Move over Disney, Universal Studios and Sea World, a new theme park – Enterprise Connect
– appeared in Orlando this past week. It only stayed open for 4 days but was host to the largest companies in the communications industry and thousands of visitors. Enticed by the theme “Communications Transforming Business,” participants excitedly descended on a variety of sessions and dozens of vendor exhibits. Being a bit of a ride junkie and having already done those other parks, I could not wait to explore these choices.
With so much to experience and with sessions running simultaneously, it was not possible to personally do it all. With that in mind I want to share some of my favorites with you.
Rule number one for park visiting: always hit the roller coaster first when the lines are shortest. So naturally, my first stop was a session on “SIP Trunking - Who is Offering What?” This session had all the big drops, loops, turns and twists that every good coaster provides. Here are some tidbits I gathered from this session:
- The set of providers are both tier 1 (think Verizon or AT&T) and tier 2 players like Windstream and XO Communications
- The biggest issue for customers deploying SIP Trunking is the contractual arrangement around SLAs for latency, jitter and MOS
Following this excitement, I decided to slow things down a bit and entered the Hall of Mirrors. Titled “Has the Post-PBX Era Begun?” this may have also included some smoke with the mirrors. The consensus view is that people are starting to look at this especially as more vendors are coming into the market with Cloud based solutions but no one is predicting the demise of the premises based PBX just yet. There were some interesting considerations that were raised including:
- The rising interest of workers who want to bring their preferred device to work and have IT support it will intensify as the next generation of workers joins the workforce. This is known as BYOD (bring your own device) and the prediction is that company provided sanctioned PCs will be in the minority, as users bring all manner of endpoints to work as their primary communications device.
- Interoperability issues will continue to require careful consideration of integrating new technologies
- Expectation is that new applications will tend to be cloud based rather than reside on hardware within the premises
- The future of the PBX was tied by the panel to how well it could adapt to four forces that are gaining momentum: virtualization, high quality video, mobility demands and social media.
Needing another adrenalin fix, off I went to the Mad Engineers Tea Party. Just listening to the panelists explain the Mix of Cloud and on Premises services in terms of implementation was enough to make anyone dizzy. The carriers led with the idea that the concept of Cloud is just a new take on Centrex but Cloud Services are not the commodity that Centrex was. One suggested there will be a Hybrid mix of some cloud services coupled with on premises residence for others. They cited video as a likely cloud service but customers. A concern was that some industries/customers would not feel secure if data were stored in the cloud for applications although it was pointed out that “Private Cloud networks” could solve that issue.
I chose to end my day with two more rides- the House of Horrors and the Fun House. The House of Horrors was very scary as the major vendors tried to convince me their way to do collaboration was the only sensible choice. How could so many different solutions be the only right one? I suspect they all have some good ideas and the details are what will make one superior to another based on each customer’s current situation and future needs.
The Fun House (aka the Exhibits area) is always the place for laughs and fun, and it certainly lived up to its expectations with food, games, giveaways and carnival barkers galore. Best parts of the Fun House were the new products in all areas – especially video products. There was even a cool high definition video immersion room that was nicer than my den. Also, new applications for presence, virtualization and collaboration were on full display from many of the vendors.
Overall this show was impressive in terms of the breadth of topics and the participation of both attendees and exhibitors. When this park opens again next season, count me in.