Enterprise Connect definitely got underway today in Orlando. The sessions grew more crowded throughout the day and the halls got busier. I heard a lot of talk about cloud, hybrid, UCaaS, and WebRTC just in passing conversations. (And I finally stopped looking for small dogs – the jingle of the badge lanyards somehow sounds like dog collars at this show.)

The Path to UC
The first general session of this year’s conference focused on unified communications, UC Summit: Is the Path to UC Changing? With a panel of execs from Cisco, Avaya, Google for Work, Microsoft (Skype), Mitel, NEC, and Unify sharing the stage, there was definitely a variety of perspectives. But there was also a lot of agreement about hybrid.

Cisco’s Rowan Trollope talked about “a future where video is part of every conversation.” But that doesn’t mean everyone has to be on video, just that video should be an automatic part of calls. Instead of users having to choose whether to place a voice call or a video call, “the difference between voice and video calls is whether your camera is on.” He talked about interoperability being a key part of what Cisco does and how the “new interoperability” comes from web APIs. (Cisco Spark is a great example of this with its developer platform…)

Contact Center
Led by Sheila McGee-Smith, the Contact Center Market Update & Executive Forum covered some new stats coming out of soon-to-be-released research from Dimension Data. While telephony is still the dominant contact center channel, the combined digital channels are growing – and will soon push telephony from its number one spot. And when it comes to cloud, on-premises, or hybrid deployment options, 43% of organizations say that hybrid resonates best. Chris Botting represented Cisco on the panel and talked about Cisco Customer Care offerings and how elements like context service take advantage of data and 20160307_161133cloud to get even closer to the customers.

The Show Floor
The exhibits opened in the late afternoon to the usual of energy and noise of the first day. If you’re here, don’t miss the opportunity to get demos and barrage our technical experts with good questions. And don’t pass up the adventure of finding the Acano booth. We didn’t hide it, but our neighbors have quite a formidable wall as part of their display space. (Pink Floyd would be proud.) It’s worth the adventure to see what the Acano team is working on and how it ties in with our portfolio.

If I had a dollar for every use of cloud or hybrid on booth signage, I might be able to charter a private jet back to California. There’s also a strange trend toward orange-windowed show-floor conference rooms… OK, two booths, but they somehow look radioactive. Plenty of interesting demos along the way — and booth staff intent on getting as many badge swipes as possible, even from clear competitors.

On Tap for Tuesday
Up tomorrow, Rowan Trollope’s keynote at 10:00a EST. If you’re not here at the event, you can catch it live in our communities or catch the replay. Watch the @CiscoCollab Twitter feed for show floor demos between 11 a.m. and noon EST.

More Monday Musings

  • On Spark… At the end of a conference day, I’m usually digging into a growling e-mail inbox. Not today. I kept up with nearly everything in Cisco Spark during the day. I monitored and participated in all my ongoing projects. I reviewed a few documents. And I jumped into a few new show-related conversations along the way. The end result is this unlike what I’ve experienced at past events: It’s a strange sense of being up-to-date with almost everything instead of scrambling to try to fit a normal day’s work into a few post-show evening hours. (Yes, this may sound like a paid celebrity endorsement, but remember — I’m not a celebrity.)
  • On the Biodome… I always feel like a critter being studied in a giant terrarium wandering the walkways of the Gaylord Palms. There’s a scientist up there watching: “Now let’s see what the human does when we change the environment from simulated tropical forest to meeting room.” (I neglected to mention the lack of sleep last night?)
  • On Technology Vocabulary… OK, here it is, my technology vocabulary pet peeve: A premise is an idea, but premises refers to a building. You do not have an on-idea UC deployment. Just sayin’.

Until tomorrow! See you in the Twittersphere, the keynote, or camped out near hallway electrical outlets.



Kim Austin

No Longer with Cisco