative than the slides from my webinar. If this hasn't crossed your radar yet, the guide has been published, and can be downloaded from the Resource Center of ShoreTel's website. Here's the link, and if you have any problems getting it, please let me know. Otherwise, I would love to hear your thoughts, and so too, would ShoreTel.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Three VoIP Use Cases - My TechTarget Series Continues

Last week, I posted about the start of a three-part series on VoIP for TechTarget's SearchUnifiedCommunications portal.

That post has picked up a lot of traction, and the second post is running now. It's titled "Three Use Cases That Highlight the Benefits of VoIP". I hope you enjoy it, and any comments or sharing will be greatly appreciated.

A third post is coming soon, and together, these posts will be added to some other posts for a buyer's guide, so stay tuned for the finished product. As soon as that's all done, we're moving on to do the same for UC, so watch for updates on that shortly.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

July Writing Roundup

Whew, July was a busy month, and a number of things I'd been working on for a while all came together around the same time for being published or posted. More of the same coming for August - custom projects can take a long time, especially with Tier 1 clients, but I'll share things as they become public.

Here's what I'd like to share from last month that you might still want to read or share with others. My profile has been growing a lot lately, so a lot of people aren't familiar yet with what I do or the various places my writing is published.

Key Benefits of Hosted VoIP for SMBs -, July 1

The State of UC - Experts Weigh In -, via my blog, July 7

Hosted VoIP Landscape - CLECs - Pros and Cons -, July 7

Is UCaaS a Blip or a Trend? - UCStrategies podcast - very popular - check it out if you missed it, July 10

Cisco Canada - Pan Am Games Update - my blog, July 10

Key Buying Considerations for Hosted VoIP - IP Phones -, July 17

Hosted VoIP - Are You Buying Telephony or a Communications Solution? -, July 20

Should SMBs Buy From Incumbents? - Internet Telephony magazine, July 23

New Research - What SMBs Think About UC - UCStrategies, July 24

New Accolade for my Blog - 2015 Top Tech Blog Awards - my blog, July 29

Analyzing VoIP basics reveals telephony's evolution - TechTarget SearchUnifiedCommunications, July 29