InfoComm offers an incredible range of educational and conference options. With everything from CTS testing and certification, to the digital signage summit, to InfoComm University, to a new session track covering drones, there is no shortage of learning and networking opportunities.
Of course, I will be sticking pretty close to the “Solutions Summit: UCC” sessions which focus on our little slice of the AV pie (although I do hope to get a chance to play with some drones).
The UCC Summit is presented by the IMCCA, a non-profit industry association with a long history of InfoComm successes. This year’s UCC track looks very exciting. I know the team at IMCCA has worked extremely hard this year to put together a good program, and I am particularly pleased to be once again participating on one of the panels. While there are far too many sessions to fully cover here, I would like to at least share some quick thoughts on them, and why I am personally looking forward to attending them. Please note, the session information below will be updated with speaker information as soon as it becomes available.
On June 16th, the IMCCA is hosting a full day UCC workshop consisting of five separate sessions, starting with an overview. UCC is a pretty controversial subject, even something so simple as the definition of the term can turn into a very lively discussion. The next session is an end user panel discussion, which is a can’t-miss. After all, at the end of the day it’s all about the users. I always love to hear how their implementation stories match up (or not) to what I hear day in and out from the vendors. The end users are followed by an expert commentary session, where I get to hear how the opinions of my fellow analysts have evolved (or not) based upon recent developments. The next session is another treat from the end users, as we will hear detailed case studies of actual deployment and adoption processes. In our industry, almost nothing is as valuable as learning about some of the headaches, and successes that happen in the real world with their products and technologies. The day wraps up with a summary session, where any unanswered questions from the course of the day should be addressed.
Wednesday offers four very interesting sessions, as well as a “lunch and learn” where industry experts will discuss a wide range of relevant topics. The first two sessions address IT/AV convergence and the BYOD revolution. I believe both of these are very important topics and relevant trends we’re seeing in the industry. The afternoon starts with a session on the “Workspaces of Tomorrow.” Obviously, huddle rooms are very exciting right now, but that is only part of this conversation, which includes a larger discussions about activity based meetings and work/life balance. From a meta level, I simply love the fact that vendors are now designing collaboration solutions to support the way we want to work, as opposed to recent history when we adjusted the way we work so that we could make the best use of our collaboration solutions. The final session of the day focuses on “UC as a Service” and I am looking forward to a discussion of how the managed services model has changed, as well as a look at some of the hotter offerings in the space.
The final day of the UCC sessions offers another round of tough choices, for this analyst, it means four sessions and another lunch and learn. The first session is a continuation of the previous day’s session on convergence. The next session I simply can’t-miss as it will be covering interactive/touch displays and their role in our collaboration spaces. I have found these solutions to be interesting and attractive from day one and I am not alone. Unfortunately, many of the earlier implementations were a little overly complicated and usually a “stand alone” device. Today they are far more intuitive, and being creatively integrated into larger collaboration environments. Always fun to see an old market in a new light.
On Thursday at 12:00pm, I am scheduled to co-moderate the “Lunch and Learn” session entitled, “State of Collaboration: What do we Have, How is it Working &What do we Need?” Please join us there! It should be a lot of fun, as a mix of users and industry experts chat about what is actually working, and where we continue to fail.
Next is a “UCC Roadmap” where end users will get top notch advice on how to plan for a comprehensive and integrated UCC environment. Many organizations simply have a bag of collaboration tools that they make available to their users, when so much more value can be found through a complete UCC package. The final session of the UCC Summit is covering adoption hurdles. This one I am particularly looking forward to. For decades we have created study after study proving the benefits of collaboration tech. So why is it so hard to make them a part of the everyday workflow? What is blocking us and how do we fix it. I am certainly hoping for some answers.
I expect this to be the best InfoComm yet. Many of our technologies have reached a tipping point from demo-ware to being ready for mass adoption. We have learned from the mistakes and successes of the past and are finally seeing the kind of mainstream acceptance we long dreamed of. It’s a very different game, with a constant flow of new players. We are asking some of the same questions but getting very different answers. Some of what we are seeing are things we have predicted for decades, while other products and services we never could have anticipated. It will be very interesting to hear what the experts, vendors, and users all have to say about the current state of our industry, and I look forward to sharing everything I learned with you after the show is over.
Make sure you check out our entire InfoComm Preview Guide rolling out this week!