UC Summit 2014 - Highlights and 7 Takeaways

We've completed the second full day here at UC Summit 2014 in La Jolla, and the final segment is underway this morning. This is my third summit, and it's clear that there's a great balance here between vendors and channels - with the analysts and consultants in the middle to keep everyone honest. The ground rules are clear, and this format seems to be working. The roster of vendors is solid, and this year there are new faces like Logitech and Nectar, which speaks to how the UC ecosystem is evolving.

The content has been solid, with a mix of perspectives from both vendors and our tribes, and any channel attendee I've talked to feels this is a great forum for learning and sharpening their business focus. I'm not going to rehash the panel sessions - after all, this is what the channels are here for. However, in addition to posting some photos of the sessions, I'll share seven high-level takeaways:

- Telephony is definitely dead, at least on the desk - IP PBX has been referred to here as a CLM to be supporting - career limiting move. Enough said.

- Cloud is for real and getting better. Complexity isn't going away, and the harder it becomes for IT to manage what UC is turning into, the more sense the cloud makes. Not many are quite ready yet for a full migration, though, and the hybrid model is the leading preference for now.

- Adoption for mobile UC applications isn't happening much, so until further notice, the desktop rules. End users don't think of these devices as vehicles for UC - simultaneous ring is more what they're looking for.

- We saw some pretty comprehensive tools for measuring CEBP and productivity, and they're getting better all the time. This is a key development, not just for helping businesses make the case for UC to management, but also for where and how the channels can make money.

- The expected showdown between Cisco and Microsoft is pretty much here. We saw current survey data showing how Lync has leapfrogged Avaya, and there's no question now who the #1 and #2 UC players are, at least in North America. Oh, and by the way, Google and Skype are ranking ahead of several well-known names in the UC space, and that takes me to the next point....

- Millennials will inherit the world sooner that we think - we were told that by 2025, they'll be 75% of the workforce. They're not making the big economic decisions yet, but that's coming, and their idea of collaboration is quite different from what most of us can relate to.

- Continuing this theme of who will rule the world, Dave Michels tells us to watch out for Amazon Workspaces. It's not ready for prime-time yet, but think about the first generation versions of just about everything we live and breath with, and this won't be a big leap of faith. When the term DaaS hits your radar - desktop as a service, you'd better own Amazon stock, because they'll be well on their way to owning a big part of the collaboration space.

Jim Burton kicking things off in style - reading his notes off Google Glass - cool!
Dave Michels telling us that we're all wrong - and Michael Finneran thinking up his comeback for that
Jim Davies, Mitel CTO - telling us how Avaya is worried about Cisco, how Cisco is worried about MSFT, how MSFT is worried about Google, how Google is worried about Facebook - and how everyone is worried about Apple. Darwin would be impressed by his understanding of the UC food chain and how things are evolving.
Even on one leg, Dr. Joseph Williams is smarter than just about everyone in the room - except of course, Dave Michels
Blair Pleasant talking about the growing importance of analytics in the contact center and how difficult social media is to manage in that environment
Marty Parker, Stephen Leaden and Bill MacKay covering issues such as E911, how to sell UC's business value across the enterprise and right down to personal productivity, and why telephony has zero value today when businesses are planning their technology investments