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Best of Enterprise Connect Finalists Announced

The judging committee for this year's Best in Enterprise Connect has announced the six finalists for the award. They are:

* 8x8 Virtual Office Analytics--A big data suite of analytics and reporting tools designed to deliver customizable insights into an organization’s historical and real-time communications environment to improve enterprise decision-making.
* Acano Open--Bringing Lync and virtually all non-Lync users together
* IBM Verse--A cloud-delivered, mobile-optimized personal assistant that helps users prioritize and personalize.
* Sprint Business--A new integrated and fully managed IT and communication solution that allows businesses to stop over-provisioning and over-spending. To be announced at Enterprise Connect on March 17.
* Unify Circuit--Brings together voice, video, messaging, screen share, and file sharing in a single pane of glass, with one unified view across virtually all devices.
* Vidyo VidyoMobile for Smart Glasses—Delivers hands-free video communication for integrated augmented reality and see-what-I-see workflow applications.

What strikes me about this year's crop of Best in EC Finalists is that it really reinforces a lot of the trends and the cutting-edge technologies that we've chosen to emphasize at Enterprise Connect Orlando 2015. That's not necessarily always going to be a given: Our four judges are industry analysts and consultants who are fiercely independent. They evaluate the entries with no input from me or anyone else, and they cast their votes independently of one another. We never know what's going to come out of the voting.

What we've ended up with here is two entries from what's become a particularly hot product category: Call it collaboration applications or, if you like, email killers. By pure coincidence, the two such products in this category that made the Best in EC finals come from the two companies (IBM and Unify) that will be represented in our Tuesday General Session, Is There Really a Next-Gen Email?.

Another one of our important themes is interoperability and integration, and we've got a couple examples of that: Acano's Lync-oriented middleware, and Sprint's yet-to-be announced business-focused service, which the carrier entered under NDA. The latter will be unveiled at EC, but the general idea of carriers taking on a new role for their enterprise customers is one we're tackling in our new Software Architectures track.

Similarly, we have another sophisticated carrier service, 8x8's, which promises Big Data-style analytics to users. And we've got another still-to-be-publicly-announced product, from Vidyo, which points toward a future of wearables and augmented-reality visual communications. These cutting-edge types of products/services should be fascinating to see up close.

And you can see them up close if you're coming to Orlando next month for Enterprise Connect. We'll be announcing the Best in Enterprise Connect winner on the main stage Wednesday, March 18, 9 AM. Hope to see you there.

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