Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Backbone Magazine - 2015 Technology Resource Guide

Backbone is one of Canada's better known technology magazines, and they just published their annual Technology Resource Guide. It's a pretty handy reference source for the latest trends across tech, including UC, digital media, mobility, wearable tech, security, etc.

They reach out to me as a source from time to time, and for this issue, I was asked to comment on trends in the UC space.

Both the print and digital editions are out now, so if you don't see it at the newsstand, you can review the complete issue here. My comments about UC are in the Digital Media section of the guide, and you can read them here, on pp. 16-17.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Can Cisco and Project Squared Drive Innovation?

Following last week's Cisco Collaboration Summit, I've had a chance to reflect and pull my thoughts together. Most of what we heard and saw is under NDA, so I can't say all that much. I touched on a few things in my last blog post - especially telepresence - but wanted to share something more representative of what they're doing overall in the UC&C space.

Instead of finding clever ways to work around the NDA, I decided instead to comment on how well I think Cisco personifies what lock note speaker Steven Johnson talked about when characterizing the process of innovation. I tried to do that in the context of using innovation to make Cisco's collaboration business more successful, and that's really the end game analysts and consultants were there to hear about.

The logical home for my analysis is UCStrategies, where I'm a UC Expert, and contribute a monthly writeup to help keep their content fresh. My thoughts are now posted on the portal, and after you read it, I hope you stick around as see what my colleagues there have to say about all things related to UC&C.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cisco Collaboration Summit - Quick Thoughts, Pix and a Wayback Video clip

Just have a window here with some quick thoughts, photos and a short clip I think you'll enjoy. As all of us who were there knows, most of the content is under NDA, so I can't say much anyhow. I do plan to share some high level analysis of my takeaways, and need to get some clearance first, so stay tuned.

The 2014 edition of Cisco's Collaboration Summit was very good as always, and worth the trip to LA. Actually, I missed some of the best parts as a variety of delays caused my flight to be 4.5 hours late. This means I didn't get to see the opening talks from John Chambers and Rowan Trollope. At least I can get a replay of Rowan's session, and will watch that once I'm back.

In short, the big news was Project Squared, a mobile collaboration platform. If this sounds like Circuit, you'd be right, but that's all I can say for now. Overall, Cisco has a lot happening in their collaboration business, and don't let the recent dip in sales numbers fool you. They have a laser focus on this space, and are all about innovation, the cloud, mobility, video and being user-centric. There are a lot of moving parts here, and the time was well spent getting updated on where all this is going. Sorry to sound so careful, but... I have to be careful. Hang on, and next week I'll have something more interesting to say. Until then...

Rowan Trollope during the locknote
Author Steven Johnson with some great insights about the real nature of innovation
One example - "the slow hunch" - talking about how great ideas often take a long time to properly germinate. This is a cool photo of a slide he put up from the earliest days of the Internet. It's the sticker hand-written by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN exclaiming that this server should not be powered down. Why? Back then, this was where the entire Internet resided and the whole thing would grind to a halt if some nitwit did that. I think you'd need to do a bit more now to get that result, huh?
Demo of the new and improved IX5000 telepresence. Very nice and still an impressive experience. Still very costly, but much less maintenance cost, power consumption and more manageable to install. What you can't see here is the open space around us, with a lot of natural light and ambient sound. You'd never know from the quality we experienced, so kudos are due for how well engineered this system is.

With that taste of today's telepresence, how about TP circa 2006? Here's a 2 minute video clip I made of the demo I got at Cisco Canada's HO when it first came out. Back then, this was a very cool experience, and I thought you'd enjoy comparing how it looks to the above picture. Notice how much bigger the camera was back then, and how you launched a call via an IP phone. I don't make video clips much any more, but this is by far the most widely-watched clip of mine. If you like like music, you might want to spend some time on my YouTube site, and we can talk more about that later.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Next Stop - LA and Cisco Collaboration Summit

Not travelling as much lately, and that's ok as I'm plenty busy with new projects and new clients.

That said, Cisco's annual Collaboration Summit is a fave event for me, and no complaints heading to LA this time of the year. All of a sudden, it's gotten pretty chilly here in Toronto, with a dusting of snow on the ground now.

I'll be flying down early Monday morning and will be there for the full time. Got some promising meetings lined up and am looking forward to the 2015 roadmap. If you follow Cisco, you'll know collaboration revenues are down, but that doesn't mean business is soft. All the players in this space are adapting to the cloud where the revenue streams and business models are new, and they're not alone in seeing this result.

Well, that's my theory, anyway. I'll let you know next week if it's reality or there's something else in play. As usual, I'll blog and tweet as time allows, and will pass on the collab summit hashtag once things get going on Monday.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Next Webinar - VoIP and Remote Working

My next Ziff Davis B2B webinar is coming up a few weeks from now, so it's time to tell you about it.

During this webinar, I'll be looking at how VoIP can support the business case for remote workers, and if you're still using legacy telephony, there will be a lot of good news here. Whether you're trying to reduce the need for office space, add some flexibility to your contact center, or better meet the needs of the always-on generation, VoIP brings a lot of value.

The webinar is on Friday, December 12 at 1pm ET, and here's the registration form, along with the full topic abstract. My ZD webinars are always well attended, and I hope you can join us.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Your Boss Just Heard from your Tablet - You're Fired

If you believe this scenario is closer to being fact than science fiction, then you'll probably agree with me that the world is becoming a less friendly place. Thanks to technology, things will work more efficiently, and ideally, people will too.

Well, to some extent this is true, but the always-on lifestyle, coupled with the all-encompassing Internet of Things (and its cousin IoE) means there will be strings attached. You already know what some of those look like, and these are the trade-offs we make to manage the many moving parts that define our modern lives.

Without being too philosophical, that's the gist of my current Rethinking Communications column now running in TMC's Internet Telephony Magazine. The Internet of Things is going to take us in many new directions, and before going too far along that path, I hope you're giving this careful thought. If handled right, all this new connectivity can truly help us work smarter, but things can also run amok in the wrong hands.

If you want to think about this with a smile, my article contains some pre-Internet references to classic Woody Allen and Stanley Kubrick, and after reading it, you just might have a different take on IoE - hurry, before it's too late!

Monday, November 3, 2014

October Writing Roundup

October turned out to be a good month for writing activity as well as new projects, so no complaints here. I still don't know if there's a causal link, but something tells me if I keep writing, business will keep coming. I'm good with that, and I hope you are too, as this virtuous circle keeps me close to the trends driving the comms space, which is central to what I need to do as an analyst. On that note, here the highlights from October that I think you'll still enjoy reading if you didn't catch them first time around.

Hits and Misses - 6 Takeaways from Unify's Circuit Launch, UCStrategies, Oct. 30

More Ado About doing nothing with UC, part 2, Adtran UC blog, October 30

Is VoIP Cool Enough for you Yet?,, October 30

Is the Internet of Things Good for your Business?, Internet Telephony Magazine, October issue

Bring your own 'danger', am cited in this feature about BYOD security risks - Toronto Star, October 20

Who are you really selling to with UC?, Adtran UC blog, October 16

Three Things you Lose with VoIP,, October 15

What to look for in a Contact Center Solution when Deploying Lync with UC, UCStrategies, October 7

UCStrategies Interview with Jon Arnold About the State of UC, UCStrategies, October 3