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Interop Cocktail Party Chatter

Taking a break from my Mobile Customer Care Mania series, this post is about another type of grouping. When the doors closed on the Exhibit Hall at Interop tonight, I found myself with three party invitations for the 5 PM to 7:30 slot. With no particular strategy in mind other than limiting myself to one glass of wine per party (I had a 9 AM session scheduled for tomorrow), I headed off to the Alcatel-Lucent event.

There was a strong party atmosphere as the company's sexy new client desktop application, OpenTouch Conversation, won Best of Show in the collaboration category. Jack Jachner, Director of Business Development for the OpenTouch family of solutions, dropped by a table I was sharing with two others, and provided an impromptu demo. Turns out that one of my table mates runs a managed services company and already offers UC services on the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise OmniPCX platform. She's excited about adding an OpenTouch application server to the existing platform in order to be able to offer OpenTouch Conversation--something she thinks will set her apart from competitors.

With some interesting interactions and two (small) lobster tacos under my belt, I moved on to ShoreTel's soiree. Here I found a very well-attended event chock full of ShoreTel executives, partners and customers. I ran into No Jitter editor Eric Krapf, a relatively rare pleasure as I only get to see him a couple of times a year. Like Alcatel-Lucent, Eric was having a good day. He works for the firm that puts on Interop (TechWeb) and by all accounts attendance was strong, stronger than it has been in the past couple of years.

My last stop was the Cisco event. For their party, Cisco bought-out one floor of the Mexican restaurant we all pass as we trek from our rooms in Mandalay Bay to the convention center, Border Grill. While Cisco's was the largest party by far, there seemed to be less going on. Admittedly I arrived at 6:45 p.m.--maybe all the fun happened before I got there? I had a glass of sparkling water and moved on.

So on the Collaboration Cocktail Circuit; I’ll give Best Food to Alcatel-Lucent (so fitting for a French firm), Best Exec Coverage to ShoreTel and Best Venue (indoor and outdoor space) to Cisco.