Join UCStrategies at Enterprise Connect 2015

15 Feb 2015

Enterprise Connect 2015 (EC'15), Orlando, Florida, March 16 - 19, 2015 is going to be very interesting this year, and our UC Experts will be involved in almost all of the leading UC and UC-related sessions. This Flyer shows all of the 26 sessions involving a UC Expert, listed by date, time, titles and topic. We think you will want to be there and this flyer will help you plan your agenda for the four days. Note that Early Bird rates are good until February 20.

Here are some highlights:

  • Communications Architecture is Changing: As we talked with Eric Krapf and Fred Knight, the EC'15 Co-Chairs, about the theme of EC'15, we proposed a number of sessions on the topic of the new architectures for communications. They told us they were already planning for that theme and were happy to have our contributions. You will see this theme of new architectures throughout the EC'15 program - in our sessions and in many others. The point is that there are many alternatives to the historical PBX-centered approach. Gateways offer both new configuration options and new methods for interoperability. The data networking power of cellular 4G networks combined with cloud options are making the smartphone, tablet, and laptop into a UC architecture and ecosystem for mobile users that do not depend on a PBX phone number. WebRTC has already enabled literally hundreds of new companies to enter the communications marketplace by solving all sorts of small pieces of the communications puzzle. Communications solutions are increasingly being delivered as part of business software applications and customer-facing web portals. So, there's no doubt that the architecture is changing; if your organization has not already made this shift, now is the time to learn about it.

  • A New Kind of Keynote: The keynotes this year will be more different than ever, featuring Microsoft and Google, Cisco and Avaya. It's a safe bet that Microsoft and Google keynoters won't be bragging about some new feature on a phone or a PBX; rather they will be featuring enterprise communications architectures that are based on productivity applications (Office, Google Apps, etc.). Both firms have leading cloud offers and Microsoft also offers on-premises and hybrid configurations. It's also a pretty safe bet that Rowan Trollope of Cisco will be trying to outdo these two software powerhouses with his geek-star (rock star with geek shoes) demos of Project Squared and video-powered meetings. In that context, Avaya will most likely be touting their new theme of Engagement, probably with a hosting options (which they will call cloud) and Avaya fabric networking twist. Should be some of the best yet, certainly different!

  • Mobility is King - of a New Kingdom: Consumers have adopted mobile devices for almost everything from email to fitness to entertainment to food and more. There is a native feature or an app for almost everything. These expectations are now part of the enterprise environment, both for customers and employees. With 4G and Wi-Fi connectivity (or the expectation of that) almost everywhere, business is shifting communications onto the wireless networks and delivering communications via apps, web apps, and directories/contact lists. Even if they have an enterprise PBX phone number, most mobile users have figured out how to manage all the communications they need on their mobile devices without a thought of a PBX. You will find all three of the leading US Cellular carriers in the exhibits (ATT, Sprint as Diamond Sponsors; Verizon as Gold Sponsor) and will certainly see some compelling choices and offers.

  • WebRTC is Huge - Bigger Than You Think: The Monday WebRTC track will include content from Phil Edholm and Brent Kelly that graphically illustrates the way that literally hundreds of companies are filling up dozens of communications functional areas. It seems you will now be able to buy or license most of the functions of traditional IP-PBXs and other appliances such as conferencing, recording, IVR, and more as WebRTC apps. It's certainly a tectonic shift in enterprise communications architecture, if it's right for your organization.

  • Communications is Being Built Into Apps: This may seem redundant with Mobility and WebRTC, but it is actually a separate category. If you think of enterprise software applications (CRM, ERP, HR, and so many others) as the software representation of the workflow, you will see that the best way to optimize communications is either to build it right into the applications or, at least, to integrate it into the application software user interfaces. This has already happened with the core productivity apps (see Microsoft Office and Google Apps, above), and is increasingly happening with solutions from Salesforce.com, Oracle, SAP, IBM, and many others in various vertical markets such as healthcare. You will see some interesting examples in the Comm-Enabled Apps session on Tuesday, March 17.

  • Cloud is Big (Yet Vaporous): Last, but surely not least, solutions in the cloud will be all the buzz at EC'15. But there will still be a lot of hype in the conversations. Cloud-based communications solutions are "good enough" for most enterprises, but they are not the same as the on-premises solutions. In most cases, cloud options have a higher, or much higher, total cost of ownership (TCO) than on-premises licensing, ownership and operation over three or more years. It may be that cloud solutions are best for some of your employees (i.e. those who are seldom inside the firewall) and on-premises is best for the others. EC'15 is a good place to compare and contrast, and to cut through the marketing hype.

So, we're excited about EC'15! Things are changing in enterprise communications! Each annual Enterprise Connect conference is the best place of all, IMHO, to see the pace and scope of this change and to assess the risks and opportunities that the change presents. Hope to see you there!