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‘From: No Jitter’

From the keynote stage at Enterprise Connect, Avaya gives
us a zing with Zang, a communications platform as a service.

This week at Enterprise Connect, Avaya announced a number of products that will help shift the company from being a vendor of products to a platform vendor. In the No Jitter post covering yesterday’s opening keynote, associate editor Michelle Burbick quoted Rowan Trollope, Cisco’s senior vice president and general manager of the IoT and Collaboration Technology Group, as saying, “UC feels like a thing of the past.” While I’m not quite ready to proclaim the death of UC, I do believe a fundamental shift is underway.

It’s my firm belief that users do not want more UC applications. Everyone has enough of them, and switching between business and UC applications is frustrating on a desktop but completely untenable on a mobile device. UC needs to evolve into a platform that enables companies to drop UC functions into the applications we already use. Picture a retail application in which I could click to call, message, or video directly from the application instead of having to leave the application, go to a dialer, initiate a call… and then go back to the application when the call is done.

A lot of exciting, revolutionary possibilities
emerge out of the union of IoT and UC.

If you’re married, in the process of getting married, or involved in a wedding, you’ve probably heard the expression “something old, something new.” In the tech industry right now, there’s a bit of a marriage going on of “something old and something new,” and that’s the intersection of unified communications (UC) and Internet of Things (IoT).

At first glance, you might wonder what one has to do with the other. UC is a relatively mature market largely involved with real-time communications to enable people to collaborate better. Compared to UC, IoT is a relatively new trend and has focused primarily on connecting traditionally unconnected devices such as medical equipment, sensors, industrial tools, and other endpoints. One technology deals with people and the other with objects, so this raises the question, is there value in bringing these together?

I believe there most certainly is, and I think some of the vendors are starting to see that as well. For example, Cisco recently put IoT software under the leadership of Rowan Trollope, who heads up the collaboration business unit at Cisco. If there was no value in bringing the two together, this leadership structure would make no sense.

We’re almost there, but lingering questions will
keep 2016 from being the year of the cloud in UC.

As the 2016 edition of Enterprise Connect unfolds in Orlando, Fla., next week, one of the hottest topics will be the rise of the cloud in unified communications. Many industry pundits have heralded 2016 as the year of the UC cloud, and the mania is at an all-time high.

Truth be told, I see 2016 being more the year of UC-as-a-service (UCaaS) hype than the year UCaaS becomes pervasive in the enterprise. Too many big questions still need answering. They are as follows:

With a bevy of announcements, Cisco takes an architectural
approach to enabling digital transformation for businesses.

This week Cisco is holding it’s annual reseller event, Partner Summit, in San Diego. Similar to Cisco Live Europe, held earlier in February, the high level theme of the event is digital transformation. At the European event, Cisco announced a number of turnkey solutions to help organizations take advantage of digital trends, including Workspace Productivity and Digital Ceiling.

At Partner Summit 2016, Cisco is announcing the Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA), a framework to help customers leverage the network to empower business leaders to accelerate the shift to a digital organization. Cisco’s DNA (the architecture, not genetic makeup), is an open and software-based network-wide framework that spans the core, WAN, access edge, branch office and security. The new architecture was designed with the following customer considerations:

With the current architecture in place for more than
30 years, the WAN certainly is ready for change.

I’ve been involved in networking for about 30 years now, having cut my teeth as an engineer during the Internet’s rise, when the constant stream of innovation made things really exciting. But then networking matured, and the industry settled into a period of relatively little innovation — let’s face it, a jump in speed is about as exciting as listening to Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson.

Things started to get interesting again about five years ago, with the idea of the software-defined network (SDN) giving rise to a bevy of networking startups. SDNs are threatening the status quo, promising to bring unparalleled levels of network agility alignment with applications and business processes. SDNs are a panacea to all network woes — or at least that’s what we’ve been told.

For all the hype, SDN deployments are still few and far between. Networking professionals who I know even joke that SDN actually stands for “still done nothing.”

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