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In Collaboration, What’s the Next Great Debate?

- March 1, 2011 - 1 Comment

It seems like every five years a major shift takes place and is debated at the collaboration industry’s premier conference:  VoiceCon. Now called Enterprise Connect, this year’s conference got underway yesterday in Orlando, FL.

In 2001, the great debate was around the convergence of voice and data, as industry leaders took sides over whether the IP-PBX ready was ready for prime time.

In 2006, the buzz was around the topic of Unified Communications, where a single platform emerged to deliver voice, messaging, and basic video.

This year, I predict a great debate over the question, “What does collaboration look like in what Ray Ozzie termed ‘the post-PC world?’”

The traditional compute “stack” has served us well for years, but now that monolithic setup is just one configuration within an exponentially multiplying divergence of applications, operating systems, and personal devices.  The PC will continue to be a critical business tool for some, but we have already reached the point where tablets and smartphones outsell PCs and notebooks.

Through tablets, smartphones, and virtual desktops, people are taking business on the road, often with no PC in sight.  Collaboration architectures need to change to adapt to this new world so that all users can participate.

Today people are just as likely to choose video over email, and as they express their preferences through social media, more companies are taking note of what they say.

An explosion of alternatives in a post-PC world is fueling more effective collaboration in a new kind of workspace that is mobile, social, virtual, and video-enabled.

I also invite you to watch my keynote address at Enterprise Connect streamed live on Tuesday, March 1, from 10:00am to 10:45am ET on the Cisco at Enterprise Connect Virtual Experience, where Cisco is showcasing collaboration new products and solutions.


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  1. No doubt that collaboration technology is and will continue to be important, but I find that we have an additional hurdle to overcome with organizations large and small, and that is in using technology to bring people closer to collaborating. In other words, convincing people to work together in practical and intuitive ways that might shorten the adoption process, and get them to drop some of their inflated egos that might have traditionally prevented collaboration from occurring in the first place. This issue is commonplace throughout companies large and small. Conquer that problem, and we should see a large scale change in how, when and where people and companies use collaboration technology.