In preparation for the upcoming Enterprise Connect conference, we are excited to announce this year's companies selected for the Innovation Showcase. This year we received 15 applications, and picking four was really tough.
The intent of the Innovation Showcase is to identify and highlight some up and coming companies that are innovating solutions to improve enterprise communications. The distinction between consumer apps and enterprise apps can be difficult, so to simplify matters, we required that applicants reference an enterprise customer. With an enterprise reference as the litmus test, the judging could then focus on the innovative aspects of the product or service.
The judges are instructed to evaluate the companies for "innovation in enterprise communications." That's a broad and difficult parameter. Innovation alone isn't enough unless there is a product or service that makes sense--and that could include infrastructure, price, and supportability. CIOs, in particular, put a lot of emphasis on supportability. There was some lengthy and fascinating debate among the judges, as you'd expect given the wide degree of interpretation possible, combined with an even wider degree of competing companies serving different sectors with different technologies.
The selection process was so difficult we recommended the Showcase be expanded beyond four in 2013. But the judges persevered, and although it took nearly a month, more conversations, and a few unexpected demos--we are proud to present the Enterprise Connect Innovation Showcase 2012 lineup (alphabetically):
Hookflash enables rich, real-time voice, video and text in an innovative new combination with social media. Hookflash is a "social business-real-time communications" platform providing a new way to communicate and collaborate. The first service/client/app, "Hookflash for iPad" is designed for the iPad.
Nuvixa delivers value to its enterprise customers by dramatically improving the way they communicate using video. Nuvixa is leveraging the meteoric growth rate in 3D sensing sparked by Microsoft's Kinect Sensor to bring an incredibly rich palette of end-user functionality to the on-line conferencing space. This revolutionary new functionality had only been possible with dramatically more expensive niche solutions.
Wrike provides project collaboration software that helps companies get things done in real time. Customers rely on Wrike for working on their tasks and projects in the cloud. Wrike also is the first app to bring a flexible graph model for work data: all project ideas, details, schedules and discussions are connected in one spot.
Vidtel enables any-to-any cloud video communications. The Vidtel Connect service allows enterprises to keep their video systems securely behind their firewalls, yet reachable with a simple email-like Vidtel calling address. Additionally, enterprise video systems (e.g., Polycom, Cisco, LifeSize) can interoperate with consumer-grade video communication technologies (Skype and Google Talk) with the Vidtel bridging service.
The four companies are not ranked. Each company will be available in the Enterprise Connect exhibit hall during the conference, as well as performing a demonstration during morning general sessions. It is probably safe to say that Enterprise Connect will be their debut in terms of exhibiting at an enterprise oriented communications conference of this size.
Be sure to check them out and inquire if their technologies can solve some problems at your company. Selection in the Innovation Showcase is prestigious. Only four companies are selected by an discerning team of enterprise savvy judges.
The judges, who are located in different cities across the country, used a variety of collaboration products and technologies in their meetings--including audio, video, and messaging solutions as well as shared work spaces and collaboration software. The evaluations were made in February by:
* Dave Michels, the Innovation Showcase Director and CEO of Verge1, frequent contributor to NoJitter.com, Talkingpointz.com, and UCStrategies.
* Israel Del Rio, Senior Vice President Information Technology, CIO at Revel Entertainment Group.
* Ron Anderson-Lehman, past CIO of Continental Airlines.
* David Danto, Principal Consultant-Collaboration/Multimedia/Video at Dimension Data and the Director of Emerging Technologies at IMCCA.