Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his...
Read Full Bio >>

Zeus Kerravala | March 26, 2013 |


Key Takeaways from Enterprise Connect 2013

Key Takeaways from Enterprise Connect 2013 Conferencing, Lync, innovation and management were among the themes that loomed largest

Conferencing, Lync, innovation and management were among the themes that loomed largest

Well, the 2013 version of Enterprise Connect is behind us now, and the show seemed to have more energy and activity than other shows in years past. This wasn't your typical Enterprise Connect, as topics such as interoperability or the cost of VoIP weren't dominating the conference. Instead we saw a number of new topics take center stage in a big way, particularly true mobility (see this post and visual conversations (I'll get to this later). Overall, a great conference, well worth the four-day investment. Here are my key takeaways from Enterprise Connect 2013:

* Conferencing is dead. Well, not really dead but certainly heading that way. Now, that doesn't mean tools like web, audio and video conferencing are going away. Rather they are becoming integrated components of a larger collaboration platform that includes conferencing tools as well as chat, shared white board, etc. Conferencing indicates single-purpose tools that are used independently. At this show there were many demos that showed the "unification" of these to deliver more efficiently. I've been using the term "visual conversations" to describe this type of environment. It's actually the lead report currently on if you want to check out in more detail what I mean by visual conversations.

* Lync has arrived. Although I thought the Derek Burney keynote wasn't exactly earth shattering (I really didn't need to see Microsoft prove they can set up users and make calls), I do think the Lync era is upon us. Many of the customers I ran into there were looking at Lync now. Also, most of the larger system integrators and telcos are building Lync practices to complement their Cisco ones. Whether you believe Microsoft can do real time or not, Lync is going to get many, many looks from customers, and it appears to be here to stay.

It's WebRTC time. There may have been no hotter topic at Enterprise Connect than WebRTC. The WebRTC sessions were packed and a number of the video vendors I talked to had either adopted or were in the process of implementing it. Now, we've had other Web enabled video technologies before, such as HTML5, but WebRTC seems to be much simpler for developers to use than other technologies. However, the industry does seem to be building yet another video island, which could slow down video ubiquity, as interoperability between these islands remains the video industry's single biggest challenge.

* Software Defined Networking will impact communications. One of my Thursday morning sessions was on the impact that SDNs can have on the software industry. I did this session with the esteemed Terry Slattery and while we weren't exactly in agreement on how to define SDNs, we did agree that SDNs could be used to improve real time communications. In theory, network virtualization could be used to isolate traffic such as video and VoIP, similar to MPLS. However, MPLS does not create total isolation of network traffic, meaning SDNs could allow for more granular traffic engineering.

* Innovation is back in UC. I must admit that a few years ago I was concerned that the UC industry was starting to look a little old and tired. The same vendors and the same themes were coming up over and over again. At this year's show there were a number of innovative, smaller companies such as Plivo, Twilio, Magor and best of Enterprise Connect winner Voxeo. During the Locknote, I asked co-chair Fred Knight how many vendors were exhibiting here for the first time. While he didn't know the exact number he did say it was well above the 10-15% number that has been a historical benchmark. I think this is great for this industry and should keep the innovation engine going for the foreseeable future.

* Managing UC remains a headache. I co-moderated the UC management panel with Eric Krapf on Thursday morning. While everyone was of the opinion that UC management was needed, it was hard to understand where organizations should start. One of the problems is that there's not a really good understanding of what UC management is. The network industry used a model called FCAPS (Fault, Configuration, Accounting, Performance and Security) but there's no "FCAPS" equivalent for UC. There are very good monitoring companies such as panelist NetScout and great provisioning vendors such as VOSS. UC security seems to be its own specialty, and there's no real sense of accounting in UC. Unfortunately, in today's market, any company wanting a robust UC solution would need to cobble together their own solution through the use of at least 3-4 different tools to effectively manage, monitor and secure UC.

Overall I was excited about what I saw at this year's show, as we're talking more about things that can drive UC into a new wave of growth. Looking forward to Enterprise Connect 2014!

Follow Zeus Kerravala on Twitter and Google+!
Zeus Kerravala on Google+


April 19, 2017

Now more than ever, enterprise contact centers have a unique opportunity to lead the way towards complete, digital transformation. Moving your contact center to the cloud is a starting point, quick

April 5, 2017

Its no secret that the cloud offers significant benefits to enterprises - including cost reduction, scalability, higher efficiency, and more flexibility. If your phone system and contact center are

March 22, 2017

As today's competitive business environments push workforces into overdrive, many enterprises are seeking ways of streamlining workflows while optimizing productivity, business agility, and speed.

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.