Friday, December 12, 2014

My New Column with Network World and First Post: "Do you know your VoIP?"

Just like the world of IP communications, nothing stands still. I've been writing about VoIP for a long time, but there's still lots to learn and explain, and I now have a new channel for doing that.

I recently got re-connected with the folks at IDG, and I now have a new blog there under their Network World banner. The publication and online presence has a large following, and I'm hoping this will help me reach a new audience - something you just have to keep doing as a writer.

My new column is called Reinventing Voice Communication, so it shouldn't be hard to figure out what I'll be writing about. For my first post, I've focused on the murky world of unregulated VoIP, and why businesses need to be careful when partnering with VoIP providers.

Hopefully you know that not all VoIP markets - or carriers - are created equal, and when serving global markets, that's pretty important. I'll leave it at that, and hope you now hop over to the site and read my post in full. I'd love to get your feedback, as well as suggestions for future topics - and if you really like it, I hope you follow me and share it with your crowd.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Fonolo's Top Contact Center Analysts Review - JAA Included Again

Fonolo may be a small player here in Toronto doing cool things in the contact center space, but CEO Shai Berger stands out from his peers as a thought leader in his own right, as well as being very proactive engaging with industry analysts.

This is the third year Fonolo has done this, and am happy to say I've made the list each time. For the 2014 edition, they've expanded the group to 21 analysts, mainly as a reflection of how emerging trends like WebRTC, the cloud and social customer care are adding new layers to the contact center technology ecosystem.

Fonolo has just announced this and have put together a nice presentation profiling all the analysts. So, if you want to know who the smartest people are to follow in this space - at least in Fonolo's eyes - hop over to their blog for the post - as well as lots of other thoughtful insights from their regular posts.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Next Webinar - VoIP and the Business Case for Remote Working

Just a quick shout-out for my next Ziff Davis B2B webinar on the topic of remote working and the value that VoIP brings. Not every business is comfortable with remote working, but it's becoming the preferred option for many employees, and VoIP has something to do with that.

I'll be exploring the VoIP angle, along with other trends and developments that are giving businesses good reason to re-think remote working. Whether you're considering this for a few employees or pretty much everyone, I think you'll get some helpful insights from the webinar.

The date is next Friday - December 12, at 1pm ET, and I hope you can join us. For more details about the webinar and how to register, here's the event page.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

November Writing Roundup

Time flies when you're busy, and it's time for my November blog digest. Here are my top posts from last month that are still timely reads and current examples of what I'm seeing in the UC&C space.

UC Outlook, 2015 Technology Resource Guide, Backbone Magazine, November 2014, pp. 16-17

What's your Plan for Tech-Savyy Employees with UC?, Adtran UC blog, November 26, 2014

Can Cisco and Project Squared Drive Innovation? UCStrategies, November 25, 2014

Post-Deployment with VoIP - your Legacy Migration Plan, Toolbox.com, November 23, 2014

Your Boss Just Heard From Your Tablet - You're Fired, Internet Telephony Magazine, November issue

VoIP Deployment Checklist - Three Employee Considerations, Toolbox.com, November 17, 2014

What to do with UC when Employees are Laggards, Adtran UC blog, November 13, 2014

Ease of Deployment - More Hidden Value for VoIP, Toolbox.com, November 4, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Backbone Magazine - 2015 Technology Resource Guide

Backbone is one of Canada's better known technology magazines, and they just published their annual Technology Resource Guide. It's a pretty handy reference source for the latest trends across tech, including UC, digital media, mobility, wearable tech, security, etc.

They reach out to me as a source from time to time, and for this issue, I was asked to comment on trends in the UC space.

Both the print and digital editions are out now, so if you don't see it at the newsstand, you can review the complete issue here. My comments about UC are in the Digital Media section of the guide, and you can read them here, on pp. 16-17.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Can Cisco and Project Squared Drive Innovation?

Following last week's Cisco Collaboration Summit, I've had a chance to reflect and pull my thoughts together. Most of what we heard and saw is under NDA, so I can't say all that much. I touched on a few things in my last blog post - especially telepresence - but wanted to share something more representative of what they're doing overall in the UC&C space.

Instead of finding clever ways to work around the NDA, I decided instead to comment on how well I think Cisco personifies what lock note speaker Steven Johnson talked about when characterizing the process of innovation. I tried to do that in the context of using innovation to make Cisco's collaboration business more successful, and that's really the end game analysts and consultants were there to hear about.

The logical home for my analysis is UCStrategies, where I'm a UC Expert, and contribute a monthly writeup to help keep their content fresh. My thoughts are now posted on the portal, and after you read it, I hope you stick around as see what my colleagues there have to say about all things related to UC&C.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cisco Collaboration Summit - Quick Thoughts, Pix and a Wayback Video clip

Just have a window here with some quick thoughts, photos and a short clip I think you'll enjoy. As all of us who were there knows, most of the content is under NDA, so I can't say much anyhow. I do plan to share some high level analysis of my takeaways, and need to get some clearance first, so stay tuned.

The 2014 edition of Cisco's Collaboration Summit was very good as always, and worth the trip to LA. Actually, I missed some of the best parts as a variety of delays caused my flight to be 4.5 hours late. This means I didn't get to see the opening talks from John Chambers and Rowan Trollope. At least I can get a replay of Rowan's session, and will watch that once I'm back.

In short, the big news was Project Squared, a mobile collaboration platform. If this sounds like Circuit, you'd be right, but that's all I can say for now. Overall, Cisco has a lot happening in their collaboration business, and don't let the recent dip in sales numbers fool you. They have a laser focus on this space, and are all about innovation, the cloud, mobility, video and being user-centric. There are a lot of moving parts here, and the time was well spent getting updated on where all this is going. Sorry to sound so careful, but... I have to be careful. Hang on, and next week I'll have something more interesting to say. Until then...

Rowan Trollope during the locknote
Author Steven Johnson with some great insights about the real nature of innovation
One example - "the slow hunch" - talking about how great ideas often take a long time to properly germinate. This is a cool photo of a slide he put up from the earliest days of the Internet. It's the sticker hand-written by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN exclaiming that this server should not be powered down. Why? Back then, this was where the entire Internet resided and the whole thing would grind to a halt if some nitwit did that. I think you'd need to do a bit more now to get that result, huh?
Demo of the new and improved IX5000 telepresence. Very nice and still an impressive experience. Still very costly, but much less maintenance cost, power consumption and more manageable to install. What you can't see here is the open space around us, with a lot of natural light and ambient sound. You'd never know from the quality we experienced, so kudos are due for how well engineered this system is.

With that taste of today's telepresence, how about TP circa 2006? Here's a 2 minute video clip I made of the demo I got at Cisco Canada's HO when it first came out. Back then, this was a very cool experience, and I thought you'd enjoy comparing how it looks to the above picture. Notice how much bigger the camera was back then, and how you launched a call via an IP phone. I don't make video clips much any more, but this is by far the most widely-watched clip of mine. If you like like music, you might want to spend some time on my YouTube site, and we can talk more about that later.