SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Marty Parker
Marty Parker brings over three decades of experience in both computing solutions and communications technology. Marty has been a...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Marty Parker | March 25, 2012 |

 
   

Enterprise (check!) Connect (check!) Orlando 2012 (check, check!)

Enterprise (check!) Connect (check!) Orlando 2012 (check, check!) The game has changed in enterprise communications, as is evident at the industry's leading event.

The game has changed in enterprise communications, as is evident at the industry's leading event.

The annual pinnacle event of the enterprise communication industry is here again this week!

The new Enterprise Connect name (announced in 2010) is right on target. Thousands of enterprise representatives have signed up for a four-day update on how their users can best Connect--with each other and with their customers and supply chain partners. So, two checks on the new name!

So, what's new and different? Well, the game has changed, for sure. Let's take a quick look.

* Connect, not just call. That’s the "connect" part of Enterprise Connect. The number of ways to connect is just exploding. Presence is everywhere, to guide the who and how of connecting. More and more connections are with IM or texting or collaborative workspace posting or social networking, jumping to real-time voice or video only when needed. Federated presence, IM and even voice or video are emerging in some product lines, so enterprises can connect to their partners and customers in the new media using Ethernet transport, rather than PSTN calls. So the connect in Enterprise Connect really nailed it.

* Mobile and UC clients, eclipsing desk phones. You can't see a demo without seeing the UC clients for iPad, Android tablets, and practically every brand of smartphone. And those mobile clients look more and more like the desktop software clients for PCs, Macs, and some vendor-branded tablets. So the user has essentially every possible "connect" option at their fingertips, literally. Sure, you'll find desk phones on the exhibit floor here, but you'll have to move the 18-inch HD video terminals out of the way to find them.

* Cloud, as well as premises, or hybrid. Wow, the cloud options really blew in quickly! Practically every vendor has some cloud-based spin on their product line. And a number of new names are showing up here with pure cloud plays. Eight service providers responded to the Cloud-based Services version of this year's Enterprise Connect Unified Communications and PBX RFP, with pretty competitive options. About half of them are the traditional premises-based vendors--Avaya, Siemens, Cisco (bid by Verizon), Interactive Intelligence, and Microsoft (bid by BT). But the other three are pure cloud-based offerings--M5 (recently acquired by ShoreTel, but still with separate software), Thinking Phone Networks, and West Corporation. We will write more about the UC and PBX RFP following the show--watch for those updates.

* UC and C, not PBXs. You can call it unified communications, you can call it collaboration, or you can call it whatever, but the prediction from VoiceCon 2007 that UC software would dominate the market has come true! It'll be hard to find the word PBX or even IP PBX on the exhibit floor, let alone in a keynote speech from Avaya, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, Siemens, or Verizon (alphabetical order). It is all about UC & C software that supports all the connect modes from PC/tablet/smartphone UC clients.

Further, Siemens has delivered on their promise at VoiceCon Orlando 2007 to cut the price per user for enterprise communications by 75% (in response to Microsoft's keynote promising a reduction of 50%). In my post "Solving the VoIP and UC Pricing Puzzles-Part 1" in August 2007, following these two challenges, the acquisition price of VoIP systems was logged at $643 per user, excluding maintenance. If annual maintenance of $100 per station per year is added, the total 5-year price in 2007 was $1,143. In our 2012 RFP: UC Without a New PBX, i.e., using UC clients instead of new phones, the Siemens solution is $173 per user--not per year, per user! On this basis, they bested their promise enormously, reducing the cost per user by 85%, not just 75%.

By the way, in the same RFP response, many others are in the ballpark, such as Avaya (80% lower), NEC (67% lower), and Microsoft (consultant analysis--55% lower). These prices are a bit low, since they use the installed PBXs as PSTN gateways, but with native SIP functionality, they are not far off. Pretty thought provoking, seems to me.

* Video, elbowing voice, for a price. Video is everywhere at the show--in the keynotes, in the breakout sessions, and on the exhibit floor. From all the hype, you would think it is rude or obsolete to talk with just voice anymore. But, that's the battle that is raging for the real-time connect minutes that are left after users shift to presence, IM, and social. This move is not cheap in terms of end-point devices, video conferencing and control units, and bandwidth requirements ranging from 2x to 30x that of voice. But perhaps the savings from UC Software (see above) and from lower transmission costs with Ethernet backbone or even SIP trunks will create space in the budgets to fund the video investments.

* Gateways and interoperation, to glue it all together. Like any industry shift, there is a surge in gateways and interoperation protocols, both to connect between all the new vendors and to connect those new solutions to the installed base of PBXs, e-mail, TDM ports, contact centers, and conferencing bridges. We are seeing plenty of economical and effective interoperation tools here in Orlando.

* Lastly, it takes services from Value Added Resellers (VARs) and System Integrators (SIs) to make this all work. This year has more VAR and SI exhibitors than ever before. Some specialize in a few vendors' products, others specialize by vertical industry or by specific technology (e.g. video), but there's no doubt they are ready and willing to deliver competitive statements of work (SOWs) to connect your UC & C & Social & video & mobile solutions.

So, this is going to be a great Enterprise Connect. It's living up to its name and to its promise, thanks to really enthusiastic participation from the vendors, the enterprise attendees, and the Enterprise Connect team and presenters. Check in at No Jitter or www.enterpriseconnect.com/orlando for information, keynote videos, and more.





COMMENTS



August 16, 2017

Contact centers have long been at the leading edge of innovation in communications technology, given their promise of measurable ROI and the continual need to optimize customer interactions and sta

July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.