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January 28, 2015

Mitel CEO Divulges UC (and Super Bowl) Predictions during ITEXPO 2015 Keynote

By Allison Boccamazzo, Managing Content Producer

This morning’s keynote speech at ITEXPO delivered by Mitel President and CEO Rich McBee was truly riveting and entertaining. An unparalleled industry leader—Mitel’s (News - Alert) revenue more than doubled under his leadership—McBee imparted invaluable insights, best practices and advice to this morning’s audience regarding cloud and hosted unified communications as a service (UCaaS).

With the Super Bowl less than a week away, McBee decided to relate the hosted cloud and UC space to the highly anticipated sporting event, offering a comprehensive playbook and casting his top cloud and UC predictions for 2015.

“As a CEO, you are a coach,” said McBee. “At the end of the day you coach your team, put plays together and your team runs those plays. But you’re constantly adjusting your strategy based on what’s going on in the market.”

To understand key market patterns and behaviors, which are constantly and rapidly changing, one should look towards the past, McBee says. After all, to understand the rate of change for the future, one must understand the past. McBee offered the following three past technologies as examples:

  • Push button phone: Was brought to market in 1942 but was not widely, publically used until 1963.
  • The ‘smart’ communicator: McBee cites the infamous Dick Tracy ‘smartwatch’ cartoon illustrated in 1931. “Look at the capabilities of that wrist communicator as it was,” said McBee. “This year, Apple (News - Alert) will introduce that communicator.
  • Handheld mobile phone: Became commercially available in 1984 and today we have an array of smaller and smarter Internet-connected devices. “This device was revolutionary at the time of its release; it was a phone of the past, but the start of the future,” McBee said.

McBee’s message, illustrated by these examples, is this: There can be a very long time between when a product is brought to market and when it becomes a public phenomenon. “The idea is that we have the ability to conceive technologies long before we have the ability to deploy them. It’s not a matter of if they will be deployed, but when and how,” he explained.

This is what will ultimately help business leaders create their most actionable, comprehensive playbook for success. In addition to this:  McBee suggested business leaders apply the following three best practices when creating their playbooks: first, standardize what matters; second, leverage the cloud; and third, create a path.

McBee then offered a number of UC predictions he expects to see throughout 2015. Below are four of the most riveting:

  • Business class voice will remain the high water mark for technology innovation: Vocal cords and ear drums are still the most complex and reliable communications systems we have, he explained. “Voice quality isn’t going away; in fact, the bar is being raised. Voice quality is a sign of your brand’s quality.”
  • The “smartphone” will simply be referred to as the “phone”: As many of us know well, the traditional landline is long gone. With everything one could possibly need now living on a smartphone, McBee wouldn’t be surprised to see the landline reach extinction in the near future.
  • Today’s industry giants will not be tomorrow’s: It’s a bold prediction, McBee admits, but continued industry consolidation will lead to exponential changes among who is considered today’s industry giants. To this end, McBee is confident that industry consolidation will not only continue, but accelerate as we move ahead.
  • Companies with strong ecosystems will replace standalones as preferred vendors: “Nobody can do it alone. Because of that, you have to have ecosystems that seamlessly work together,” he explained.

Now for the question of the day: Who will win the UC/cloud game? For McBee, it will be the first company to create a seamless UC experience where the technology just works—anytime, anywhere, and with any combination of vendor equipment.

And of course, the keynote wouldn’t be complete without McBee’s actual Super Bowl prediction. As a Northwestern native, McBee is confident that the Seattle Seahawks will defeat the New England Patriots—specifically, 35-31.




Edited by Maurice Nagle
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