Smart Grid Summit - Photos

Just got time to quickly post some photos from Day 1. Got more coming for the rest of the event, along with some short video clips from the sessions. I'll also have a writeup about my thoughts on the summit for Friday, and that will run on the Smart Grid Portal.

Ernie Lewis, Verizon Business

USTelecom policy panel - Michael Oldak, UTC and Eric Batongbacal AT&T Services

Data privacy panel - Lee Tien, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Ward Pyles, Southern Company

John Yu, LA Department of Water and Power

Ishak Kang, Dot UI

Gary Sorkin, USNAP Alliance

Team Alvarion, including Dr. Mo Shakouri and Eedo Lifshitz

Larry Lisser's hugely popular (and darkly lit!) Startup Bootcamp

Next Stop - LA - Smart Grid Time

Well, the Smart Grid Summit is finally here. It's been a long time since the last one, which means we've had a lot of time to get this one ready. It's ready now, and I'm flying to LA on Sunday.

If you follow my blog or my tweets, you'll know what's happening around this, and if not, it's not too late to get up to speed. Anyhow, if smart grid is on your radar, you won't be disappointed if you can join us next week at the summit. All the details are on the website, and if you can't make it, follow the tweets and check in with us on the Smart Grid portal.

Just to be sure, I'll reiterate that our summit is co-located with TMC's flagship event, the IT Expo. Now in its 11th year, I don't think you'll find a bigger or better conference anywhere in the communications space. Smart grid is very much about communications, and that's why we're there. Hope you'll be there too!

Five Reasons to be in Miami for the ITExpo

As it gets colder in Canada by the day, Miami is looking better by the minute. Weather, beach and Latin music aside, it's time to start thinking about why TMC's ITExpo is the place to be later this month for all things related to communications. Here are my fave five...

1. The ITExpo. Having cracked the 10 year barrier, TMC's flagship event has become a cornerstone of our market, especially for anyone focused on enterprise and SMB communications. Many shows have come and gone in this space, and ITExpo keeps getting bigger and better. There are lots reasons to be there, and you don't have to spend much time at the show's website to see why. Digium/Asterisk World is a reason all by itself, but there's much, much more to see and do. If you can only look at one quick link, try this one - it's a great summary from Rich Tehrani about who's coming and the sessions you can see there.

2. Smart Grid Summit. Self-promotion aside, this is our second summit with TMC, and it didn't take long to expand this into a three-day program. We know we're on to something good here, and I really believe this is one of the ways that the ITExpo experience is truly different from most any other communications conference. We have keynotes from Redline Communications, Fujitsu, the Secure Smart Grid Association, and Ron Sega, a former NASA astronaut. Our agenda and roster have pretty much filled out now, sponsorship and industry support has been strong, and we've added a BOF session with the SIP Forum to talk about their new Smart Grid working group.

3. 4GWE. We have followed in the footsteps of Carl Ford and Scott Kargman to partner with TMC for a vertical event. Their wireless event has been a success from the start, and provides a lot of depth into all things LTE and 4G. Whatever stolen moments I can take from my Smart Grid duties, I'll be checking out their sessions. A sidebar to this is the M2M event, which they also put together, and is another important vertical for emerging communications technologies.

4. Cloud Communications Summit. Just as we've followed 4GWE, our good buddy Thomas Howe has followed us. He's teamed up with TMC to put this one day event together during the Expo. Tom will always be Mr. Mashup to me, but this venture will be a great showcase for something much bigger. It's one of the big trends I'm following this year, and am hoping to contribute some content that will be included with material Tom is preparing for the attendees.

5. Telephony Startup Camp. I feel like I'm building a pyramid here. One step behind Tom is Larry Lisser - another colleague I've worked with on several occasions. Larry is one of the best guys out there for working with startups and getting them to market. He also had brought a new concept to TMC, and hats off to them for running with this is as well. The economy can't suck forever, and in time, startups will get their mojo back. There are lots of reasons to believe that we'll see momentum build in 2010, and Larry has put together a mini-event to showcase a series of startups. The lineup hasn't been announced yet, but it will be series of 15 minute pitches. I don't think ITExpo has done this before, and I think it's a great way to expand their reach and give startups a new platform to show their stuff. Larry's event runs Thursday evening, and I hope to catch it after we finish up our Smart Grid sessions.

Meet the Canadians at IT Expo in Miami

Over the next few days, I'll be posting about the upcoming TMC ITExpo in Miami, running from January 20-22. It's coming up quickly now, and my hands have been very full with the Smart Grid Summit, which is co-located there. More about that on another post.

Right now I want to update you on the networking breakfast that's happening Friday morning. For those of you attending the ITExpo, I'm hosting this get-together sponsored by the governments of Ontario and Canada. I've been part of these breakfasts before, and it's a great way to network with up and coming Canadian tech startups in a relaxed environment.

I've posted about this before, and as of today, about half the available spots are taken for guests. If you'd like to attend, or review the agenda, drop me a line, and I'll send you the invite, which includes how to RSVP.

IT Expo/Smart Grid Takeaways

Between the IT Expo and our Smart Grid Summit; along with jet lag, email catchup, Labor Day and back-to-school, blogging has been limited lately. I don't blog from my BlackBerry, but I'm back at my desk now, and trying to get back in gear.

I'd venture to say that anyone who attended TMC's events last week came home happy, myself included. I'm not going to rehash the daily blog/TMC recaps, but will quickly summarize a few takeaways and highlights that stood out for me.

First was our Smart Grid Summit. By all accounts, we feel this was a successful launch - the room was full, it stayed full throughout the day, the panels were lively, the speakers were great, the audience was engaged, and I think the sponsors were pleased. I posted about it briefly last week, and we're already in planning mode for an expanded Summit at the Miami Expo in January.

For some objective analysis, here's a nice wrapup piece by noted IT/tech writer, David Greenfield, which ran on the Ziff Davis Smarter Technologies portal. And if you follow David on Twitter, you'll know he was tweeting throughout the whole day. Thanks Dave! And of course, a big thank you to all the people at TMC who worked hard to make the event happen, and to have faith to partner with us with such a short timeline.

I'll be posting more Summit highlights as they come, including the video interviews both Shidan and myself did with various speakers. Here are some photos of the sessions - Demand Response, and Security...

Tuesday was all Smart Grid, but for the rest of the Expo, I was wearing my JAA analyst hat. I moderated two sessions - one on SMB IP telephony, and one about bringing voice and Web 2.0 together. Both panels were well attended, and the speakers were very good. One of the speakers (seated, far right in first photo) just sent me a video clip that an audience member (Suzanne Bowen - thanks!) made of his presentation - Kevin Corson of HBN Inc. Hah! You never know when/where things like this will turn up - here's the YouTube link.

One quick shout-out to add for another speaker - Bill Bumbernick of Alteva (speaking in first photo). Here's something cool. I've been a fan of Alteva for a while, and they're part of a competition called Shine A Light, co-sponsored by American Express and NBC. The idea is to spotlight promising businesses, and the top 3 submissions share in some nice cash prizes and marketing support. It's a pretty neat idea, and nominations are open until September 13. If you want to support our space, I'd urge you to check Alteva out for yourself, and if you like what you see, you can endorse them here.

Quickly, a few other highlights and items of note from last week...

- Terry Matthews gave a great keynote on entrepreneurship - pretty inspiring, not just for attendees, but TMC and conferences in general. Hopefully we're on the right track here with Smart Grid.

- the show floor was solidly busy from what I saw - it's always tough to balance time between the exhibitors and speakers, but it worked out pretty well on both ends

- Carl and Scott's 4GWE event looked quite good from what I saw. They were running sessions in 2 rooms, including the M2M tracks, which had some nice overlap with our content. I liked the fact that they were videotaping the sessions - we'll consider that for the next summit.

- Some familiar companies came away with Best of Show recognition, namely Voxox (Telecentris), TelcoBridges, Airespring, Interactive Intelligence, Ooma, Intelepeer, 8x8, AudioCodes, BrightCom and ShoreTel. Overall, many of these companies point to continued vitality in voice applications, along with the growing trend toward collaboration. On the voice front, media/VoIP gateways are becoming more intelligent to support today's applications, as demonstrated last week by TelcoBridges, AudioCodes and Dialogic. In terms of collaboration,some of this is about UC, but some is just using one or two tools to be more productive working with others. I'll be writing more about these themes soon, as I'm working with some up and coming companies doing interesting things here.

- Finally, many of these thoughts were shared by Andy Abramson, and I'll steer you to his podcast wrapup of the Expo here. It's a nice change from regular blog posts, and Andy probably saw much more of the Expo than me. No mention of Andy and the Expo would be complete without a big thank-you for hosting yet another great industry dinner last week. This was the biggest gathering I've seen yet - almost 40 people - and it was especially nice to have Terry Matthews join us. If you enjoyed seeing his keynote, he was even better in tight company, and he has a great sense of humor. Great job, Andy and Comunicano crew!