Eric Krapf
Eric Krapf is General Manager and Program Co-Chair for Enterprise Connect, the leading conference/exhibition and online events brand in the...
Read Full Bio >>

Eric Krapf | March 21, 2017 |


Setting the Stage for Enterprise Connect

Setting the Stage for Enterprise Connect As the transition from hardware to software reshapes IT as a whole, we'll be exploring the changes it will bring to IP-based communications.

As the transition from hardware to software reshapes IT as a whole, we'll be exploring the changes it will bring to IP-based communications.

With Enterprise Connect 2017 less than a week away, I've been thinking about the changes that our industry is going through, and how they might manifest themselves next week in Orlando. Our industry has never been one to turn on a dime, or even a manhole cover or crop circle. But change does come as new technology makes its way through the broader IT environment.

Of course the last time we really saw this was when voice telephony started to move from TDM to IP. The breakthrough technology acquisition that time around was Cisco's 1998 purchase of Selsius Systems, one of the first companies to manufacture an IP-based PBX. Of course, 1998 was near the peak of the first Internet boom, and everybody wanted everything to relate to the Internet. Cisco, whose switches and routers ran the Internet, was keenly interested in finding new kinds of traffic to fill up bigger, better routers and switches. At the same time, folks who'd tried the original Skype were amazed that they could make international calls for free that didn't sound half bad.

And while some of that time involved hype and people trying to catch a wave, our industry came to understand that running voice over IP really would change communications for the better. It would open up new media and new ways of running real-time traffic to endpoints that users were growing more attached to than their legacy hard phones.

It took more than a decade, but eventually the industry did move to IP telephony -- though TDM is still being shipped. And now, the winds of change blowing out of the broader IT world will bring new opportunities to the IP-based communications we take for granted.

The underlying trend, of course, is the transition from hardware to software, which enables communications to be integrated cost-effectively into other forms of software. Which is why application programming interfaces (APIs) are one of the keys to what's coming next for our industry.

We have a track at EC17 on Communications APIs, where much of the focus will be on how you might use APIs to build discrete communications services for your enterprise, or add communications to existing applications. That's fairly exciting stuff, but I think many enterprises are still coming to grips with both the value proposition and the technical and organizational challenges that this opportunity presents.

But APIs are also critical to another trend that we're seeing get a lot more traction a lot quicker: Team Collaboration, for which we also have a track. This new class of application, popularized via the viral spread of Slack, is now pretty much a must-have for most enterprise communications vendors -- witness the strong commitment that Cisco has made to the space via Spark, and Microsoft via Teams.

Team collaboration is also one of the ways that new players are challenging legacy vendors for enterprise business. Most notably, Amazon Web Services last month announced a product in this space, and Google this month debuted a Slack-like product and upgrades to Hangouts for enterprise collaboration. Both of these companies are trying to move "up the stack" from their public-cloud infrastructure-as-a-service base; and both will be keynoting in Orlando next week (along with Cisco, Microsoft, and Twilio, the pioneer in API-driven communications platform-as-a-service, or CPaaS).

Team collaboration apps feature cool upgrades to traditional messaging such as persistent chat, but the real game is to integrate other features and functions into team collaboration via, yep, APIs. My colleague Beth Schultz is moderating our Wednesday general session on the subject,">Messaging and Team Collaboration: Overhyped, or the Next Platform?" APIs are what make team collaboration a contender for that "next platform" distinction.

So if IP telephony is any guide, all of this new, connectable, API-driven software integration of communications into other stuff should take about a decade to hit critical mass. But here's the thing: IP telephony may not be a guide. The pace of change continues to speed up, and while no one's going to throw out a five-year-old PBX that does what it does reliably, you're increasingly likely to believe you need to augment what that old standby does.

And I haven't even talked about cloud-based Unified Communications, artificial intelligence and analytics, or the increasing opportunities and importance of the contact center, all of which will also be prominently featured next week. There's still time for you to register and make your way down to Orlando; use the code NOJITTER to receive $300 off an Entire Event or Tue-Thurs conference pass or a free Expo Plus pass. We'd love to have you join us. You might just see the next big thing.

Follow Eric Krapf and No Jitter on Twitter and Google+!
Eric Krapf on Google+


April 19, 2017

Now more than ever, enterprise contact centers have a unique opportunity to lead the way towards complete, digital transformation. Moving your contact center to the cloud is a starting point, quick

April 5, 2017

Its no secret that the cloud offers significant benefits to enterprises - including cost reduction, scalability, higher efficiency, and more flexibility. If your phone system and contact center are

March 22, 2017

As today's competitive business environments push workforces into overdrive, many enterprises are seeking ways of streamlining workflows while optimizing productivity, business agility, and speed.

April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.