Andrew Davis
Andrew W. Davis is a researcher, analyst, and opinion leader in the field of collaboration and conferencing. He is a...
Read Full Bio >>

Andrew Davis | April 05, 2017 |


Enterprise Connect 2017 Leaves Us on Cloud Nine

Enterprise Connect 2017 Leaves Us on Cloud Nine Lots of cloud-speak centered on UC, but video has all of the same advantages, and more.

Lots of cloud-speak centered on UC, but video has all of the same advantages, and more.

If cloud nine implies a feeling of extreme happiness or euphoria, last week's Enterprise Connect 2017 conference and expo was well on its way to a cumulonimbus state. You couldn't qualify for an analyst pass to the conference unless you had a cloud opinion to share, and you couldn't position your company as a UC leader unless you could tout your cloud offering with a hybrid option.

In truth, the majority of the cloud-speak related to UC (nobody says "unified communications" anymore). Cloud strengths in the UC world revolve around dynamic and agile offerings combined with rapid customer deployment and the business shift from a CapEx to an OpEx model preferred by many but NOT all customers. Other cloud advantages that gained strong interest this year included the ability to scale massively and to bring together content from different sources and applications. This last point feeds directly into the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and machine learning future. In this emerging world, the sales person will know that her prospect/customer recently financed the purchase of a new truck when she calls to sell him auto insurance.

As Video track chair, I, of course, was most interested in the video side of cloud -- or, rather, the cloud side of video. Video conferencing is a communications application, and communications has always been a services industry. Few people own their own mobile towers, phone switches, or wide area networks; instead they take advantage of carrier offerings. Using a cloud service for video has all the advantages quoted in the UC world, plus more.

  • Capacity planning for video conferencing is tricky. You have X employees, and you aren't sure how many of them will need video, or how many of them will use video at the same time, or how many calls will need multipoint support. Buy too little infrastructure, and users will be unhappy. Buy too much, and waste your money. A cloud video solution generally provides elastic expansion and support for scale.
  • Using a cloud service for B2B or B2C calls generally means anybody who can reach the service over the Internet can be part of a meeting or conversation. Using a cloud minimizes the need to adjust network and firewall settings.
  • Since cloud video is the main business of the service provider, the service provider will need to keep up with new algorithms, security settings, and protocols. Interoperability issues moving forward will be fewer than with a static CPE infrastructure solution.
  • Using a cloud service reduces the need for in-house, specialized video support and can free up IT resources for more valuable work or for tasks closely related to the core business.

A recent study published by Wainhouse Research based on data from 10 cloud video vendors showed a year-over-year growth rate in minutes of usage above 100%. After speaking to people on the Enterprise Connect expo floor, the natural conclusion is that cloud services are inevitable for video conferencing -- with the many reasons why ranging from the technical (see bullet points above) to the social and cultural (millennials anyone?).

Also apparent, however, is that some customers are still at the stratus or cumulus levels, or stuck in ground-level fog. An Enterprise Connect panel of CTO and CIO professionals from half a dozen large enterprises discussed such topics as recovering from the 2008 economic collapse, replacing TDM PBXs with new solutions, expanding from IM/p to UC, and, I kid you not, upgrading from Windows XP. Innovation and business transformation indeed. Clearly the vendors are far ahead of the customer base.

So, while cloud is inevitable, getting there is going to take much longer than many expect. And video is likely to lead the way.


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.