Enterprise Connect Summarized In 4 Words: Cloud, WebRTC, Video, Business
There were some major announcements at the Enterprise Connect conference, which was held at the Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center in Orlando,FL. Having gone to this show since back when it was called VoiceCon, I am seeing an attempt to be more business focused rather than just technology speeds and feeds. With that said, there was still a lot of the latter at this show. A lot of that has to do with the audience of course.
There was a major focus on WebRTC, Cloud and Video. While presentations still got lost in technology speeds and feeds, we did hear discussion of business outcomes in some of the keynotes.
Enterprise Connect – Major Announcements
Cisco and Google Together
One of the major announcements was the partnership and alliance between Google and Cisco. Cisco WebEx will now run on ChromeBook. Clearly the alliance now unites Cisco and Google in the competitive war against Microsoft.
In meeting with the Cisco team, it was clear there will be further WebEx integrations into other systems and platforms. The idea is to inject real-time collaboration and communications in the processes people are a part of.
Unify unveiled further plans for Project Ansible. The branding will be Ansible for the new offering. Unify announced new features for Ansible and that it will be interoperable with other UC systems. This will be an important and crucial capability for Unify to get right. Interoperability has been the elephant in the room in UC and now UCC circles for years. If they can get this right, they will have a good opportunity to potentially be the glue and a connective tissue in UCC connecting disparate platforms.
Meeting with the Unify team, they advised the pre-beta trials have been going well for Ansible. I also got a chance to meet at the Unify booth on the show floor to see a new demo of Ansible. Unify was one of the first major vendors to embrace WebRTC with Ansible. One of the key tenets of Ansible is context and relevance in people-to-people interactions. It’s creating a single pane of glass into an environment the user can live, interact and access what they need to get their work done. It’s people-centric and tied to how people work. The challenge for Unify will be faster time to market on this vision.
Vidyo had a strong showing this year at Enterprise Connect. They announced and showed their VidyoWorks Contact Center solution, a developer kit for developers to video-enable contact center applications. In meeting with Vidyo’s Joan Vandermate, Vice President of Marketing, she took me through a spirited demo showing how Vidyo’s technology is powering video into multiple business applications. This is an area Aragon has been calling Video Enabled Business Applications (VEBAs).
It was clear to me that Vidyo is positioning itself as a video infrastructure provider. Case in point is that you will discover Vidyo’s technology powering video for many applications such as Google Hangouts. The more Vidyo can remain agnostic here the more we will see them penetrate multiple industries from healthcare to financial services as a video infrastructure provider.
Oracle was a surprising sight at this event. However, with its acquisition of Acme Packet, this brings Oracle right in the middle of the UC space. Oracle unveiled its WebRTC Session Controller kit for communications service providers and enterprises to build WebRTC communications applications, available on any device for users in support of their business processes and applications.
Everything in The Cloud
The Cloud was another major theme that was woven throughout Keynotes and vendor demos. It is obvious all vendors are trying to offer a path forward towards cloud and hybrid deployments for communications and collaboration capabilities. While the audience at Enterprise Connect was predominantly technical with years of on-premises UC deployment expertise, there was a clear siren to IT leaders to plan on embracing the cloud as part of unified communications and collaboration initiatives.
Enterprise Connect – Final Thoughts
So what does all this talk about WebRTC, Cloud and video really mean? Well, an underlying theme was mobility, which we believe along with cloud has been a tremendous driver for democratizing access to communications capabilities. All this is really about how to empower business users to get their work done. While many of the presentations at Enterprise Connect tried to bring that in, it focused too much on technical diagrams to get the point across. For communicating what business outcomes are to business leaders, the diagrams and tech talk were way too complex.
Vendors who are now embracing cloud, mobility, WebRTC and video have to break down their capabilities into well defined business use cases. Also, it has to be broken down into language business leaders can understand in relation to their processes.