Enterprise Connect Week – My Take from Afar

I was so glad to read on Blair Pleasant’s Enterprise Connect blog; Enterprise Connect 2011 What a Show! that the energy and crowds were back. I had been to ITExpo in the fall, and whereas it was better attended than recent shows during the downturn, and had new content, including social media in contact centers, still didn’t quite have the buzz of the shows we used to attend in the past when “telecom” was hopping. So I’m happy. I wish I could have been there, but Florida was too far this month.

I agreed with Blair on her assessment of cloud. We have been hearing it from every vendor from UC vendors to the contact center vendors, and cloud was tweeted to death during the show. However, it won’t happen overnight. Even if cloud shows up in every customer presentation, there is still a lot of investment in on-premise equipment and solutions that companies won’t just throw away. The key now is that everyone is thinking about it, so now they can plan for it, and it will move faster as — Blair said, with a hybrid approach, and with further offerings. Along those lines, Verizon‘s announcement of the company’s Unified Communication & Collaboration-as-a-Service (UCCaaS) which they announced at the show, is being trialed now, will be available as a hybrid offering for enterprises later this year.

Siemens Enterprise Communications had another cloud winner (to use Blair’s analogy of the Oscars) with OpenScape Cloud Solutions; that build on and offers the capabilities of OpenScape Voice, OpenScape UC and OpenScape Web Collaboration, as cloud deployments. The solutions include a standard set of defined packages and options, to make it easy for a company to deploy and expand. The goal as with the other Siemens announcements I blogged about in December, is simplicity, cost effectiveness and reliability. These solutions will be hosted in third-party data centers and available through resellers.

An intriguing part of the announcement was OpenScape Mobile UC Client for Android, which featured new OpenScape Communication Gestures that will support the innovative Call Swipe Gesture (interesting name), the intent of which is to seamlessly transfer calls-in-progress to other devices with intuitive hand gestures on a touch screen interface.

Lastly, Siemens Enterprise announced OpenScape Fusion for Google Apps which delivers integration plug-ins for the Google Apps suite, enabling unified communications capabilities such as click to call from within Google cloud-based applications.

Other cloud announcements included Global Crossing introducing the company’s Communication-as-a-Service (CaaS) service. It combines the company’s IP VPN, SIP trunking capabilities and audio conferencing in the first release. Later releases will cover more UC capabilities.

I was also pleased to hear that interoperability was a winner. We talk about this all the time at UCStrategies in blogs, our podcasts and our calls, and although it seems like true interoperability will always be a moving target, all steps will help.  One announcement along these lines was Zeacom’s announcement that the Zeacom Communications Center (ZCC) will interoperate (see there is that word again) with Microsoft Lync 2010 is a further proof point of the blending of UC with the contact center.

Once again, I wish I could have been there. So if there was that much buzz, Eric and Fred, please, please, bring a west coast show back to San Francisco!!!.

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