Supercomm Wrapup

Just a quick post to say that my walk-about day at Supercomm was pretty good. Lots of good meetings and briefings, although I can't say I saw anything really ground-breaking. Lots of big name exhibitors, but unless I missed something, I didn't see Cisco or Microsoft. I know the audience is service provider focused, and the legacy vendors were certainly there, even Nortel - although am not sure if I saw Alcatel Lucent.

Anyhow, if there was one takeaway of note for me, it was the strong presence of Asian companies, especially Huawei, Fujitsu, Samsung and Hitachi. Am sure there were others, and I did pass by a Korean pavilion a few times as well. A lot of talk here about how Huawei is making strides, and it's hard to ignore them given all the resources at their disposal. Enough for now - time to get to the airport.

Ibrahim Gedeon - Telus CTO, at a press/analyst reception they hosted at the end of the day

Supercomm - Night 1 - House of Blues

Following my Forrest Gump happenstance wrong turn into Gazastan, Chicago-style, I ended up at the House of Blues for a couple of Supercomm parties. Downstairs was sponsored by my Metaswitch (note the new spelling!), one of the companies I've been close to for a long time; and upstairs was sponsored by Adtran. I enjoyed both for different reasons, and it was great to see so many people out in one spot having such a good time. Haven't really enjoyed live music this much at an industry event since the VON days, and I'm sure many of you will would feel the same way. So, a big thanks to both Metaswitch and Adtran for hosting great parties and picking a great venue.

Downstairs - local blues band, who were pretty good, but I didn't catch their name. Here's what made this really fun for me. When I walked in, they were playing Five Long Years, a Chicago blues classic. Guess what - that was the same song we played at the Interactive Intelligence Battle of the Bands event a couple of weeks ago! How's that for good timing? I was part of an ad hoc band I dubbed the Dead Circuits, and with a tiny bit more rehearsal, we would have sounded just as good! What also made this moment fun was seeing the vocals on Five Long Years being done by Neil Holcomb of Metaswitch - second on the left.

The hostess with the mostess - Metaswitch's Elaine Perez...

Upstairs at Adtran's party - much bigger room and a much bigger band. This band was really great too, and they knew how get people on the dance floor. For those of you who can remember back to VON's heyday, you'll enjoy this post from one of Jeff's great House of Blues parties (when the show was called Globalcomm), featuring the-greatest-cover-band-on-the-planet, the Herding Cats.

Supercomm - Day 1/Life's Twists and Turns

I arrived earlier today for Supercomm and moderated a session on telepresence this afternoon. It was quite well attended, and our panel was in good hands with Lee Himbeault from Telus, Mark Weidick from Cisco and Phillipe Millet from Orange (and the i3 Forum). We were pleasantly surprised to find that only a handful of people in the audience had experienced telepresence, so we had lots to talk about.

Aside from that, I kept running into people all afternoon and didn't get a chance to see any sessions or walk the exhibit hall, but I'll do that tomorrow. Most of the impressions so far though, have been that the show is much smaller than the past. I'll just have to see for myself tomorrow, and will let you know.

Thought I'd share a quick slice of life from my trip back to the hotel. Sometimes things happen without rhyme or reason, but something interesting always seems to come from it. Inexplicably, I got on the wrong shuttle bus, but got dropped not that far from my hotel. As soon as I stepped off the bus at the front of the Hyatt Hotel, there was a pretty vocal anti-Israel demonstration with both sides separated by barricades and lots of police watching closely. The pro-Palestinians were far greater in number, and there were a handful of Israel supporters on the other side, which is where I quickly gravitated.

The ignorance, hostility, racism was really hard to watch, especially since most of the pro Palestinians looked American - and even more sinister seeing them wrapped in the Palestinian flag, wearing the black and white headscarfs, and carrying some pretty nasty placards. To give you a taste, this was typical of what they were chanting in unison, camp sing-along style: "Hey there Israel, what do you say? How many children did you kill today?" Ugh.

Y'know, I saw Inglorious Basterds with my 13 year old son recently, and came away feeling a bit uncomfortable, but still pretty good about the film. It's a perverse form of Jewish pride (but everything Tarrantino does is a bit perverse - that's another topic altogether), but after seeing this ugly display of brainwashed hate masquerading as some form of legitimate protest, I don't feel the least bit queasy.

I just felt bad that the pro-Israel side was so outnumbered, and I hope it ended peacefully. When I heard a white woman from their side scream "go back to Europe", I wasn't so sure, but the police presence was pretty strong. Wow.

Freedom of speech is what makes democracy special, and these people obviously have no idea how good they have it here. Just try to open your mouth in Gaza and see what happens. I'd better stop - I know protests like this happen all the time, but to see it up close like this kinda sticks with you and makes you wonder what makes people think like this. Anyhow, I've posted a few photos and you can draw your own conclusions.

I'll be back tomorrow with Day 2 of Supercomm.

I know I got on the wrong bus, but am I really still in Chicago???

"Olmert's A Whore" - nice t-shirt, buddy...

Not sure why there were so few supporting Israel, but I was glad to stand with them. Makes you wonder, though, when these Israel-bashers organize protests like this and basically nobody is listening, you'd think they'd wonder if maybe their message needs a re-think. I highly doubt it - hate trumps reason every time.

Let's end on a positive note. As big cities go, it doesn't get much better than Chicago, and the Wrigley Building is just so cool, especially lit up like this.

Next Stop - Chicago and Supercomm

October is a busy month for me, and next week I'll be in Chicago for part of Supercomm. I haven't been to this event recently, and it's gone through a few iterations, but I'm looking forward to being there.

My main involvement will be moderating a panel on telepresence, and I'll be joined by Telus, Cisco and Orange/i3 Forum. With this mix, the focus will be more carrier-centric, which is a nice change from TP sessions that are typically built around the end users.

I can't seem to find a direct link to the session on their website, so if you want to learn more, the easiest way is via this link on my website, where I explain how to find it. In short, the session is on Wednesday at 4:05, Room W183C. Hope to see you there.

Otherwise, I'll be there through Thursday, and plan to spend that day in meetings, walking the floor, catching up with people, and if I'm lucky actually seeing some sessions or speakers!