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Enterprise Connect: Just In Time

Enterprise Connect will be in full swing this week in Orlando. Of course, Enterprise Connect is the new name. Just a year ago, we were in the second decade of VoiceCon, which very effectively provided the venue for enterprise customers and the leading communications vendors to meet, share industry and product updates, and answer important questions.

This year, though, the voice part is gone from the name and plays a reduced part in the program at Enterprise Connect. Less than 25% of the sessions at Enterprise Connect are purely on voice IP Telephony and SIP Trunking. What’s happening? Well, there's a tectonic shift in enterprise communications, both within the enterprise and with suppliers, partners and customers.

A very interesting article describes "The Rise of Generation C", the "connected, communicating, content-centric, computerized, community-oriented, always clicking" generation born after 1990 living their adolescent years after 2000. The article points to the forces behind these changes and forecasts this effect in the year 2020. For one example, more than half of Generation C, who will represent 40% of the population in developed countries by 2020, use instant messaging to communicate, have Facebook pages, and watch videos on YouTube. Right now, in 2011, the place to see these changes is at Enterprise Connect.

What is on the program? Let's take a look:

* Unified Communications and Mobility: 8 sessions emphasizing Unified Communications and 6 sessions on mobility. From various perspectives, all of these sessions focus on the new modalities for communications--Instant Messaging; video, web (info and application sharing), and voice conferencing; mobile device communication including text, IM, presence, directories, e-mail, web portal access, and, by the way, voice. Two of these 8 UC sessions are contact center sessions, an interesting point as the functionality of Unified Communications are now a major factor in new contact center purchasing decisions. But the big news in the UC sessions is to see how many success stories are being highlighted by essentially every vendor. The successes point to CEBP--Communication-Enabled Business Processes--where these new UC technologies are used to change dramatically the way that enterprises are doing their work. Some of the highest ROI examples come from these CEBP successes.

* Video and Collaboration: 8 sessions here, too, with two major messages. First, video is the new voice. Not every business process justifies video (or even voice, when IM can be just as quick and get the job done), but when personal touch or team interaction is the goal, then video and web sharing are the preferred methods. Essentially every vendor's peer-to-peer UC communications (see above) include video along with IM/presence and voice, so the video option is quickly becoming available everywhere. Second, the vendors realize that within the enterprise, video is really just a tool for business processes and the main business process is team working, also known as collaboration. Microsoft and IBM have been in the collaboration business for years with software such as SharePoint and Lotus Domino/Quickr. A lot of innovation can be seen at Enterprise Connect as communications suppliers seek a share of this.

* Social Networks and The Cloud: Another 8 sessions in two tracks on these topics. Certainly, social networks are one of the fastest growing forms of communications. We can see that major vendors' products are either providing, or aiming at, social networks within the enterprise (IBM Connections, Microsoft SharePoint, Cisco Pulse, Avaya Flare) or are connecting directly to the public social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and others. This growing interest in social networking and collaboration accelerates interest in Cloud-based solutions. Enterprise Connect announcements and keynotes are emphasizing options for Cloud-based communications, whether as the complete enterprise solution or blended with on-premise solutions.

So, naming this industry-leading show Enterprise Connect was just in time. It's no longer a voice-driven industry, and it's certainly no longer a voice-driven show! Hope you’ll be here enjoying it with all of us. If not, then be sure to visit the Enterprise Connect website and No Jitter for replays, posts and much more.