MetaswitchForum 10 - Quick Thoughts

Lots to digest here at the 10th Metaswitch Forum, and I just have a window to share some highlights. If you need any back story on the event, my preview post from last week is a good place to start, including the essay I wrote that was featured in their show guide.

The event has been great, and Metaswitch is definitely focused on where technology is going. They're actually pretty far ahead of where their core customers are at today, but as a whole, these operators seem up for the challenge. You may be surprised at how receptive they are to what's coming, especially NFV and SDN, and if Metaswitch can transition them along this path, they'll be far better prepared for the world of OTT and Web-based services.

I should also note they've added a lot of video-based content on their website, so if you weren't here, this is a great way to get a flavor of the event. Some of the video is related to their roadmap and session recaps, but there are also tidbits of the fun and creative video pieces that make this a unique event.

Enough said, and before I have to get on my way, here's a quick summary of my thoughts and pix:

 Larry Lisser of Embrase talking about go-to-market approaches for SMBs with hosted services during Monday's precon session.
CTO Martin Taylor talking about his skiing mishap, but then much more cogently about how NFV and SDN are shaping the future for telecom networks. To get his chapter and verse, you shoud read his white paper, which formed the basis of his presentation.
Futurist/TV host/digital provocateur on steriods Jason Silva saturating us with rapid-fire ideas about the power and possibilities of technology. Or, as he says, "shots of philosophical espresso". Pretty mind-numbing and for every idea you retain, about 20 more zip by, out of reach, but definitely by design. A lot of showmanship going on here, but also a lot to think about and take inspiration from. I'll show my own example in the last photo below. Jason Silva was new to me, and to get a taste for his OTT intensity, here's a good starting point.
Keeping on the "brains of the network" theme, IBM Fellow Rob High adds more food for thought. Very engaging but practical session on how the Watson project is evolving into a powerful cognitive system that emulates human learning. We know how good Watson is at Jeopardy, but he gave us more meaningful examples with how it can truly enhance our capabilities in medical research, the contact center, and even in the kitchen. Great stuff - who knew that cherries and mushrooms would go so well in a quiche?
Kelsyn Rooks of Metaswitch talking through pilots they're developing to make the home phone sexy again. You may laugh or roll your eyes, but for their customers, there's a lot of potential here to help carriers reclaim the home phone business. As Kelsyn rightly noted, for older customers, the landline is their social network, and remains their preferred way to communicate. He gave great examples of features catering to aging parents - not just in the home, but in private care facilities. Another opportunity he sees is using the Accession platform to make it easier for families to communicate on their mobile devices. Sounds pretty basic, but that's what drives this market, and it really shows how well Metaswitch pays attention to the needs of their customers.
To finish up, Jason Silva cited a quote from philosopher Isaiah Berlin that stuck with me - "to understand is to perceive patterns". That's how I see the world, and I liked how Jason talked about how man-made patterns often mimic the forms that nature takes. Like, when flying and you look down at cities - how the patterns look like motherboards - that sort of thing.

Well, I'm not Jason Silva, but hey, I can do this stuff too. What do you see in this picture?
If you were here, you'd recognize this giant lattice from the towering atrium here at the Hyatt Regency hotel. It's very cool by itself, but look closely - look beyond the latticework. See anything?

Again, if you've been here, you should get it. Looking outside, that's the landmark Greater New Orleans Bridge that spans the Mississippi River. If you can view this in a large enough screen, notice how the triangle patterns of the bridge fit snugly within the lattice pattern. Neat, huh? Gee, imagine what I could do with a really good camera. I know.... yet another reason to move on from my BlackBerry. Oy - maybe I'll find a good deal on Bourbon Street. Thanks again, Metaswtich - great as always!