Archive for March 2017

RingCentral Office is a single, unified app that can be used for team messaging, audio, video, fax, SMS, collaboration and conferencing on a desktop, tablet or mobile phone

I started my career as an analyst in 2001, and one of the first reports I wrote was on the topic of “unified communications,” or UC as it’s more commonly called today. The concept is pretty simple: Workers use lots of communications tools, so why not bring them together into a single, easy-to-use tool? Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Finding a threat solves only part of the problem. A complete deception solution will also enable better incident response.

Deception tools have been growing in popularity over the past several years, but customers need to ensure they are using the technology to its fullest potential.

We’re about to enter the third phase of the cloud, one that will fundamentally change the way we live.

Most technologies go through some period of being overhyped and failing to live up to inflated expectations set forth by the vendor community. Cloud, however, has been the exception.

Cloud services have become ubiquitous — you’d be hard-pressed to find a company today that isn’t using at least a little bit of something from the cloud. And many organizations have directives to utilize cloud services first, when available. Make no mistake: The cloud era not only has arrived, but is taking over.

However, we are on the tip of a cloud transition point. In fact, I think we are about to hit the third phase of the cloud — one that will fundamentally change the way we live, allowing us to do things we couldn’t do without the cloud.

I love ice cream, especially soft serve ice cream. Traditionally there wasn’t much variation in soft serve ice cream. It was available in three flavors, chocolate, vanilla, and twist. You could change it up a bit by adding chocolate or rainbow sprinkles, but all in all it was pretty straightforward ordering your ice cream. Recently I’ve found ice cream stands offering flavored soft serve. They pour vanilla into a dish, add flavoring and color, and put the mix through a dispenser to create a host of new flavor options. My personal favorite is coconut soft serve with chocolate sprinkles. Yum!

I tell you this story about ice cream because like soft serve, many enterprises believe that there are only three flavors of cloud communications—public cloud, private cloud or hybrid. Pull the lever on the left of the Cloud dispensing machine, and you get private cloud, which usually consists of a customer building their own data center(s) and hosting a communications solution with purchased licenses. Pull the lever on the right, and you’ve got public cloud, typically a communications service managed by a third party, delivered over the public internet in a subscription model. When you use the middle dispenser, a hybrid cloud blends the two solutions together.

As compelling as this network option might be, some questions need further exploration.

Not only has WAN transformation been talked about for decades, but SD-WAN in particular has been a red-hot topic for the last couple of years. Investors seem to believe the market will stay this way as well; over the past couple of months both VeloCloud and Aryaka have raised additional funds to be able to meet the explosion in user demand for SD-WAN.

One of the core tenets of my research is that the best opportunity to gain customer share is when markets undergo transitions, which is why we see so much startup activity in this market right now.

Why Is the WAN in Transition?

That’s an easy answer. Legacy WANs are broken and have been for decades. Prior to becoming an analyst I was in corporate IT, and back in the ’90s we discussed WAN transformation. However, unlike today, there really wasn’t a viable alternative at the time. Also, traditional WANs were inflexible, inefficient, and overly expensive. It wasn’t holding the business back so most IT departments took an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude regarding the wide area network.

Baby boomers, who were born between 1946 and 1964, according to Wikipedia, constitute the second-largest generation following millennials. This group grew up knowing the value of healthcare and taking care of themselves. In addition to making their own healthcare decisions, many of them are now caring for aging parents as well. Today, they value the advances and healthcare options offered by technology. In fact, they have adapted quite well to the internet and have embraced social media: 83% of baby boomers ages 51 to 59 and 76% of those ages 60 to 69 use the internet regularly, according to The Pew Research Center.

But how exactly are baby boomers using the internet and technology when making healthcare decisions?

Baby boomers have a lot of confidence in their healthcare team and rely on what their doctors tell them. However, they like to research what they have been told to gain more insight on their health issues. They enjoy using healthcare portals to locate information or come up with questions for their doctors. For example, my 94-year-old grandfather is completely independent and living on his own, and he loves using the computer or even his iPhone to research medical terms mentioned by his doctor. He is being very proactive in his own care.

The cloud has been a core component of almost every organization’s IT strategy for the past five years. However, I believe we are reaching a cloud “tipping point” where it will be used for dramatically different things than it has in the past.

The first wave of cloud growth was fueled by organizations looking for a cheaper alternative to running servers on premises. The next wave of cloud growth will be driven by organizations looking to fundamentally change their businesses through the use of advanced technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

Over the past year, we have seen a veritable cornucopia of AI use cases included playing poker and Go, writing news stories, filing insurance claims, driving cars and writing code. This current phase of cloud moves it from being a “nice to have” to an absolute, slam dunk, need to have as it’s almost impossible for a business to have the scale and elasticity required to power an AI platform.

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