• 2017 is likely to see more innovation in the field of integrated communications (embedding click to collaborate functionality within business applications) which may incorporate Communications as-a-Platform (CPaaS).
• In order to support digital transformation initiatives, enterprises will be faced with a re-platforming choice – arguably this is likely to be a cloud-based team collaboration application.
Season greetings! It’s that time of the year where analysts start looking towards the year ahead and dust off their crystal ball to offer vendors and customers an insight into what’s to come. As we look at 2017, two key collaboration and communications trends emerge:
1. There is a move away from innovation in united communications (UC) and towards a new category of integrated communications.
This trend is triggered by the need for companies to squeeze additional productivity from their businesses and this is driving a need for integrated communications. This is not merely limited to providing click to collaborate features in office productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office and Google G Suite), but also to home-grown applications and mobile apps. Consequently, this requires an extensive range of APIs for developers to leverage and potentially, a new platform: CPaaS. This has the potential to disrupt the traditional UC market considerably which has hitherto focused on the unification of numerous real-time modalities (voice, video, instant messaging and conferencing) into one client. CPaaS essentially allows developers to embed real-time communications functionality directly into business applications, circumventing the need for premises-based PBXs or UC servers.
• In 2017, enterprises should expect more integration between UC platforms and applications and services such as CRM, Salesforce, and workflow tools.
• Enterprises should begin to talk to ICT providers about their plans to deliver RCS-enabled collaboration services.
In many ways, 2016 has been a quiet year for unified communications and collaboration services. Although Broadsoft has made good progress in becoming the most popular vendor in the SME sector, Microsoft and Cisco remain the dominant market forces. Mitel deserves an honourable mention and remains a keen competitor, whilst Avaya’s struggle to make progress in the hosted UCC space, despite its contact centre strengths, has contributed significantly to its present challenging situation. Google enjoyed a positive 2016. Its market penetration remains modest, but publicised case studies of Google-based collaboration solutions are becoming more common, particularly in the public sector in geographies such as the UK. The newly branded G-Suite offers a genuine alternative to Microsoft Office 365. Although Google’s proposition must still sit alongside a hosted voice and UC solution from another vendor, its collaboration features make it an option that should be considered by all enterprises. Continue reading “Collaboration Trends for 2017: What Enterprises Should be Looking for”→
• The market for hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) will be a major battleground for solutions jointly engineered by Dell Technologies group businesses.
• Dell EMC will maintain partnerships with competitors in relation to specific converged and hyper-converged solutions as long as customer demand for these solutions continues.
The launch in December of a new VxRack solution based on Dell EMC’s PowerEdge servers and VMware’s software-defined data center platform, gives us only a partial indication of how Dell EMC’s HCI will evolve in 2017. For a fuller understanding, it is necessary to look at the broader range of decisions and announcements the company has made both prior to and since its September merger. It can be argued that the launch of a new HCI solution based entirely on infrastructure provided by Dell Technologies group businesses – together with a move to drop the VCE brand for all of Dell EMC’s converged and hyper-converged solutions – points to a change of strategy for the vendor. They also note the way in which Dell’s PowerEdge servers have been steadily incorporated into several EMC solutions since the completion of the merger – including the company’s VxRail hyper-converged appliance. Continue reading “Partnering with Competitors Will Remain Central to Dell EMC’s Converged and Hyper-converged Solutions Strategy in 2017”→
With the termination of its Intercloud Services, Cisco will now focus on helping enterprise customers build and manage their own hybrid environments.
Cisco stands to benefit from the closure of Intercloud, which provides it with an opportunity to streamline and redefine its cloud strategy.
The announcement by Cisco that it plans to terminate its Intercloud Services (CIS) public cloud on March 31, 2017 has been widely criticized as a failure of Cisco’s attempt to compete against hyper-scale public cloud providers and further evidence of the comparative weakness of public cloud offerings based on OpenStack open source technology. However, the decision by Cisco to put to bed an initiative which it launched in September 2014 can also be seen as a positive move by the vendor to realign its resources and refocus its cloud business, the latter having been historically criticized for being disjointed, lacking clarity and failing to deliver momentum. Continue reading “The Demise of Intercloud Services Provides an Opportunity for Cisco’s Cloud Strategy”→
• There may be no such thing as true altruism, but it’s safe to say that the multifaceted demands of IoT are creating a perfect storm of advantageous cooperation among technology and service providers, data producers and insight consumers.
• Case in point is IoT environmental sensor network vendor Aclima, which is using Google Street View cars to measure pollution levels within key urban areas in California. Aclima’s use case reveals how companies, residents and governments can help one another by sharing facilities, personal and environmental data.
Maybe it’s just the holiday spirit talking, but I think I “almost” believe in altruism. Don’t get me wrong. I remain a card carrying realist. To me, acts of kindness are indeed kind because they happen to benefit both giver and receiver. There’s nothing wrong with that, really. We give because it makes us feel good, because we anticipate some future reward or reciprocation, or because we feel obligated, which is oddly how one feels both giving and receiving a holiday fruitcake. Continue reading “IoT for Air Quality, Behold the Power of Cooperation”→
Microsoft’s venture fund for AI includes a number of stipulations concerning not just what AI can do, but also how it might impact humans and the future of humanity itself.
In the spirit of Isaac Asimov, we’ve translated Microsoft’s AI venture funding stipulations into our own three laws of robotics in the enterprise, positing some questions of our own regarding whether or not AI can actually save us from ourselves when it comes to cognitive bias.
I’m a big fan of science fiction authors like Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov because these gentlemen teach me over and over to believe fully in technology but also recognize the dangers in rushing headlong into a future predicated upon the unbridled application of that technology. The outcome for fictional techno-eager civilizations is often a full-on dystopia (as in Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). Alternatively, and perhaps more terrifyingly, the resulting society might appear quite utopian on the surface but in fact operate as a dystopia. With Asimov’s ‘Foundation Trilogy,’ we definitely see that nice ice cream swirl combining both outcomes in one tasty treat, stemming from the development of a new branch of science called psychohistory, which could be used to predict the future for large groups of people by merging statistic, sociology and history. Continue reading “The Three Laws of Enterprise AI, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Machine Intelligence”→
• HPE announced a major milestone for The Machine research project, which promises to transform future computing and data center architectures.
• Despite real achievements, it remains to be seen whether HPE can make a success of The Machine in the way the vendor originally envisaged.
Of the various announcements Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) made at its recent Discovery Event in London, November 2016, one of the most interesting related to “The Machine”, a Hewlett Packard Labs research project that was inaugurated in 2014 and which aspires to revolutionize the way computers are built and data centers of the future are architected. At the London Discovery event HPE announced that it had reached a major milestone for The Machine project, having built and successfully tested a prototype of the “world’s first memory-driven computing architecture”.
• HPE’s IoT strategy focuses on converged systems at the network edge, along with security, analytics and partnerships with key industry players.
• The latest initiatives, solutions and solution enhancements announced by HPE at its London Discovery event add significant momentum to this multi-faceted IoT strategy.
At its Discovery Event in London, November 2016, HPE announced a number of new innovations that are intended to advance the vendor’s IoT infrastructure strategy and help enterprises tap opportunities in, what HPE refers to as, the “industrial internet.” Innovations announced in London include several enhancements to the HPE Universal IoT Platform – including support for a wider range of LoRa gateways, as well as the ability to manage both subscriber identify module (SIM) and non-SIM devices, and a new portal for simplifying IoT device management. Other solutions announced in London include new switches and device profiling tools from HPE business Aruba, to help enterprises identify, secure and manage IoT devices at the edge of their network, and the HPE Mobile Virtual Network Enabler, which is aimed at fostering the emergence of new, specialized IoT mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). Continue reading “As HPE Builds Momentum with its IoT Strategy, Rivals Such as Cisco, IBM and Dell EMC Need to be Equally Clear about their Approach to IoT”→
• The data discovery and visualization marketplace showed a tremendous amount of maturation in 2016 with vendors tackling major market opportunities surrounding the cloud, big data integration and collaboration.
• The coming year promises to build on this progress as vendor aim to make data discovery and visualization both widely accessible and fully trustworthy for everyday business users.
The data discovery and visualization marketplace during 2016 showed a tremendous amount of maturation as vendors tackled major market challenges. Vendors inured in on-premises software embraced the cloud as a strategic platform, not merely a loss leader. Solutions that historically operated at arm’s length from big data repositories opened up direct lines of communication with a wide array of data sources. And solutions that were once oriented toward insight dissemination began addressing insight discussion and collaboration, both within and beyond the confines of the boardroom. Continue reading “Top Two 2017 Priorities for Data Discovery and Visualization Vendors”→