Archive for March 2014

Enterprise Connect, the industry’s largest and best show dedicated to Unified Communications and all things collaboration, kicks off next week in Orlando, Florida. I’m expecting to see the typical themes: interoperability, cloud, video and Cisco versus Microsoft. Another theme I’m expecting to see become a bigger topic is “Big Data” for Unified Communications.

Big data has been a hot topic across IT for a number of years now as business leaders look to better use the massive amounts of data collected. Now, the data itself doesn’t solve problems; rather it’s the analytics and processing to actually understand what the data means that has the value. I believe the communications industry can benefit from the “big data” trend, particularly when it comes to accelerating the deployment of UC.

After all these years, the complexity of migrating to IP-based systems sill plagues many businesses, slowing down the rate of deployment. This is why my research shows that although more than 80% of businesses have started a UC deployment, less than 15% have actually completed the deployment.

This week, Aruba Networks is holding its Atmosphere event in Las Vegas. Atmosphere is actually a collection of conferences – Airheads user event, Partner Summit, Investor day, and an IT Executive Forum – so it provided a great venue for Aruba to announce its Mobility Defined Networks (MDN) architecture. The primary driver of an MDN is the changes in network traffic and user behavior from the rise of GenMobile workers. If you aren’t familiar with GenMobile, it’s the term that Aruba has started to use as the set of workers that precede GenY, which preceded GenX.

The GenMobile demographic is comprised of individuals who are tied to their mobile device for everything in their lives. Previous generations augmented their lives with a mobile device, but GenMobile depends on it for everything from entertainment, their personal lives and, of course, their working lives. This is different than GenYers that relied on mobility to work at the office or at home. GenMobile-ers can be working or not working at any moment and any location. The mobile device is what makes this happen.

A complete product line refresh and some new features are among the highlights.

It seems like ages ago that Cisco first moved into video with the launch of its immersive TelePresence systems, and its subsequent acquisition of Tandberg. Post-acquisition, the entire industry benefitted from the marketing muscle that Cisco brought to a market that had floundered for years. John Chambers and other Cisco executives told us that video would be the new voice, and we had several years where the video industry saw sustained growth as businesses deployed video systems to enhance corporate collaboration and slash travel budgets.

A couple of years ago though, the growth in video infrastructure slowed down, causing some to wonder, is the video industry dead? It’s a fair question, as many of the research firms that track markets have forecasted slow to no growth for video infrastructure over the next several years.

Software Defined Networking (SDNs) has been the hottest topic in networking over the past few years, and will likely continue to be over the next couple. It’s certainly dominated the traffic on this site and others.

Despite the high interest levels from network managers and the media, SDN adoption remains somewhat light. While the concepts of automation, centralized control, and programmability make sense to most network managers, where to deploy an SDN first isn’t really that obvious. From a utopian perspective, one would want to apply the principals of SDNs to the entire network all at once. Bringing in a dose of reality, though, most organizations simply can’t be that aggressive with network changes without putting the business at risk. For many companies, the network is the business, and this radical a shift, if not deployed correctly, could seriously jeopardize the business.

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