For those who couldn’t attend the recent Enterprise Connect event in Orlando, we wanted to get a sense for what the buzz was at the show so we talked to Jason Aubee, who is Principal, Strategic Consulting Services for Carousel Industries. This was Aubee’s third time attending Enterprise Connect so he offered some perspective on how this year’s event compared to the others he attended.
Attendance Up, at Least on Paper
For one thing, attendance was up this year from both the sponsor and attendeeperspectives, Aubee said. “That means more people are interested in what’s going on and thinking it’s a valuable place to spend some time and money,” he says. The bad news, at least from a sponsor perspective, was that it was about 85 degrees and sunny in Orlando. Aubee suspects that kept at least some attendees off the show floor and enjoying the weather, especially those from colder climates. But who can blame them?
All Done Kicking The Unified Communications Tires
While the weather may have kept the show floor from getting overcrowded, Aubee sensed a different attitude in the attendees he talked with. “Instead of people kicking tires they were saying, ‘I have this problem, can you help me?’” he says. “For the first two years, we had a lot of people asking ‘what is unified communications‘ and ‘does it have any value’. Now they’ve gotten to a point where they know what it means to their business and they are either ready to trial it or are in the middle of trials.”
Bye, Bye Blackberry
Three years ago, when a customer talked about UC, they meant sending emails and forwarding phones to “500 field guys with Blackberries, that was the unified client.” Fast forward to 2012: the Blackberry is all but gone, the talk is of virtual desktops and advanced information sharing, and everybody has Androids and iPhones. But customers are struggling to manage devices they don’t own and are concerned about security and how to deliver on the promise of desktop virtualization to all these devices.
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“They came in with very pointed issues,” Aubee says. “We have this list of technologies and these problems. How can we pull together a cohesive solution that avoids building tech silos and meets our business requirements?”
Hot Tech Talk
In terms of which technologies were hot, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) was certainly one, he says, noting it dovetails into the whole bring your own device (BYOD) and mobile security discussion. “Everyone is comfortable with server virtualization, but want to know how to use VDI to help secure these other devices that are coming to market,” Aubee says. “Do we support a custom tablet app or do we VDI enable what we have and just push it out and control it that way?” He expects to see a lot of action in this area in the next year.
Video was likewise hot, as attendees are now seeing the value in visual communications – this after 4 or 5 false starts over the years. “It has to do with the move to remote workforces,” he says. “How do I have a team meeting when I’ve got nine guys who are hundreds of miles apart? How do I have what feels like a true team when all these guys are like voices in a box?” With improvements in video codec technology and the ability to control bandwidth use over wide-area networks, now companies are seeing video as truly useful, he says.
If you were at Enterprise Connect, let us know what you thought were the highlights of the show in the comments below. And if you have any follow-up questions, feel free to contact us.