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”

Facebook Grows up and Goes to Work, but Will It Win Over Businesses?

T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

• As Facebook is nearing the limit of consumer advertising, the company is turning its focus on the business market as an alternative revenue stream.

• Facebook’s Workplace and WhatsApp Business are likely to become a disruptive force to the communications and collaboration, and contact center markets.

According to Facebook, the average person spends 50 minutes a day on its Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger platforms. There’s no question that the rise of platforms like Facebook has a transformative effect on the way we interact socially; however, it is nearing the limit of consumer advertising as a source of revenue, Facebook is turning its focus on the business market as an alternative revenue stream. In October 2016, Facebook introduced Workplace by Facebook, a mobile and web-based service offering the best of Facebook for the business world. Incorporating News Feeds, Groups, Events; audio, video and messaging plus live streaming; the company has mustered a prodigious toolset to offer prospective customers. The company has amassed a large number of household names as customers: Booking.com, Columbia Sportswear, Danone, and Starbucks are all using Workplace by Facebook to connect, share ideas, and collaborate. Furthermore, Facebook has revealed it is working on an enterprise messaging service (known as WhatsApp Business), and trialing with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Yoox Net-a-Porter Group. When brought to market, WhatsApp Business could be considered a prime channel for customer service, sales and marketing, and support given the apps 1 billion daily active users. Consequently, Facebook is likely to be an increasingly disruptive force to not only traditional communications and team collaboration vendors (Atlassian, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, Slack, Unify and others), plus the contact center market. Continue reading “Facebook Grows up and Goes to Work, but Will It Win Over Businesses?”

What Does Microsoft Need to Do to Win in Collaboration and Communications?

T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

• Microsoft needs to consolidate and rationalize Office 365’s overlapping functionality to avoid the potential chaos associated with having too much choice in its portfolio.

• Microsoft should decouple telephony from Skype for Business, add PSTN calling to Teams and end-of-life Skype for Business online to differentiate in the team collaboration platform market.

With Microsoft Ignite about to start in Florida (25th September), it’s interesting to try to read behind the lines of some of the sessions and speculate as to how Microsoft really will start ‘to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more’. At the moment, it’s hard to achieve more when Office 365 contains so much feature and functionality overlap between products such as Office 365 Groups, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams and Yammer. Continue reading “What Does Microsoft Need to Do to Win in Collaboration and Communications?”