Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Is UC the Best Solution for Collaboration?

This is a valid question.

Lately, I've been looking deeper into the relationship between UC and collaboration, and it's getting rather convoluted. IT decision-makers don't have it easy these days, and collaboration is right up there on the must-have list, with seemingly 10 directions you could be going in.

UC vendors have to adapt, and this presents some interesting challenges, especially for identifying the problem set your collaboration solution is supposed to address. I don't have all the answers, and if anything I hope to raise new questions about what collaboration is supposed to look like today.

That's where I'm going with my current post for UCStrategies. As a UC Expert, I contribute a monthly post to the portal, and I hope you stay for a while to explore our podcasts and other posts from fellow UC Experts.

Before doing that, I hope you read my post first, and would love to hear your thoughts. Sharing is greatly appreciated, and if the UCSummit is on your calendar, I'll be speaking there as well.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Predictions we got Wrong - Latest UCS Podcast

If you think analysts are always right, I'll happily keep that myth going by agreeing with you. Of course, nobody likes admitting being wrong, especially when your reputation is on the line. However, technology is a moving target by nature, and it's always fun to cite famous misses by the likes of Bill Gates.

Our latest UCStrategies podcast was along those lines, and rather than dwell on missed predictions, we talked more about trends we thought would have come to fruition by now. This takes us to topics like social media/business, WebRTC, mobile UC, UCaaS, and the basic concept of UC itself.

Lots of ground to cover, and I hope you give our podcast a listen. My comments come at the 11:18 mark, and the podcast is posted now on the UCS portal. Please share if you like it, and before you know it, we'll have a new podcast for you to hear.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Rethinking Collaboration - My Latest Column

There's a lot to think about with collaboration - as with UC, it can be an overused and amorphous term, so I'm giving it a closer look. My current Rethinking Communications column for Internet Telephony Magazine explores that, and will continue with Part 2 in next month's edition.

Part 1 is running now online, and I hope it gets you thinking more critically about what to expect with collaboration, as well from the vendors selling it.

Friday, September 11, 2015

CTCA Golf Tourney - Last Hurrah

On Wednesday, I came to the dinner following a full day of golf with the CTCA. They do this annually, and while this marks their 30th anniversary, it will be their last. Back in June, I attended their annual conference, at which time a vote was taken - and passed - to fold CTCA into the SCTC.

I'm an outlier in this world of communications consultants, and am the only analyst among the CTCA ranks, but I get a lot out of it, and I know they want to see more of my kind in their ranks. As the transition to SCTC unfolds, I think more of this will happen, as I know SCTC wants to broaden its reach.

J.R. Simmons is the common thread for me in all this, as he's an SCTC Executive, a fellow UCStrategies Expert, and he came up here to speak at the dinner about why the SCTC will be good for CTCA members.

For independents like me with U.S.-based clientele, I'm looking forward to the change, and you can expect to see/hear/read things from my end under the SCTC banner in due time. I just booked my travel for their conference next month in Atlanta, and that will be a first for me. If you're attending, I hope to see you there, and if you're free on the last night of the conference - October 8 - I'll be playing again with the SIPtones. What could be better?

J.R. Simmons during dinner

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Why Audio Quality Matters for Conferencing

That's the title of my latest post for UCStrategies, and is one of those topics we don't think enough about.We tend to take voice quality for granted, and I mean that going both ways. Audio quality for legacy telephony has been the standard for so long, it's hard to believe that something can actually be better. It's very good, but what people tend to really value is the consistent experience. When it works well all the time, you get used to the audio, and only notice the shortcomings when something better comes along.

Think about the first time you saw HD TV. Nobody was complaining before that about their viewing experience, but once you experience HD, there's really no going back.

Conversely, by the way, we've become so accustomed to crappy voice quality on mobile devices, legacy audio quality stacks up very nicely, so there's no reason to think there's something better. Of course, there is something better, and HD is a big part of that story. When it comes to conferencing, many other factors impact the experience, and it really takes a holistic approach that goes beyond just having HD audio.

That's what my writeup covers, and if you've had your share of poor conferencing experiences, you'll find this a good read. For transparency, the post is sponsored by Revolabs - they're a really interesting company actually - but the content is mine. As always, comments and sharing are most welcome!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Making Music - Again - with the SIPtones in Indy - Video Highlights

Another hat I wear is music-making, which I would do all day long if I could spare the time, but that's a longer conversation. I got to play again with the SIPtones - again, at the 2015 Interactions conference put on by Interactive Intelligence back in June.

This time around, we got to play two full sets, and I played keyboards on about half the songs. As always, it was great fun, and band leader Rick Hathaway did his usual video compilation, and he's just posted that to YouTube.

Lots of music that night, so it's a 16 minute clip, and I'm sure you'll recognize most of the songs. The audio isn't great, but maybe next year we'll get a video sponsor and a get a full camera crew - any takers?

If you like the music, we also played at last year's ININ conference, and here's the link that includes the video highlights from that set.

Next Smart Grid Webinar - Predictive Analytics

If you don't know, I wear two analyst hats. My main hat is in the collaboration space - VoIP, UC, cloud communications, IoT, contact center, etc. For several years, however, I've also been active in the Smart Grid space, which now encompasses Smart Homes, Smart Cities, etc. Lots of great tie-ins between these worlds, and I see a lot of opportunity, as do many of the vendors I closely follow.

Along the way, I've been working with Austin-based Zpryme Research, and I'm an Advisor to their booming Smart Grid/Clean Energy market research practice. If this is new to you, here are two posts of mine from our latest conference, ETS 15.

I regularly moderate their webinars, and the next one is coming up a week from now - September 10.

The topic is predictive analytics and how this is shaping the direction of Smart Grid evolution. Our featured speakers are Dr. Noa Ruschin-Rimini of GRID4C, and Robbie Wright of Direct Energy. The registration page just went live, and it should be an informative session - hope you can join us!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Back to Work - Gartner UC Magic Quadrant Podcast

No complaints about being away the past few days, and the world is still intact, so it's ok to shut down and recharge every so often.

Since being away, I wanted to share this post from last week's UCStrategies podcast about the current Gartner Magic Quadrant report on the UC market. Many nuances to discuss, so it was a lively session. It's worth noting that the vendors in the UC MQ are unchanged from last year, and that's a sign that the space is maturing somewhat.

Maybe so, but the waters are far from still and we all had something to say about that. If you haven't caught it yet, here's where you can access the podcast, and you can pick up my comments at the 20:42 mark. Don't stop there, though - lots of interesting perspectives from the group from start to finish.