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AI World Conference & Expo · Boston, MA · December 11-13, 2017

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‘From: No Jitter’

Takes steps away from infrastructure toward becoming a stronger, more innovative endpoint company.

When Polycom went private in July 2016, it was clear that the company needed to do something different to jump start it back into growth mode. Its infrastructure business was the anchor for the company, which was sinking faster than the NY Jets chances of making the playoffs.

Making a significant strategy change as a publicly traded company is very difficult. Now that it’s private, it’s able to move in a new direction more easily. The new strategy laid out upon going private was to de-emphasize the infrastructure business and become a stronger, more innovative endpoint company. This has caused some confusion and there are many rumors that Polycom is getting out of infrastructure altogether — that’s not the case, but there’s certainly more focus on endpoints as of late.

It’s all about providing choice to consumers.

About three and a half years ago, Facebook dropped a cool $19 billion to buy the consumer messaging app WhatsApp. Since then the user base has more than doubled, from about 450 million to a shade over a billion. But to date Facebook has yet to make any money from its hefty investment.

In some ways, WhatsApp has actually hurt Facebook’s revenue stream. Recall the company also has Facebook Messenger, which together with WhatsApp gives it two of the most widely used messaging apps. Which of the two users favor tends to depend on geography, as you can see on this map. For example, Messenger sees wide use in the U.S., Canada, and Australia, whereas WhatsApp is the most popular app in Russia, South America, most of Africa, and India, with more than 200 million active users there. A quick scan of Facebook’s most recent quarterly numbers shows that Messenger-dominated countries generate about $20 per user, but the company only gets about $2.15 per user in Asia and India where WhatsApp rules.

The acquisition of hyperconverged software vendor Springpath is strategic and important to the next wave of growth for Cisco’s Data Center business unit.

Cisco acquisitions can be hard to predict, as no one really knows what new markets Chuck Robbins and team are eyeing. Also, there are foreign cash and repatriation issues that can swing the pendulum towards foreign companies, further complicating the prognostication capabilities of Cisco watchers.

One that was easy to predict for me, however, was Cisco acquiring Springpath, which I mentioned in this NetworkWorld post from December of 2016 that explored moves Cisco might make in 2017.

A personal view of why medical practices need to embrace the use of artificial intelligence for help in patient diagnostics

Machine learning and artificial intelligence have never been as red hot as they are now, as companies apply them for use in everything from autonomous vehicles to game systems to contact center software. However, not every industry has embraced the benefits of machine learning equally. Healthcare in particular is lagging behind significantly — unfortunate since the use of machine learning and AI can positively impact society in a big way by enabling faster diagnosis.

Releases new chips supporting the 802.11ax Wi-Fi standard

Wi-Fi has been a mainstream technology for the better part of three decades. Despite the longevity of the technology, it still has problems keeping up with the needs of todays mobile user.

Consider an event like Enterprise Connect. Prior to the opening keynotes, when people are sending out tweets and Snapchats making fun of Dave Michels or Kevin Kieller, everything seems fine. Then the keynote starts and stuff stops working — no tweets, Facebook updates, or emails. Some people will just give up on posting to social media or doing anything else online. Others might only use their mobile phone. I actually carry a mobile hotspot specifically for those times I know Wi-Fi will be spotty. The fact is, it shouldn’t be this way, but bandwidth-chewing applications that are synchronous in nature have evolved much faster than Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi speed has steadily increased but it still doesn’t handle multiple users or large file uploads very well.

Program gives Internet telephony service providers the ability to offer subscribers the option of swapping out, canceling, or returning their IP phones without penalty.

The rise of the cloud as a preferred application delivery model has been well documented over the past several years. The cloud has grown in popularity because it creates choice and emphasizes flexibility, which is the opposite of the old IT model that had businesses locked into certain communications technology for up to a decade or more. For example, UCaaS lets buyers pick and choose the services they want, decide who they want to deliver them to, and pay for what they use on a monthly basis.

Infinity Fusion becomes first video interoperability software to earn Microsoft’s stamp of approval.

Cloud has perhaps been the greatest driver of change in the communication industry ever. This force is so strong that one of the biggest on-premises suppliers, Microsoft, has been aggressively pushing its cloud solution, Skype for Business Online, which is part of the broader Office 365 cloud suite. It’s safe to say the cloud era has arrived, and it’s here to stay.

However, the cloud isn’t right for everyone. Many businesses, particularly large enterprises, prefer on-premises solutions, like Skype for Business Server, for reasons such as control and security. Geographic reach is another issue — since no UCaaS provider offers services everywhere around the globe, any large, multinational enterprise that wants to have a consistent set of features everywhere has to roll its own solution. For these reasons, on-premises UC platforms aren’t likely to go away any time soon.



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