ITExpo Miami - Quick Hits

Once things get going here at ITExpo, it's hard to know when I'll get time to blog, so am just doing a quick check-in now.

Yesterday was the first full day, and I took in a solid mix of keynotes and panel sessions. We heard first from Guvinder Ahluwalia from IBM, talking about where the cloud is going, and how distruptors like Uber are developing new business models based on shifting physical assets into the cloud-based digital world where they become much more liquid. As much as I'm not a fan of Uber's tactics, every industry is ripe for re-invention when the Internet of Things and the cloud become the drivers (no pun intended!)

Next up was Mitel CEO Rich McBee, and he provided a nice overview of how techology diffusion is a long process. We take it for granted when new things gain rapid adoption, but that's more the exception that the rule. His main point is that UC remains a work in progress, and TDM will be with us for years to come, so success requires solutions that work across new and old technologies. He also gave his 10 predictions for UC, and at the core of things, he contends that voice quality is still a big deal. I agree, and it shows that after all these years of innovation with IP communications, this basic need has still not been perfected.

Moving along, we next had a great one-off panel to celebrate 20 years of VoIP. I don't know the next time you'll see all these people in one place, but it was pretty special to pull this together, so kudos to Rich Tehrani, Andy Abramson and others who made this happen.

There's lots to say about what they talked about, and I prepared my thoughts for my current contribution to the UCStrategies portal. It's running now, and if you have a warm spot for VoIP, or want to know what some pretty smart people think about innovation, I hope you'll read my post.

Another highlight from yesterday was the Net Neutrality panel, and we heard again from many of the above speakers. There is a lot at stake here as it affects all of us - not just in the communications space, but as consumers too.  Am glad the topic was covered at the conference, and I wish it would get more attention at every event out there.

Otherwise, the show floor opened at 5, and it was the usual rush to the bar and then a walkabout to check out the exhibitors. Great energy out there, and a pretty healthy mix of vendors from across the whole telecom ecosystem. If there's one theme that stands out, it's M2M, and those exhibitors were getting plenty of traffic.

I've also been taking my share of briefings, and am moderating panels today and tomorrow, so it's constant motion. I'll try to blog again before the show ends, and otherwise, feel free to follow my tweets - @arnoldjon.

ITExpo Panel Update - Customer Experience and Telco 2.0

Just wanted to give you the latest info on my second panel at ITExpo, starting tomorrow in Miami.

We've added another speakers now. Joining myself and Rene Sotola from CGI, will be Hugh Goldstein from Voxbone.

Earlier today I posted about another speaker being added, but she has since switched out to speak on another panel. I'll post again if we end up adding a third speaker.

We'll be in Room B213 at 10am Friday, and hope to see you there. For more detail about our session and the conference program overall, here's the agenda.

Omni-Channel Contact Centers - my Current TMC Column

I've been writing a monthly column for some time for TMCnet, and under the banner Rethinking Communications, I address a wide range of trends that are shaping today's comms landscape. My columns usually run in their flagship pub, Internet Telephony, but given the focus, this one is running now in Customer magazine.

Omni-channel sounds big and complicated, and it actually is. This doesn't mean, however, you should ignore it, as the upside for improving the customer experience is pretty exciting. The best place to start is at the beginning, and my article breaks down the concept and explains what got us to omni-channel. I hope you find it a good starting point for this topic, and here's a direct link to the post.

ITExpo Preview #1 - Ontario Pavilion Briefing

TMC's ITExpo East is now less than two weeks away, and it's time to start talking things up. Am sure you're getting regular updates on the keynotes and sub-events, and it looks like they've settled into a good thing with the Miami Beach venue. The size is about right - although it might feel crowded if the event gets much bigger - and nobody is complaining about going to South Beach in late January. We survived the Ice Storm here in Toronto, so the change in scene will be very welcome!

I'll be moderating some sessions and participating in Editor's Day, and posts are coming with more details. Thought I'd start this series off talking up what the government of Ontario is doing with their trade mission to the Expo. They're returning to the show with their Ontario Pavilion, located in booth #815. I've been involved with this initiative at previous Expos, and the idea is to showcase Ontario companies in our space. Like any trade mission, it's an economical way for these companies to get direct exposure to new markets, and a chance for attendees to see what Ontario has to offer.

At present, the delegation consists of eight companies: Advance Software Concepts, Cloud Dynamics, Excelocity, In-Touch Insight Systems, Myplanet Digital, Phybridge, SVK Software, and Telax. They're all doing interesting things, and will be on hand there throughout the show.

Aside from that, the pavilion is hosting a market briefing and meet-and-greet at the booth on Friday, from 10-11am. I'll be providing an informal briefing about market trends and opportunities that these companies are addressing, and a delegate from the Canadian Consulate in Miami will be on hand. So, if you want to see the latest and greatest coming from Ontario, please join us.

I'll also be particpating in a VIP breakfast being hosted by the Ontario government, plus there's a general reception from 2-4pm on Thursday at the booth, which has been well attended in the past. See you there - go Canada!

IT Expo 2014, Miami - Be There?

Happy 2014!

It's about 100 below today in Toronto, and even more than usual, I'm looking forward to the next ITExpo in sunny Miami Beach, starting January 28.

Aside from the frigid weather we're getting now, Toronto just came through an unprecedented ice storm that left over 300,000 people without power. Our house was without power for 9 days, and my business had no connectivity for 8 days. We're back to normal now, but it was pretty disruptive, and it's time to get back to work.

To get the year started - and resume blogging - I'm doing a quick shout-out for the ITExpo, an event I've been actively supporting for many years. The show continues to evolve and is doing a great job keeping up with the latest trends, including WebRTC, cloud, SDN and UC. They've also added some new tracks (co-located events, actually), such as visual collaboration and "SmartVoice". In short, it's great see some cutting edge focus on voice and video - really, the core building blocks for UC - and for the latter, you won't want to miss comms guru Martin Geddes, who's keynoting Tuesday morning. That should be a real treat.

I'll have more updates on the show, as well as details about the four sessions I'm moderating. If you're feeling the weather the way I am, you shouldn't need much prodding to make plans to join us!