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Catalyst Conference Summary

The hot topics at the Burton Group Catalyst conference in San Diego last week included; security (as always), wireless, virtualization, cloud computing, and storage. How will these technologies impact UC?Solid State Drives promise to replace hard drives and offer laptops that will:

* Boot in a few seconds * Battery life of 8+ hours along with less heat * Faster desktop application performance * Full disk encryption w/o the performance hit * Longer PC life--fewer hard drive failures

This will further reduce the need for a hard phone.

Virtual desktops where applications run within the data center promise to:

* Enhance security by keeping all data at rest within the data center * Speed updates and lower support costs * One application image, password, and user experience--important for 3rd parties, user owned desktops, and guest/contract workers * Better performance across poor networks--mobile, work at home, and offshore

In the virtual world, the need for a company to own & support a user's device goes away. The impact on UC applications is TBD. Should UC apps be virtualized also?

Wireless technologies continue to mature quickly including:

* 4G cellular that is 4x the speed at 1/10th the latency with voice as VoIP/SIP * Femtocells--to help guarantee wireless signal and speeds in dead zones. (One of the pleasant surprises from a Femtocell at my house is longer battery life.) * NFC--Near Field Communication - Secure, very short range communication * Bluetooth 3.0 with speeds up to 24Mbps and low power options Multi-modal communication will become the norm. No more holding the phone to your ear, but having an ear piece and sharing information, pictures, and/or video while talking.

Security is always a challenge including:

* Control--Centralized for efficiencies vs. distributed for effectiveness

* Privacy--Using data for marketing purposes vs. guarding individual information

* Scale--Social networks and the number of web users means supporting millions of IDs

* Personal Devices--Requiring the phone and PC to be a corporate asset vs. allowing users to bring their own

Security in unified communications was not discussed. Maybe next year.

One spin on cloud computing was to use it as a platform for new technology investigation by the business wanting to try out click to call/chat, social networks.... Once the business figures out how they would use a new technology, then the due diligence to bring it in-house for integration, security, customization, and cost optimization should begin.

Attendance was close to last year's, which was good to see. There was also optimism that the economy is about to rebound with the number of open IT architect positions rising. Architects are usually the first to be let go and the first to be hired back.