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Enterprise Connect 15: Mobility Madness

The Apple Watch announcement may have been the biggest mobile story this week, but it will be just one of whole range of topics we'll be tackling next week during mobility track sessions at Enterprise Connect 2015 in Orlando.

For this year's go-around, we've increased the number of mobility sessions and put together a terrific set of speakers who will be sharing their insights and analysis. As the track chair I'll be on stage a lot, but my role is mostly to ensure that we have the right topics on the agenda and that our speakers have the opportunity to give us their thoughts.

Monday Must-Attends: From BYOD to Mobile UC
Monday, March 16, starts off with my deep dive session, "Getting BYOD Right -- Lessons Learned," at 9:00 a.m. This one I do by myself, introducing all of the mobility topics we'll be covering at the show and explaining why they're important for enterprise buyers and what you need to know about them. The central theme is lessons learned from the BYOD revolution, with lots of discussion about how enterprises should be addressing these lessons while avoiding key pitfalls. In addition, I'll talk about many of the macro issues in the mobility market, from carrier network developments to Wi-Fi, mobile security, management, applications, and devices.


At 1:00 p.m. on Monday I'll be co-moderating "Mobility Summit: Mobile First - A Slogan or a Strategy?" Joining me for the summit will be my co-moderator, No Jitter editor Eric Krapf, and executives from AT&T, Microsoft, Samsung, Sprint, and Verizon. Certainly the mobile-first theme has caught on in the business-to-consumer sector, but we will be pressing our panelists to share their thoughts on how well we are doing at generating that same level of activity in the enterprise segment and give us some tips on how user organizations should be putting that idea into action. We are particularly happy to have Mike Fitz, vice president, Business Solutions at Sprint, joining us for the first time at Enterprise Connect.

At 3:15 p.m., Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, and I will be challenging the UC vendors with the question, "What Do Enterprises Want in Mobile UC?" Robin will be sharing the results of some research Nemertes has done in this area, and panelists from Avaya, Cisco, Microsoft, and Unify will give us their assessments of how (or if) mobile UC is catching on and which mobile UC apps are selling, plus identify any particular verticals that are leading the way and explain how this picture might be changing with the introduction of social collaboration platforms like Cisco's Project Squared, Unify's Circuit, or even Facebook at Work. Having tracked the mobile UC market for more than eight years, I'm especially excited about that conversation.

On Tap for Tuesday: From Enterprise Devices to WebRTC Development
Tuesday, March 17, starts early -- 8:00 a.m. -- with one of our more popular repeat sessions, "What's Up With Enterprise Mobile Devices?" I'll be sharing the results of some of my research on what we're seeing in the worldwide, the U.S., and the enterprise markets for smartphones and tablets. Then I'll query our panelists, who are representatives from enterprise mobility management company AirWatch, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon, about what they're seeing and on developments like near field communication, iBeacons, emerging authentication technologies, new purchase options. We'll also explore topics like the impact of wearables in the enterprise.

Security is another hot issue we'll hit on during the track, particularly during the 2:45 p.m. session, "Mobile Security: Can the Threats Be Contained?" I'll be sitting down with Kevin Keith, director of business development at AirWatch, and Mark Collier, CTO for VoIP security firm SecureLogix, to talk about the overall state of mobile security; identify the threats, along with their severity; and, most importantly, assess the options enterprises have for protecting against mobile exposure.

We'll wrap up Tuesday's sessions with the only mobility discussion I won't be leading: "The Allure of WebRTC to Mobile Developers." For this one, we've tapped my fellow No Jitter blogger and founder of BlogGeek.Me, Tsahi Levent-Levi, one of the leading minds in WebRTC. During his session, Tshai will explain the mechanics behind a mobile developer's choice of real-time technology, how WebRTC fits into the mobile story, and what strategies vendors are taking when adopting WebRTC for their mobile applications. I'm looking forward to hearing what Tsahi has to say on this hot topic.

Wednesday Wrap-Up: From Lync on Wi-Fi to the 802.11ac Wave
Wednesday, March 18, kicks off at 8:00 a.m. as well, and despite the early hour we're expecting a big turnout for our session, "Meeting the Challenges of Lync on Wi-Fi" -- one of the most daunting areas in UC. The attractiveness of using Wi-Fi as a cost-effective way to mobilize UC users has long been recognized, but the job of delivering a stellar user experience for real-time traffic over a Wi-Fi network is fraught with difficulty. Everything from capacity and coverage issues, to quality of service, problematic handoffs, and the need for effective call admission control mechanisms can all conspire to trip us up. Fortunately, we will have three of the leading minds joining us to show how far we've come: Pascal Menezes, principal program manager with Microsoft; Manfred Arndt, a distinguished technologist at HP; and Christian Gilby, director of product marketing at Aruba Networks (soon to be acquired by HP). I'll lead off with the litany of challenges, and our panelists will describe the options to address them and discuss which they feel are most effective. If you're looking at Lync Voice, this is a must-attend session for you.

The other big topic on the Wi-Fi front is the migration to the new radio link standard, 802.11ac, which we'll address during the Wednesday 1:30 p.m. session, "802.11ac - Which Wave Will You Ride?" While 802.11ac can potentially push Wi-Fi raw transmission rates close to 7 Gbps, it introduces any number of questions like optimal channel size (20 MHz, 40 MHz, 80 MHz, or 160 MHz) and what size backhaul links are needed from these new higher-speed access points. Also, customers will have to decide if they should deploy the current Wave 1 ac-products or wait for the more enhanced Wave 2 versions, which should be coming out later this year. While I lay out the basic capabilities of 802.11ac and the choices you'll need to make, experts from Aruba Networks, Cisco, and HP will discuss the pros and cons of each course of action. If you're in the throws of a Wi-Fi upgrade assessment, this is a session you won't want to miss.

While that does it for the Mobility Track, I'd like to point out a mobility session that's in the contact center track on Wednesday at 2:45 p.m. No Jitter blogger Sheila McGee-Smith, principal of McGee-Smith Analytics, is once again moderating her session: "Delivering an Improved Mobile Customer Experience." This year, the session lineup includes experts from [24]7, Aspect Software, CafeX, Humanify, and Oracle RightNow. The drive to better integrate mobility into customer care solutions has been growing over the past few years, and Sheila will be pressing her panelists to identify the factors that are preventing broader integration of mobile applications and the contact center and the role of social media in a company's mobile customer care strategy. I'll be there for sure.

Mobility Matters
Mobility is going to be a big part of UC, and so it's going to be a big part of Enterprise Connect 2015. We've tried to target the most important developing areas for enterprise customers, and I think we've got them. More than that, we've been lucky enough to have snagged some of the sharpest minds in the industry to share their insights and analyses.

I think we've put together one of the best and most comprehensive mobility track we've ever had, and we're covering the right topics with the best people. I hope to see you there, because information of this depth and quality in real-world enterprise mobility is hard to come by.

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