Know Your Alternatives Conference

Yesterday, I participated in the 3rd Know Your Alternatives event, which took place in downtown Toronto. I've written about the conference before, and attended last year as well. There just aren't many telecom events in Canada outside of the Canadian Telecom Summit, but that's a very different type of event.
This one is on a much smaller scale, but with many familiar faces. IT consultant Emily Nielsen runs the event, and hats off to her and team for doing such a good job and providing a forum for buyers and sellers to meet and maybe do some business.
In short, UC is gaining traction in Canada, but the market lags the U.S. for a few reasons. There's the oft-cited conservative nature of businesses here, and there is truth to that. We also have a less competition on the carrier front, and this tends to keep TDM going strong, with slow takeup for SIP trunking.
Over the course of the day, the sessions were focused on educating the market about the various aspects of UC, along with how various trends are making life harder for IT decision makers. There wasn't much about social media, but we heard lots about desktop video, BYOD, the cloud, multimedia in the contact center, mobile customer care, etc. For a one-day event, we covered a lot of ground, and hopefully IT attendees came away better prepared for the "alternatives" that KYA is trying to get across to the market.
Host Emily Nielsen welcoming the audience (apologies, lighting wasn't great for my smartphone camera)

Executive leadership panel, with Ross Pellizzari of Avaya, Rick Otway of Cisco, Tom Lang of Mitel, Kevin Gavin of ShoreTel, and Emily Nielsen as moderator

Our "Why VoIP Now?" session, with Emily and myself (photo courtesy of Rob Gowans)