Report from Enterprise Connect 2016:

The world’s premier event for enterprise communications has started. In a short series of blog posts I will share some of the highlights with you and probably also the Konftel view of things being discussed.

The really big players like Cisco, Microsoft and Avaya, gathered in a panel to discuss “the Path to UC”. I wasn’t there to hear it live, but Cisco Rowan Trollope set the scene with declaring that unified communications is an outdated term and an old concept. “UC feels like a thing of the past.”

It is true that integrating with a best-of-breed approach to create a communication platform for the enterprise, is falling back. Zig Serafin, head of Skype for Business at Microsoft, put it this way: “Enterprises are thinking about it as one platform, one communications system that changes how people think about connecting with each other, without having to put us vendors in the middle of stitching things together.”

Analysts Peter Hale from MZA and Tim Banting from Current Analysis pointed to the best-of-suite approach as a key driver on the UC Market and the reason behind a number of recent acquisitions. The companies coming in from messaging and content sharing are adding real time communications and the voice and video players add the team collaboration features to be able to offer a complete solution.

“I think this is an answer to the shadow IT phenomenon, that customers go behind the back of the IT department and buy the service that they need. And they want it all included, without hassle,” said Peter Hale.

From my perspective, it is important and encouraging to note that all the services and solutions being discussed have voice and conferencing as central features. That also gives audio quality in meetings a high priority.

Conferencing also turned out to be a theme in panel discussion about Your Next Endpoint Deployment, even though it wasn’t included in the session description. Jan Hickisch from Unify argued that smartphones and tablets are now the first choice for many users. “But when they enter the conference room, the mobile isn’t sufficient. There you need a dedicated device.”

Jack Jachner from Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise described a future scenario: “Everyone has a smartphone and could get access to richer functionality through an app. So when the user enters the conference or huddle room, all they need to do is to tap the device on the table with the mobile for NFC assisted connection and move the call with a simple push on a button.”

That sounds like great idea! There will be more to come on that.

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