Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Next Stop - Dallas and Vertical Communications

Just two days of travel this month and I'm not complaining. Tomorrow I'm going to Dallas for another vendor analyst event. This one is for Vertical Communications, a company I've followed for some time, and they haven't had an analyst event for a couple of years. They've made big strides with cloud-based UC and contact center platforms, and I like how they've developed a focus on vertical markets - as their namesake implies - namely in automotive, healthcare and retail.

Am not sure how much of the conference will be under NDA, but I'll blog and tweet as time allows. To follow more directly, their twitter feed is @verticalcomminc.

Starting next month, my travel schedule picks up quite a bit, and if you want to know more, I update that here on my website. Also, I'm doing a major refresh of my site and my blog, so all of this will look very different soon - details in due time.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Is Presence Dead? Our Latest UCS Podcast

For as long as I can remember, I've been calling presence the glue that holds UC together. Just as Unified Messaging - remember that? - was a big step forward when telephony stood alone from everything else, presence was really the key enhancement that took UC to the next level past UM.

Today, we take presence for granted, but early on, it was the most efficient way to manage day to day interactions with co-workers. That said, people were just as likely to use it as another filter or gatekeeper to make them LESS accessible. Why? Because presence was making them TOO accessible, so by setting your status to DND, the unwanted intrusions would drop off, and then you could actually get some work done.

Well, that's just one take on presence, and however you look at it, there's a strong case to be made that it's relevance has passed. It's not going to disappear anytime soon, but a lot of things have to go right - and a lot of rules have to be universally followed to get full value from presence. Basically, people rely more on text/IM/SMS now when they want to find someone, and there's not much etiquette any more about bothering people. It's widely expected that with mobility you're always available or at less reachable, and in that case you really don't need presence.

That's the gist of what we covered on our last UCStrategies podcast, and there were strong views on both sides of the coin. It's a fascinating topic, and yet another example of how the UC space just keeps morphing along. The podcast was moderated by Phil Edholm, and I hope you give it a listen - here's the link.

Friday, February 5, 2016

My Latest Smart Grid Article - Emergence Theme Around Technology and Innovation

Time to wear my Smart Grid hat again. In this mode, I'm an Advisor to Austin-based Zpryme Research, and the Community Advocate for next month's Energy Thought Summit. Leading up to the summit, I'm writing a four part thought leadership series, and this is the second piece.

The title is "Emergence - New Players and Technologies Bring Utilities to the Innovation Game", and it's posted now on the ETS16 website. Utilities are 10 years behind telcos in term of Internet/IP disruption, and my focus here is on emerging trends that are poised to transform the energy sector.

I hope you give it a read, and if you like it, you'll want to read my first instalment, and then stay tuned the upcoming pieces, which are in the works now. Beyond that, if you're interested in how this overall transformation is happening, you'll want to join us at ETS16, March 28-31.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

New Article - Top 6 Tips Shaping the Customer Experience

I recently posted about a podcast interview I did with UK-based Enterprise Management 360. The focus was on trends shaping the customer experience in 2016, and I wrote a companion article to go along with it.

The article is running in their Q1 magazine, and here's the link to that.

It's just one of many articles in the magazine, and the digital edition is much more polished than what the above link shows. Download options are available in several formats, and you can explore those here.

If you missed the details for my podcast, here's the link for an audio replay.

I'll be doing a few other things with EM360 in 2016, and will keep you posted as they develop.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

January Writing Roundup

2016 is off to a good start, and January was another busy month on the writing front. Here's a quick digest of the highlights that will still be a good read.

Top 6 Tips for Shaping for Shaping the Customer Experience in 2016, Enterprise Management 360, Jan. 29 - link to my article now running in their Q1 edition, and it includes audio clips from an interview I did them them to accompany the post. Contact me for details to download the full Q1 edition.

Unify and Circuit Redux, UCStrategies, Jan. 29

The Case for Best of Breed with UC, Toolbox.com, Jan. 27

How not to Make UC Strategic, Internet Telephony Magazine, digital edition, Jan. 27

Hidden Costs to Consider with UC, Toolbox.com, Jan. 26

UC Experts Share Their 2016 Predictions for the UCaaS Market, Collab9 blog, Jan. 22

When the Phone System Should Drive UC Planning, Toolbox.com, Jan. 18

Transformation: Three Themes Utilities Must Embrace, wearing my Smart Grid hat, this is the first in a series for our upcoming ETS16 event in Austin, Jan. 14

Don't Set Expectations too Low with UC, Toolbox.com, Jan. 11

Emerging Scenarios for Video, Part 2, Toolbox.com, Jan. 6

Evaluating UCaaS Providers with Three Key Criteria, TechTarget, Jan. 6

Monday, February 1, 2016

Unify Analyst Conference - UCStrategies Podcast Review

Following their recent conference, Unify has been the topic du jour lately on UCStrategies, and that has culminated with our latest podcast. Several of us shared our thoughts on the current state of Unify, which is now in the larger hands of Atos.

Lots of implications business-wise, but also for where things are going for Unify in the UC and collaboration spaces. I'm parsing these out because they are respectively served by OpenScape and Circtuit. If you follow me, you'll know that I view these as different spaces, but they are often talked about in the same breath and that's not always a good idea.

That's a taste of what we covered on the podast, where views were shared from UC Experts who did and did not attend the conference. The podcast is posted now on the site, and my comments start at the 14:51 mark. If you want to follow further, you can start with my recent UCStrategies post about Circuit, and from there, links to posts from other UC Experts.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Unify and Circuit Redux - My Take, Second Time Around

Got back late last night from ITExpo, and the week prior, I was at the Unify analyst/consultant conference, so I'm pretty showed-out for now. At ITExpo, I moderated a panel about communication and collaboration, and at Unify, we got an extensive update on the business, including Circuit. Things look better now than when Circuit made its debut in late 2014, and there are some relevant ideas from my ITExpo panel to reinforce that.

I've pulled those ideas together for my current UCStrategies column, and it's running now on the site. If you're trying to make sense of the fast-changing collaboration space, and/or how well Unify is currently positioned, I think you'll find this a good read. If you do that, I hope you pick up on the links in my analysis, as my UCStrategies colleagues Blair Pleasant and Phil Edholm have also shared their thoughts, but more so about the overall Unify story.