Can Cisco Try, Try, Try Again in Software-Based Collaboration and Communications?

T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

  • Failure to act, execute, innovate, or differentiate in a mature market creates a crisis.
  • Cisco must clearly and confidently communicate its collaboration strategy to reassure its customers, partners, and industry pundits.

Following a 2007 restructure, Cisco emerged with a new model focused on placing software at the heart of its technology groups, having previously focused specifically on hardware. Indeed, the vendor correctly recognized and reacted to the upcoming changes affecting the technology industry ably demonstrated by its Voice Technology Group (now called the Collaboration Technology Group, or CTG), implementing agile software development practices in a far more software and services-oriented market. Continue reading “Can Cisco Try, Try, Try Again in Software-Based Collaboration and Communications?”

The AI Arms Race: Microsoft Brings Its Cognitive Assets to Benefit Office 365 Users

T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

  • Microsoft is adding significant business value across its portfolio by leveraging Azure’s cognitive services and providing benefits to those customers with top-tier Office 365 plans.
  • Without integrating ‘machine learning-as-a-service’ (MLaaS) offerings within business applications and relying on developers to do the heavy lifting, competitors will soon find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

Last week, Microsoft announced upcoming capabilities that leverage its MLaaS to provide video and audio transcription of content stored in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint. Microsoft also previously announced the capability to use its Azure cognitive services to determine where photos were taken, recognize objects, and extract text from photos. Continue reading “The AI Arms Race: Microsoft Brings Its Cognitive Assets to Benefit Office 365 Users”

Is the Writing on the Wall for Digital Whiteboards?

T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

  • Without significant development, interactive whiteboards (IWBs) are unlikely to gain traction, as the ability to replicate (albeit digitally) a physical whiteboard lacks business value.
  • IWBs will struggle to gain traction, as app sharing, touch-screen devices, and styluses are more likely to be utilized by many.

In previous articles, we observed that the interactive whiteboard (IWB) market appeared to be dividing into three distinct segments:

  1. High-end video endpoints with multi-touch screens (e.g., Cisco Webex Board);
  2. High-end computing devices augmented with AV hardware (e.g., Microsoft Surface Hub, Windows Collaboration Displays, and Google Jamboard);
  3. All-in-one devices leveraging existing physical whiteboards (e.g., Highfive in partnership with Dolby).

Last Thursday, Microsoft announced the general availability of its Whiteboard app for Windows 10 after its prior preview in December 2017. With the ability to draw, type, add and manipulate images, annotate, recognize shapes and tables, and add sticky notes, Whiteboard can run on numerous stylus-based devices such as Surface Hubs and laptops today, with iOS support planned in the future. Continue reading “Is the Writing on the Wall for Digital Whiteboards?”

The End of the Best-of-Suite Approach in Collaboration and Communications?

T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

• With best-of-suite vendors offering adequate capabilities for the average collaboration and communications user, a best-of-breed strategy may be superfluous.

• Modern software suites still offer organizations the capability to choose best-of-breed components if the suite does not fit the specific needs of the business.

A favored and common IT strategy has been adopting a “best-of-breed” approach; in other words, purchasing and integrating several products from multiple vendors to achieve the ideal architecture. However, with the likes of Google G Suite, Microsoft Office 365, and other cloud vendors offering software bundles with mature, compelling product features from top to bottom, a “best-of-suite” approach is becoming an attractive substitute. The software industry has witnessed such shifts before. WordPerfect, widely loved and adopted as a standard word-processing application in the 1980s, lost out to the aggressive bundling of Microsoft Office in the 1990s. As good and comprehensive as WordPerfect was, its interoperability with other software products was limited; companies couldn’t make it work with the other products they needed. Could history repeat itself with today’s collaboration and communications solutions? Fortunately, few vendors offer all-encompassing, yet proprietary and closed suites today. Software suites now offer numerous advantages for IT departments, such as per-month, per-user pricing; vastly reduced management, administrative and security overhead; plus the foundation for future development of new capabilities such as artificial intelligence (AI)-powered features. Continue reading “The End of the Best-of-Suite Approach in Collaboration and Communications?”

Huawei IoT: Capabilities Across the Solution Stack, but Low Mindshare in the Region

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Huawei’s capability across IoT stacks offers a competitive advantage in the market.
  • Huawei has the potential to drive IoT adoption in the region through carriers. However, it has yet to leverage this unique advantage outside China.

The IoT ecosystem is complex, as it involves all technologies within IT and bridges IT with operational technologies (OT). As a technology company with core business in telecommunications equipment, IoT for Huawei is not just enabling NB-IoT features in carriers’ cellular network. The vendor is also leveraging its company-wide capabilities to play across the IoT stack. Its IoT portfolio includes the chipset, an operating system (OS) called LiteOS, an NB-IoT network through its radio access solution to carriers, security (through its 3T+1M approach), a platform, cloud, professional services and even an initiative to drive the ecosystem (through its OpenLab). While Cisco and Nokia can closely match this capability, Huawei’s key advantage is with its IoT chipset and OS. Continue reading “Huawei IoT: Capabilities Across the Solution Stack, but Low Mindshare in the Region”

Why Company Culture Is Critical to Successful Collaboration Technology Deployments

T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

  • Company culture is pivotal to the successful adoption of collaboration solutions.
  • Task cultures are more likely to succeed in reacting to change and adapting to the organizational challenges required to transform a business using collaborative solutions.

Technology alone does not allow a business to change and transform. It won’t make organizations more efficient, productive, creative, or innovative unless businesses are able to assimilate the technology into their culture. Company culture is pivotal to the successful adoption of collaboration solutions; indeed, oftentimes there is too much focus on technology rather than addressing change and rethinking how employees, partners, and customers work together. Continue reading “Why Company Culture Is Critical to Successful Collaboration Technology Deployments”

Apple Business Chat: The Next Big Disruptive Force in Customer Service?

T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

• Apple Business Chat will launch in 2018; it will allow businesses to add live support features that enable customers to communicate, utilize Apple Pay and more.

• Any iOS 11 user will be able to start a chat thread with businesses they find through Siri, Maps, Safari, and Spotlight search.

The Internet revolution has transformed the way customers shop, share their experiences and look for support. Websites, mobile apps, and social platforms shape the way customers do business. Different customers have different communication preferences and in today’s digital environment, many companies are recognizing this shift in customer preference and are implementing new technology to foster greater customer engagement.
Continue reading “Apple Business Chat: The Next Big Disruptive Force in Customer Service?”

Nokia Innovation Forum: Enabling Digital Transformation Through Telcos

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Nokia uses its strength and experience in network solutions as well as its strong relationships with telcos to drive digital transformation.
  • In emerging markets where digital transformation is slow, Nokia needs to work more closely with the telcos and focus on particular solutions and verticals.

Nokia held its Asia-Pacific Innovation Forum in Singapore on the October 24, 2017. Various topics and use cases around IoT, 5G, cloud, network and security were discussed by not only Nokia executives, but also its industry partners, its telco customers, start-ups, government agencies and end users. Despite the diverse topics, the presentations and discussions throughout the event focused around digital transformation themes. Continue reading “Nokia Innovation Forum: Enabling Digital Transformation Through Telcos”

The Bad Habits of Using Business Buzzwords

T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

• Collaboration vendors’ use of vague industry jargon tricks people into believing something important is behind the technology they represent, rather than describing how technology can be applied to solve business problems.

• Vendors should instead use plain, instructive language to explain how their technology can be a strategic asset that helps organizations meet their business objectives.

Every industry has its own unique jargon and buzzwords. Sometimes it’s useful, serving as a shortcut to ‘make sure we are all on the same page’; however, I have sat through far too many empty, jargon-laden vendor presentations and become annoyed at how ambiguous jargon inhibits effective vendor communication. Continue reading “The Bad Habits of Using Business Buzzwords”

Telstra Liberates the Workforce with Fixed-Mobile Convergence

S. Soh

Summary Bullets:

• The workplace is going through transformation, leveraging technology to enable workers to be more mobile and collaborative.

• Telstra’s FMC solution helps to overcome several challenges in integrating UC&C and mobility solutions which overcomes some pain points faced by enterprises.

Telstra launched its Liberate fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) solution at Vantage 2017 with the aim to free workers from their desks. This launch is timely because workplace transformation is underway and enterprises want to achieve workforce mobility. This benefits individuals who want greater work-life balance, and for an organization, it means productivity and competitiveness. Many Australian organizations see this as a strategic move that will motivate staff, enhance collaboration and reduce overheads.

Continue reading “Telstra Liberates the Workforce with Fixed-Mobile Convergence”