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Archive for March 2015

Unified communications, including video collaboration, will never become ubiquitous if vendors don’t commit to these key principles.

Interoperability and integration are hot topics in this industry, as UC will never become a ubiquitous resource until anyone can use any solution from any vendor to contact any other person easily. Imagine if you could only browse websites that are on the same ISP as you! But as much as these two terms get lumped together and used interchangeably, their roles are slightly different.

Interoperability, as defined on Wikipedia, is the “ability of making systems work together” and “the task of building coherent services for users when the individual components are technically different and managed by different organizations.” On the other hand, integration is “the ability to allow data from one device or software to be read or manipulated by another, resulting in ease of use.” The difference is subtle.

Here are the best products I saw at Enterprise Connect last week.

The 25th VoiceCon/Enterprise Connect was held last week under the bio-dome known as the Gaylord Palms in Orlando. The show provides an opportunity for buyers interested in the broad category known as Unified Communications to come and learn about the market, seek out new vendors, and boldly go where no UC deployment has gone before.

The show has also become a launching pad for startups and for existing vendors to announce new products. As an analyst, I attend the show every year looking for products that stand out. Here are the products that caught my eye and were worth calling out. Disclaimer: these products are listed in alphabetic order to avoid any kind of perceived ranking.

I spoke with a company that has embraced a new type of solution for managing network performance and security.

I recently had a chance to talk to Michael Mason, head of new technologies at Phonoscope Lightwave, about how his company is using a new category of product called Network Performance Enforcement (NPE) to improve the quality of the services delivered to its customers. At its core, NPE acts as a superset of WAN optimization, quality of service, network policy control, and analytics.

Phonoscope provides data services for some of the most demanding and globally active customers in the Houston market. They deliver Internet and Ethernet circuits over a layer 2, switched optical fiber network. Their optical fiber ring provides sub-2ms latency within their network to satisfy even their most demanding customer application needs, servicing customers with bandwidth of 10 Mbps up to 100 GbE. Phonoscope’s customers span a variety of verticals, including energy, financial services, healthcare, government, and education. All are grappling with network congestion due to increased high-bandwidth applications, users, and devices – with the real potential for applications crashing and stalling during peak periods. The company is also dealing with increasing user complaints about the global risk the Internet poses from external sources and unwitting internal sources.

Making use of a recent acquisition, F5 Networks provides a new solution for an important market.

A little over two years ago, application delivery controller market leader F5 Networks acquired LineRate Systems to jump into the software defined networking (SDN) game. There are a number of SDN solution providers that operate at layer 2/3, but LineRate delivers application-layer services into a software-defined environment. These services include security, acceleration, optimization, and intelligent traffic management.

Late last week, F5 unveiled the first fruits of the acquisition when it announced a fully virtualized, lightweight load balancing product. The pure software solution enables customers to extend F5’s Synthesis framework to any application regardless of where or how it’s deployed.

Here are my takeaways from my time in Orlando, center of the enterprise communications universe for this past week.

Enterprise Connect 2015 is now in the books and the conference certainly didn’t disappoint. As is the case with shows of years past, we saw some themes rise and come to the forefront and other topics pushed back. Here are the key themes I saw at the 25th edition of Enterprise Connect.

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2015

Many corporate UC tools suffer from poorly designed, unintuitive user interfaces that inhibit adoption.

No question, the corporate workspace is becoming more and more digital, which leads to greater communications and information agility. The business climate is changing rapidly, faster than most organizations realize, and competitive advantage is now based on being able to make decisions quickly — with the best people regardless of device, location, or preference of collaboration tool. This should make UC an absolute no-brainer, must-have technology for all companies but yet it’s not. So, why is that?

This is the question that started off Tuesday’s Enterprise Connect 2015 lineup for me, as I participated in a thought leadership roundtable organized by Unify. The session included a number of analysts, consultants, Unify customers, and company executives. This is something Unify hosts every year and the topics have ranged from mobility to the new way to work. This year’s topic, which I found particularly interesting, was “Humanizing the Digital Workspace.”

Introduced at Enterprise Connect 2015 in Orlando, this solution provides everything needed to run a business, from connectivity and collaboration apps to user training.

March is certainly a great time of year. It’s my youngest son’s birthday, the snow is melting in the Boston area, everyone is busy thinking about his or her March Madness brackets… and it’s time for Enterprise Connect! One of the reasons I like Enterprise Connect, taking place this week in Orlando, is that many companies use the show as a platform to launch new products, or even new markets.

The 2015 edition of the conference is no different. Today at the show, Sprint announced an offering that has the potential to create a new market. Sprint’s Workplace as a Service (WPaaS), a Best in Enterprise Connect finalist, is full, turnkey solution that provides all of the technology required to run a business or branch office on a per-user, per-month basis.



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