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Getting Back to the Future in 2021

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Businessman looking out to future concept photo
Image: peshkov -
Remember the future? It’s where enterprise communications decision-makers used to spend a significant portion of their time. As important as it was to make sure that current systems were working and users were satisfied, it was just as important to have a clear idea about your enterprise’s roadmap for what those systems would look like and how those users would be communicating over the next several years. You needed that vision so that you could plan your investments and be ready for the impact of new technologies.
The pandemic shifted everyone’s focus to making sure that work could get done and people stayed connected day in, day out, in the present — that task consumed all your attention and then some. But with promising news about vaccines, some of us are daring to imagine what life will be like in a world where caseloads are inexorably falling and life is returning to normal — even if we have a tough winter to get through before we reach that better place.
At Enterprise Connect, we’re planning for a 2021 in which the communications industry can begin to take the lessons of the pandemic and the changes it wrought to our enterprises, and incorporate this current reality into the near- and medium-term challenges and opportunities. This approach will be reflected in both the format and subject matter of our 2021 events.
Our big news for 2021 is that we’ve shifted the scheduled dates for our in-person Enterprise Connect conference and expo from March to September, and have added a virtual component for those who might not be comfortable with or able to travel at that time. Obviously, we’ll be monitoring conditions throughout the first half of the year, but assuming we see the necessary improvements in conditions and positive guidance from public health authorities, plan on joining us live at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, Fla., from Sept. 27 to 29. We’ll have lots more details to share over the coming weeks about this hybrid event, but we’re committed to delivering the best possible experience to everyone in our audience, regardless of how they’re able to attend.
But keep March in mind for Enterprise Connect, because we’ll be coming to you with an all-virtual event March 9 – 10. In keeping with our belief that strategic planning and technology roadmaps will again come to the fore for enterprise communications decision-makers, we’ve titled our March virtual event, “Communications & Collaboration: 2024,” with a focus on how the most important technologies and markets are likely to evolve over the next three years, and what you should be doing now to position for these changes.
If you’re an Enterprise Connect veteran, that title may look a bit familiar. We’ve been running a “Communications & Collaboration 202X” conference-within-a-conference at the Orlando event since 2017, and from the first time out, it’s been one of our most popular program elements. And with good reason: The new technologies that were emerging then — AI, extensive use of the cloud, expansion of video, and more — did indeed begin playing a vital role in enterprise communications even before the pandemic, and have been absolutely crucial in shaping the industry’s response to the dislocations brought on by COVID-19.
These and other emerging technologies, such as communications APIs and secure access service edge (SASE), will continue to evolve and shape enterprise communications through 2024, so our March virtual event program is designed to help you prepare for their effect. We’ll have more information on this event shortly.
Finally, we know that, alongside a return to strategic planning, 2021 will be a year of solidifying the changes brought on by the pandemic response. So in response to strong attendee demand, we’ll be holding a series of three half-day virtual summits offering practical advice on Microsoft Teams implementation. Watch this space for more information on this programming as well.
We’ve still got a long way to go before this pandemic is behind us. But there’s reason to believe that 2021 will be a year of progress. At Enterprise Connect, we’ll be ready with programs throughout the year to help you take your enterprise communications into the future.