Enterprise Connect 2016 Preview: Vendor Booths


This is the second, and final, part of our 2016 Enterprise Connect preview guide. In the first part, we looked at the keynotes and sessions. Now, we’ll preview what some of the industry’s leading vendors plan on displaying at this year’s show. There are far too many vendors to possibly cover them all. In fact, we recently posted an Enterprise Connect press release listing announcements from nearly 70 exhibitors!

While most vendors are keeping their bigger announcements under wraps, I’ve been lucky enough to attend many pre-Enterprise Connect briefings and can share some of what we should expect to see at the show. I can also provide a few hints at where to look for some surprises, based on my briefings.

We’ll do our best to hit the booths most relevant to our typical coverage here at Let’s Do Video. Be sure to check out my post-Enterprise Connect coverage for a complete wrap-up. That being said, here is some of what I hope to see, in alphabetical order.

The days of Acano having a stand-alone booth are coming to an end. By this time next year, I expect to see the Acano products, and Acano people, redressed in Cisco colors and working the Cisco booth. Typically, my goal at the Acano booth is to understand the development roadmap and plans for new features and capabilities. I’m sure there will be some of that, but I’m far more interested in learning how they are working to bring their technology into the Cisco portfolio. For more of my thoughts how this may come about, please check out my article on the acquisition (one of my most heavily trafficked articles in all of 2015).

Blue Jeans
The godfather of cloud interop started out 2015 with a burst of new features and capabilities. I was a big fan of their Primetime offering in particular. In H2 things got a little quieter and I suspected they were hunkered down in development mode getting ready for 2106. Recent briefings have confirmed this to be the case and I expect to see multiple announcements and releases throughout the first half of 2016, starting with this show.

The buzz among the analyst community is already starting about CafeX’s new Chime offering. I recently briefed with them and put it in the “sounds too good to be true” category. Remember the promise of WebRTC? These guys claim to be able to deliver on that promise with true, download/plugin free browser-based videoconferencing on EVERY browser. Yes, even Internet Explorer and Safari! In addition, they have a unique way of directing video traffic which is theoretically far more efficient than the typical call routing methodology.

I expect to see Spark running on multiple stations as well as Spark phones and Spark-enabled endpoints. I wouldn’t be surprised if they offer Spark flavored coffee in Spark connected coffee mugs. Obviously, I’ll be interested in seeing if they have any updates to their hardware products, but my real goal is to get insight into their strategy for future consolidation among their three software video products. I understand how WebEX, Jabber, and Spark each currently serve a different need, but I see a future where one software video product serves all needs. For more thoughts on Spark, please check out my recent article where I match Spark up against Slack for meeting with externals.

Enterprise Connect Crowd

ThinkingPhones recently purchased Fuze, then renamed itself Fuze, making it clear they are positioning themselves as a collaboration company rather than a phone company with a video offering. I’ve always thought Fuze had a lot of potential. It’s powered by Vidyo for great quality and error resilience over the Internet, and has a nice suite of collaboration features. But it seemed to sit on the fence between being an enterprise and consumer product. It recently picked its fate, going all in on enterprise. In fact, it’s killed its freemium model, notifying free users that their accounts will be terminated in upcoming months. A very bold strategy, but will it pay off?

I recently reported on Logitech’s new GROUP system and its stunning success in the room video market. I expected that Enterprise Connect would simply offer me a chance to get my hands on the GROUP, but a briefing with the Logitech team this week has changed everything. While the details are NDA, I can say that Logitech is working up some really big surprises for the video community in 2016. It sounds a bit hyperbolic, but check out my post Enterprise Connect article with the full details and see if I am exaggerating or not. These are big, potentially game-changing moves.

All eyes are on Pexip after Acano was crossed of the list of “anyone but Cisco” platforms. Pexip is notable for developing their platform at a fierce pace. Last year at Enterprise Connect, their CEO himself was having trouble keeping track of all their latest new features and they haven’t slowed down a bit. I’ll do my best to wrap my head around their latest developments and I’ll probe the swirling rumors around their potential for getting purchased in 2016.

Last year I was privileged to attend Polycom’s big release of their new products at their headquarters in New York. Please check out my extensive article for my detailed thoughts on the RealPresence Trio, the RealPresence Debut, and the RealPresence Centro. In addition to confirming my predictions on these hardware products, I hope to do a better job of understanding their new cloud story.

I’ve been a fan of the Revolabs series of wireless mics and speakerphones for some time. I particularly like the fact that the Revolabs team is very focused on the videoconferencing environment and designs their products with a video dynamic in mind. I look forward to getting a close look at their latest line of products.

I generally think of Sennheiser as an audiophile’s company due to their premium music and gaming headphones. My musician friends swear by them. They do have a full range of business headsets and I look forward to checking out the latest generation at the show.

The leader in interactive whiteboards reinvented themselves in recent years by making things much simpler. Their traditional SMART boards are amazing, but required an expert user to really make them shine. The new SMART kapp line took things in the opposite direction, requiring no expertise. In fact, for the most part they act like a traditional analog whiteboard, with the basic model even using real ink markers, but with the ability to capture and share drawn content in real time via the cloud. At Enterprise Connect, they’ll be showing the latest addition to the kapp line. The question I have is how well they have balanced the need to add more bells and whistles with keeping things as simple as possible.

Enterprise Connect Cisco Booth

What started as a living room videoconferencing solution found itself being installed in meeting rooms. It’s rarely a good idea to try and tell your customers that they are wrong, so Tely reinvented itself as a true meeting room solution with deep integration into many of today’s leading cloud solutions, as well as business class IT manageability. Their product makes sense, and its manageability makes it deployable at scale. The only question is whether the market will hear the message and understand that they are no longer the living room video solution and have become truly enterprise-ready.

The USB camera market is getting very hot, and starting to get a little crowded as well. The Vaddio booth is usually a good time as they generally have a lot of colorful fun display pieces (or even performers) to focus their many cameras on. I hope to learn how they plan to stand out among the increasing competition, and to learn about their other offerings, such as their new PCC Premiere Camera Controller, which rounds out their suite of products.

The VDO360 Clearwater PTZPC videoconferencing solution is an elegant all-in-one meeting room solution. The VDO360 cameras have been very popular for easy DIY installations. All they needed was a laptop or PC to run the actual video software. The VDO360 team decided to make things that much easier for their customers by combining their camera with an Intel Nuc. Please see my first take on the concept in this previous article. I look forward to making some calls on the Clearwater myself, and chatting with the team about deployment examples and customer feedback.

Put this one in the “about time” file, Vidyo has a cloud videoconferencing service! From the early days of Vidyo, I thought this was an inevitability. In the days of hardware infrastructure, Vidyo changed the game with their software-based solution. Unfortunately, the market was still stuck in the pay-per-port model and not ready for a true cloud solution. Now, the market is clearly ready, and so is Vidyo. They aren’t new to the cloud hosting game by any means. In fact, they have been managing their customers’ private clouds for years. They have the expertise and manpower already in place to offer their own cloud. They also are announcing their new platform as a service offering, for developers looking to incorporate Vidyo technology into their own solutions.

This global UC endpoint provider has been making quite a bit of noise in our space recently. The sweet spot for their video collaboration endpoints appears to be the SMB market. With high quality endpoints that support 8-way multipoint without an external bridge, they provide a stepping stone into the world of video without requiring any infrastructure or hosted services.

Zoom was originally perceived as a consumer, SMB, and EDU tool, due to its affordable licensing model and incredibly intuitive and user friendly UI. However, they’ve been working hard to compete in the enterprise market and with a good deal of success. One tool they have used to wedge their way into the enterprise is their Zoom Room offering. The Zoom Room takes all the winning characteristics of the Zoom software and wraps it up into a meeting room video offering. At Enterprise Connect they will be showing the next stage of this solution with Zoom Rooms for Touch, allowing for team collaboration on touchscreens. I can’t wait to literally get my hands on it.


About Author

David Maldow is the Founder & CEO of Let's Do Video and has been covering the visual collaboration industry, and related technologies, for over a decade. His background includes 5 years at Wainhouse Research, where he managed the Video Test Lab and evaluated many of the leading solutions at the time. David has authored hundreds of articles and thought pieces both at Telepresence Options, where he was managing partner for several years, as well as here at Let's Do Video. David often speaks at industry events and webinars as well as hosting the LDV Video Podcast.

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