Cisco Plus Event, Toronto

It's very rare for me to have back-to-back local events, but that's what's happening this week. Yesterday I attended Cisco Plus Canada 2012 here in Toronto. As Canadian telecom events go, it's pretty big, and Cisco is one of the few vendors up here who could draw a crowd like this. It's an annual showcase of all things Cisco, primarily for IT buyers, and it sure looked like all-hands-on-deck for Cisco Canada - they were everywhere.

Lots of traffic and a healthy exhibitor space filled with key partners of all kinds. The big telcos were there - Bell, TELUS and Allstream - of course - along with a good mix of vendors, integrators and technology partners, such as Dimension Data, Exony, Flexity Solutions, CBCI Telecom and Esnatech. Adjacent to the show floor was an overwhelming mix of Cisco presentations, with in-depth sessions on every variation of collaboration imaginable. I sat in on several, and while the content was geared towards buyers, I found the quality high and the audiences pretty attendant.

The highlight for me was the TELUS demo bus outside. I've seen this before with both NSN and Ericsson - it's an impressive way to take your story on the road. What I liked most about the TELUS bus was the overall concept. This is really their Trojan Horse to win business from Bell on their home turf in Quebec. The bus is all done up in French and goes around Quebec to showcase all this cool technology. I think it's a great strategy, not just for getting business there, but also to evangelize collaboration. SMBs aren't generally the most tech-savvy, so instead of waiting for them to discover it, why not bring the technology to them? Good plan. Oh, and if you think this was also a clever ploy to divert attention from the event host, I'll keep them happy by noting that most of the gear on display inside the bus is Cisco (and Tandberg). Check out the photos below!