- Richer display technology, more powerful cameras, and ubiquitous, high-speed connectivity are ushering in a new era of mobile computing wherein mobile devices begin eating into traditional desktop UI paradigms.
- Seeking to capitalize upon this trend, communications and collaboration vendors are sure to push their product sets deeper into these mobile devices, a move that will create some interesting opportunities for IT administrators.
Along with a number of my cohorts here at Current Analysis, I’ll be heading to Orlando, Florida next week to attend Enterprise Connect. This is one of the oldest and most important events on the calendar for unified communications (UC) and video vendors. Over the years, this show has heralded and helped to define a number of important market transitions, such as the move to make voice and video operations not just an IT cost center, but an agent of revenue generation for the entire enterprise. Last year in particular, Enterprise Connect was home to one such market-redefining moment, namely the consumerization of IT. This was epitomized by Microsoft’s demonstration of its communications solution (Microsoft Lync) working together with its gaming console, Xbox Kinect, forming a gesture-based conferencing solution.
I don’t expect to see anything quite so unique this time around, but I do anticipate the continuation of this consumerization trend. Specifically, I’m looking for a heavy dose of mobility announcements. Enterprise users currently enjoy access to extremely rich display technologies (as with Apple’s Retina display), more powerful front- and back-facing cameras, improved high-speed connectivity over cellular networks, and most importantly, improved IT controls (such as remote wipe). This is ushering in a new era of mobile computing where users can bring their own devices to work and expect not merely to augment, but often to replace traditional desktop and desktop video/phone devices. For the mature and often conservative UC and video conferencing market, the influx of these smart devices is a breath of fresh air, speeding development and feeding innovation.
Already, a healthy spate of UC and video vendors have lined up to unveil mobile solutions and services at next week’s show, including Aastra, Cisco, Damaka, Echopass, Jabra, Partnerpedia, RADVISION, Thrupoint, VOSS, Voxeo, Zeacom, and Zultys. Many of these vendors plan on simply unveiling new mobile clients for existing products. Some players, however, are demonstrating unique solutions built on top of the mobile paradigm itself. Voxeo, for one, is expected to announce mobile, location-based services that will significantly alter the company’s interactive voice response (IVR) solution. With these services, the company intends to streamline how users interact with help desks, speeding access to help for those in need of roadside assistance. This service can also create new revenue opportunities, such as automatically guiding IVR users toward their nearest retail outlet. There are many similar innovations on deck. Damaka, for instance, expects to announce a new client capable of bringing presence, video, audio, and desktop sharing from IBM’s Sametime solution directly to mobile devices without necessitating additional hardware. Other announcements point toward the maturity of the mobile platform itself, as is the case with Echopass, which will unveil new mobile development capabilities for its EchoPlace Partner Network.
Products such as these prove one thing. Mobility has certainly become a dominant force within the unified communications and collaboration marketplace, and it is sure to influence both how vendors build products and how IT professionals equip corporate users. I, for one, will be on-hand next week to witness the continuation of this interesting trend, equipped with no fewer than three of my own mobile devices.