Enterprise Connect 2017: Conference Sessions Preview


Enterprise Connect 2017 is here. It’s going to be a busy week with tons of great sessions and an entire new track on persistent team messaging.

I have my calendar for conference sessions locked down and I’m very excited to attend and share what I learn. I had to make some tough choices, as many sessions conflict or overlap, but in the end I am going to enjoy a nice selection of topics.

With that in mind, here is what I hope and expect to hear at each session. Keep in mind, this doesn’t cover everything, just the sessions I plan on attending.


The Keynotes

Cisco Keynote
Jens Meggers, PhD | Sr. Vice President and General Manager Cloud Collaboration Technology Group, Cisco

The new Spark Board has everyone talking. Rarely has a new offering from one of our industry giants received so much immediate positivity from the analyst community. As I previously wrote, what I like most about this new offering is that it is really an extension of the Spark experience. The Spark Board workflow is simply the Spark workflow. I’m hoping Jens will be able to share how early users are taking to the Spark Board, and what the next big step will be for the Spark platform.

Twilio Keynote
Jeff Lawson | Founder, CEO & Chairman, Twilio

Twilio is one of those companies that I always feel I should understand a bit better. I see them as the “Intel Inside” that powers a lot of our web based apps. I want to learn a little bit more about their technology and strategy, as well as why their partners choose to leverage their platform, rather than develop their own.

Amazon Keynote
Gene Farrell | Vice President of Enterprise Applications, Amazon Web Services (AWS)

I wasn’t expecting Amazon to suddenly “chime” in to our little market, but here they are. While the initial reviews of their first offering are a bit mixed, they do have the resources to make a big play here. The question is, are they dabbling or are they here to fight?

Microsoft Keynote
Ron Markezich | Corporate Vice President, Office 365, Microsoft

Microsoft has a lot to potentially talk about. With the success of Office 365, Skype4B is now on tens of millions of enterprise desktops. The Surface Hub (despite some initial roll-out delays) is reportedly selling better than expected. Also, Microsoft continues to partner with other vendors (such as Polycom and Logitech) on Skype Room solutions. In other words, Microsoft is now definitively in our space. I’m most interested in their vision for Microsoft Teams. If persistent team messaging is going to be the future of UC, you can expect Microsoft to fight hard for its share of that market.

Google Keynote
Scott Johnston | Director for Real Time Communications, G Suite by Google Cloud

Last year I was disappointed in Google’s Keynote. As I said at the time, I felt it was a general discussion about the benefits of using collaboration software, whereas I wanted to get a better understanding of Google’s vision in the space. They have a number of tools that appear to be designed to compete with Microsoft, yet they come off as experiments and toys. Does Google have a strategy for a comprehensive platform of business tools? Hopefully this keynote will provide an answer.

Enterprise Connect 2016 Sessions

The Sessions

The Essentials of Team Collaboration Apps
Dave Michels (TalkingPointz)
Anurag Lal (Infinite Convergence), Javed Khan (Cisco), Paul Cannon (Microsoft)

This year, Enterprise Connect has added a new track to cover what we here at LDV call “persistent team messaging” solutions. This is clearly one of the hottest areas in the collaboration market. It may even be the future of UC itself. While I expect this panel to be pretty top level, and cover the basics, I am looking forward to hearing what the panel considers to be “the essentials” of these services.

Cloud Communications 2020: Will Enterprises Go to UCaaS – and Beyond?
Zeus Kerravala (ZK Research)
Greg Zweig (GENBAND), Mark Straton (BroadSoft), Matt McGinnis (8×8), Mark Bissell (Cisco), Scott Johnson (Microsoft)

The trend towards services has continued to grow over the last few years. While many companies still have a need for on-premise, self hosted, infrastructure, more and more are finding the appeal of the cloud. It seems clear to me that in the future, we will see yet more cloud, and less on-prem. Perhaps it isn’t so simple and the future of UC isn’t quite so clear. I will be attending this session to learn if there is more to this issue than I see at first glance.

Video 2020: Taking Video and “Visual Collaboration” to the Next Level
Andrew Davis (Wainhouse Research)
Michael Frendo (Polycom), David Kung (Oblong), David Martin (Nureva), Snorre Kjesbu (Cisco), Eric Yuan (Zoom US)

The business video game has changed dramatically in recent years. At one point, business video meant meeting room video, and desktop was a bit of a novelty. Today, desktop video is taking over as our default means of communication, and meeting rooms solutions are now being sold as extensions of a desktop rollout. I think this panel will be particularly interesting due to the mix of traditional business video vendors, and newer market entries.

Sponsored Session: Zoom’s CEO Eric S. Yuan and Tesla’s Director of Global IT and Infrastructure, Oscar Moncada, Discuss the Power of Video Collaboration in the Workplace
Sponsor Speakers:
Eric Yuan (Zoom Video Communications), Oscar Moncada (Tesla)

Zoom is clearly doing well and enjoying a lot of general positive attention. However, I always find use cases to be particularly enlightening. It’s one thing to hear about how Zoom users in general are finding ROI from business video, but it’s quite another to hear how a revolutionary technology company like Tesla is using video.

Integrating Video into Business Processes: The Next Stage in Medical, Retail, and Financial Services
Andrew Davis (Wainhouse Research)
Derek Frome (Twilio), Gary Blumberg (Hartford HealthCare), Warren Harmon (Mayo Clinic), Mark Hutchins (MetLife)

Taking a look at our top verticals is always worth the time. Medical, retail, and financial customers have always been leaders in business video adoption. As our technologies have become more flexible, reliable, and affordable we are finally seeing mainstream business video adoption. However, we are still seeing higher levels of activity in our key verticals. I look forward to learning what business video elements are becoming commonplace in these markets, and what new developments are being trialed as well.

Video Deployment Challenges Facing the Large Enterprise: Customers Speak Out
Ira Weinstein (Wainhouse Research)
Ross Mcelroy (BMC), Phil Ozek (Liberty Mutual), Mike Dwyer (Axis), Mark Skalman (Mayer Brown LLP)

Business video is easy these days. Everyone can just sign up for an account online and start making calls, right? Unfortunately, it isn’t so easy when dealing with the enterprise market. Higher security requirements, as well as a need for IT/AV to support and provision all accounts, means that deployment still needs to be a carefully planned rollout. I am hoping this panel will have some real specific guidelines and tips for these kinds of deployments.

Persistent Team Collaboration Spaces: The Next Videoconferencing Revolution?
Andy Nilssen (Wainhouse Research), Rahul Asave (Atlassian HipChat Data Center), Jose Pastor (RingCentral)

Yet another session in our new track on persistent team messaging. The combination of PTM and video can really round out a remote team’s communication needs. I’m wondering if the panel sees video as a necessary element of PTM, or just a nice add-on.

Enterprise Summit: Moving Communications & Collaboration Forward
Beth Schultz (Enterprise Connect/No Jitter), Robin Gareiss (Nemertes Research)
Christopher Abrams (Yum! Brands, Inc.), Martin Rose (Pinellas County, FL), Ben Schunk (Cigna), Mirril McMullen (AIG CTO)

This session promises to provide a 12 month plan for enterprise decision makers addressing the pain-points and opportunities of deploying new collaboration technologies. With so much quick change in our industry, it can be daunting to plan the next 3 months. I am looking forward to learning how to take advantage of the newest technology, while future-proofing yourself to be ready for what comes tomorrow.

What Should Your Video Cloud Strategy Be?
Andrew Davis (Wainhouse Research)
Krish Ramakrishnan (Blue Jeans Network), David Danto (DimensionData), William MacDonald (Starleaf), Dan Tanel (Pinnaca), Oded Gal (Zoom)

Not every business can simply jump into the cloud on day one. Some may need to keep certain elements on premise, while others may not have a need for everything the cloud has to offer. This panel should address when it’s right to move to the cloud, and what considerations should be made while doing so.

Team Collaboration Services: Market Landscape
Diane Myers (Infonetics Research)
Oji Udezue (Atlassian), Tony Lopresti (BroadSoft), Steve Thiessen (Cisco)

While I love to focus on the workflow of persistent team messaging solutions, there is another very important part of the story. How will the solutions be marketed and sold? While some kind of freemium offering appears to be nearly required to gain any traction, at some point vendors need to sign up premium/paid users to stay in business. I am hoping this panel can give me a better understanding of the state of the market.

Telepresence Performance on an SMB Budget: How Cutting-Edge Tech Gets You There
Andrew Davis (Wainhouse Research)
Aurangzeb Khan (Altia Systems), Casey King (Huddly), Bryan Hellard (Array Telepresence), Scott Wharton (Logitech)

While “telepresence” may not carry the same kind of buzz that it did a few years ago, the basic value proposition remains strong. We prefer a more natural, face-to-face, experience than the typical, zoomed out, meeting room view. The panelists on this session represent a group of vendors taking drastically different approaches to solving this problem. The market is looking for an answer here, and has not settled on any particular solution. This is a hot area to watch because within the next few years, I believe the market will speak and declare its preference.

Team Collaboration Apps: What’s Under the Hood?
Kevin Kieller (enableUC)
Jose Pastor (RingCentral), Jan Hickisch (Unify), Rahul Asave (Atlassian HipChat Data Center), Dan Stevenson (Microsoft)

When we talk about persistent team messaging solutions, the conversation usually starts with Slack or Spark. Slack was the one to first enjoy crazy grassroots adoption, and Spark was the first backed by a major collaboration vendor. However, other options have been out for several years and more are joining the field on a regular basis. Hipchat was early in the market, and its parent company’s recent acquisition of Trello could be a real gamechanger. I’ve used RingCentral and Unify’s solutions and found them both to be powerful with compelling differentiators. Finally, when Microsoft enters a space, everyone has to pay attention, and Microsoft Teams is no exception. This will be a great chance to hear from some of the other contenders in the space to see how they are looking to compete.

All in all, it’s going to be a very interesting show and a good reflection of how much fun our industry has suddenly become. Please stay tuned to Let’s Do Video as I will be live tweeting throughout the event, as well as providing detailed write-ups after the event is over.


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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