Thursday, October 29, 2015

Telecom 2015 Conference - Quick Take

During the last two days, the Telecom 2015 conference ran here in Toronto, and I spoke yesterday about UC trends to watch for in 2016. The event is in its third year, and while small, we had a pretty engaged group with a good mix of vendors, consultants and end users.

I summarized my takeaways in a post that is running now on the UCStrategies portal. Since my focus for the event was on UC, I figured this was the best place to run it, and I hope you give it a read. Otherwise, here are a few photos from the event.

Future of Work panel discussion, moderated by the FOX Group's Susan Dineen
Demo at the Panasonic booth, done for me and my running mate, Ronald Gruia. Pretty nice touch screen IP PBX handset here. They also had a nice demo of their cordless phone systems, so innovation isn't totally dead in the desk phone space, folks.
Event organizer, Michel Bruyere doing the prize drawings at the end of Day 1. Small world - the winner here was John Sneyd from Panasonic - he gave us the demo just cited above. Maybe we brought him good luck!

Monday, October 26, 2015

BroadSoft Announces Tempo - UCStrategies Podcast

Today marks the start of BroadSoft's Connections event, and with that comes lots of news. One item was the launch of Project Tempo, their new cloud-based UC "hub". Anyone following the event will have the news by now, but for another take, that's what our latest UCStrategies podcast covered.

We were briefed on Tempo last week, and during this podcast, we were joined by key BroadSoft marketing execs, so it was a pretty interactive session. To align with Connections, the podcast was posted earlier today to our portal, and I just want to be sure you know about it.

So, You Think You Can Collaborate? My Next Webinar

Got another Ziff Davis webinar coming up, and it's on a topic I've been writing about a fair bit lately. Collaboration these days is easier said than done, and it's just as much of a moving target as Unified Communications. Lots of great promise from the underlying technology, but many types of obstacles as well.

That's the gist of what I'll be covering, and the registration page was recently posted on their IT Management portal. The webinar will be on Wednesday, November 11 at 2 ET, and I hope you can join us.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Next Event - Speaking at Telecom 2015 Next Week

There aren't many conferences in my space right here in Toronto, let alone Canada. Of course, technology keeps changing, and at some point we need stop calling these things telecom conferences, but for now that label is still sticking.

On that note, I've been asked to speak at Telecom 2015 next week, and it's always great to do this in town. It's a fairly new event, and having attended last year, I'm happy to be back, especially as a speaker.

The conference runs next Tuesday-Wednesday, and the website provides all the detail for the agenda and registration. I just put my presentation together, and will be speaking on Day 2 at 2:20 pm. My topic is 5 Trends Shaping UC for 2016, and if you're attending, I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Slack May be the Uber of the UC Space

I sure think so, and that's the focus of my current Rethinking Communications column with TMCnet. These columns usually run in their long-running flagship publication, Internet Telephony. These days, a magzine title like that seems dated, but that's another conversation. The pub continues to pull strong readership, both in print and online. The digital edition is posted now, and you can read my latest column here.

Speaking of TMCnet, their next ITExpo is in late January - perfect time of year for Fort Lauderdale. I'll be there, moderating some sessions as usual. Planning will be underway soon, and I'll provide updates here.

Monday, October 19, 2015

SCTC Conference Coda - Our SIPTones Gig

I'm keeping my day job as an analyst, but the more I get to play with the SIPTones, the better we sound. Music is hard work, but great fun, and whether playing piano or guitar, it's always enjoyable.

Am finally catching up from back-to-back road trips, and two weeks ago, I attended my first SCTC conference in Atlanta. On the last night, the SIPTones played a set, and our devoted bandleader, Rick Hatahway always tapes the performances. He puts together a highlight reel, and this time around, he got it done quickly, and it's posted now on YouTube.

If you're not inner circle with the band - don't worry, I don't think that's a thing just yet - you may never find it, so I'm doing the hard work for you. Without further ado, here's 14 minutes of what do when we're not talking about UC, collaboration, SIP trunking, cloud, etc.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Three Buying Principles for UC - New Feature

This is the third installment in my UC feature series with TechTarget, and it was just published the other day. Am catching up from being away, and if you didn't see it yet on their site, I'm sharing it here. The series is getting strong readership, and the post includes links to the first two features in case you missed those as well.

SCTC Conference Recap

Been on the road the past two weeks, so blogging has gone quiet, but now there's lots to catch up on. For now, I'll just quickly comment on the SCTC 2015 Conference, which I attended the week before in Atlanta.

This was my first SCTC event, and having just been folded in via the CTCA amalgamation, many in this crowd were new to me. Most of my time during the sessions was during vendor day where we heard their perspectives on what's happening in the marketplace and how they address today's IT challenges. There was a good mix of UC&C and contact center applications, so most of the messaging was pretty familiar. Didn't hear all that much about evolving business models, but maybe that came out during other sessions.

It's a pretty small group - maybe about 60 attending, and it really should have been more. Nothing new here - specialized industry groups like this are widely dispersed and it's hard to get everyone out to conferences. Regardless, lots of great expertise on hand, and it was a great way to network and learn about how consultants are going to market.

Not much else to say, I'm afraid, as I wasn't there for the whole conference, especially since I was part of the SIPTones, and we needed a full day to rehearse for the closing dinner event on Thursday night. Definitely hard work, but always worth it, and when people are dancing, you know it's going right. In time, the video highlights will get posted, and I'll share that with you here.

Group photo session - they sure picked a challenging space to squeeze everyone in, but the photographer managed to make it work!
 Sound check before the music - the Excellerators first, then us, and one more set from them
 Three of us in Johnny Cash black - myself, Steve Leaden and Rick Hathaway

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Four Ways UC Benefits Productivity - New Feature

I don't normally blog about an ongoing series of posts, but this one is getting a lot of readership, and wanted to be sure my readers knew about it. My most recent series with TechTarget has been about UC, and Part 2 of 3 ran yesterday. Part 1 continues to get strong readership, and Part 2 is off to a good start as well.

Here's the link for the second post in this series, and following my three posts, TechTarget will conclude with a fourth post focused on vendors. If you like this post, then you'll probably like the first one, and there's a link for that in the writeup. Stay tuned, and the third post will be out soon.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How SMBs Really Feel About UC - My New Paper

I've done work off and on for Metaswitch Networks for many years, and most recently, they engaged me to prepare a writeup to summarize findings from extensive market research recently done with SMBs about VoIP and UC. Having been a market research practitioner over 30 years, I have a good sense of how to interpret tons of data and distill it down to an essence that decision-makers can follow.

This writeup is quite short by design, but provides a good sense of the opportunity, especially for service providers looking to offer VoIP and/or UC to their SMB customers. Lots to consider, and if this speaks to your current situation, I encourage you to give it a read.

Today, Metaswitch formally announced the paper on their blog page, and you can also access a download link from their Resources page, which also provides other reports, papers, etc. worth checking out. Would love to hear your thoughts, and by all means, please share as you see fit.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Next Stop - SCTC Conference, Atlanta

Got some business travel coming up, starting with this week's SCTC conference in Atlanta.

This is not the crowd I normally run with, but I come to it via the CTCA. I became a member there last year, and they have recently folded their lot in with the SCTC. I'm the only analyst in this group, and while that makes things a bit lonely, I have regular involvement now with the consultant community. It's a fair trade as they get to hear my industry-based perspectives, and their feet-on-the-ground dealings with customers complements my ongoing research.

I'll be flying to Atlanta tomorrow, and am staying through til end of the conference. For me, the end is actually the best part, as I'll be playing again with the SIPtones at the finale dinner on Thursday night.

If you want to connect in Atlanta, my member profile is on the SCTC site, or you can just ping me directly. I'll be tweeting as time allows, and you're welcome to do the same - #SCTCATL.

Friday, October 2, 2015

September Writing Roundup

Another busy month has passed, and despite just one local industry event, I had plenty keeping me busy through September. Things pick up on the conference front for October - posts coming about that - plus my long-overdue website/blog overhaul just kicked off yesterday - stay tuned there as well. With that said, here's a recap of my posts from September I think you'll enjoy if you missed them first time around.

Tracking the Evolution of UC Technology, Tech Target, Oct. 1 - technically not September, but was written that month, and is fresh now - and popular. The rest of the series runs this month, and I'll include those in my next writing roundup.

Is UC the Best Solution for Collaboration?, UCStrategies, Sept. 30

Defining the Problem Set for Collaboration,, Sept. 29

So, you Think you can Collaborate?,, Sept. 18

IT Considerations for Replacing your Legacy Phone System,, Sept. 17

Rethinking Collaboration, Part 1, Internet Telephony Magazine, Sept. 16

Replacing your Phone System - the Case Against the Third Option,, Sept. 10

Why Audio Quality Really Matters for Conferencing, UCStrategies, Sept. 10

Reviewing the VoIP Phone System Landscape - Tier 2 Vendors,, Sept. 4

Making Music - Again - with the SIPtones in Indy - Video Highlights, my blog, Sept. 3 - hey, gotta have a little fun!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Evolution of UC Technology - My Latest Series

I've started another series with TechTarget on their SearchUnified Communications portal. I also contribute regular short form commentary there, but these longer pieces allow for richer analysis, in this case to help IT decision-makers understand the UC value proposition.

If you missed it earlier, I recently completed a similar series on VoIP for business, and you can get the links here for those posts.

This is the first post in a three part series on UC, starting with how we got here and what problems UC is trying to address. Following this will be an add-on piece from another contributor that helps decision-makers evaluate specific offerings, so watch for that as well. My kickoff piece was just posted yesterday, and I hope you find it helpful. Stay for Parts 2 and 3, and along the way, any sharing would be greatly appreciated.