Enterprise Connect in Three Words: IP Phones, UC&C, Video
By Jim Lundy
Enterprise Connect was held this week in Orlando, Florida and it was all about IP Phones, UC&C, (Unified Communications and Collaboration) and Video. Mobile enablement of all of this was an undercurrent but given that Enterprise Connect used to be called VoiceCon, discussions about Voice still trumped Mobile. SIP, SIP Trunking were there as much as ever, but Video was more front and center than in the past.
Enterprise Connect: Clash of the UC Titans
Underlying all of it was the looming battle between Tech Titans, namely Microsoft (Lync) and Cisco (Jabber, Telepresence and Social). Microsoft had signage all over Enterprise Connect that said Lync and Cisco had the most crowded booth. Of course, there were many other vendors who also had a voice this week (Avaya, IBM, Polycom, NEC, Siemens, and others), but the jabs during discussions had a lot of references to the battle for UC&C at the desktop.
While IBM Lotus General Manager Alistair Rennie gave a Keynote speech on Wednesday that talked about the coming Social Enterprise, IBM did not have a booth or much of a presence at the event, which is surprising given the strength of the IBM Sametime brand. Even with that, in our opinion, two vendors at Enterprise Connect that have made big investments in Mobile were Cisco and IBM.
In 2012, it isn’t as much about the desktop, it is about enabling UC&C on all forms of work devices including Mobile – aka Smartphones and Tablets. I’m even wondering if we should shift and call it MC&C instead of UC&C. I wasn’t surprised that many of the discussions at Enterprise Connect did not focus on Mobile and Tablets, which are poised to threaten the sale of IP Phones over the next several years.
Enterprise Connect: Where Were the Tablet Demos?
Demonstrations of UC&C applications on Tablets at Enterprise Connect were there but were few and far between. Cisco announced Jabber for the iPad and Windows and Microsoft is now saying that Lync will run on the iPad. Most of the rest had little to say. As Tablets get more powerful, we expect to see more providers offer their apps on Tablets. If you need any evidence of that, try any of the Web Conferencing apps on an iPad (e.g. Cisco WebEx, Citrix GoToMeeting, Saba Meeting). These apps run flawlessly over wireless and most now support VOIP and Video.
On top of that, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) was not a topic that many panelists were comfortable talking about, but yet there were vendors present, such as AirWatch and PartnerPedia, that make it easy to manage mobile devices or apps on an enterprise level. Going forward, we expect to see more focus on Mobile, since that represents the new normal for the workplace.
Overall, Enterprise Connect seems to be reinvigorated from its near demise a few short years ago. Given the shift to mobile, we expect to see more focus on that going forward. Stay tuned for our brand new report on Mobile Ecosystems and Tablets coming next week.