This article originally appeared in the Sept. 2012 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY
ITEXPO is just around the corner. We invite you to join us next month in Austin, Texas, to take part in the many educational, marketing and networking opportunities this TMC (News - Alert) event provides.
Keynote speakers at ITEXPO West include Chris Hummel, chief commercial officer with Siemens Enterprise Communications, and David Tucker, vice president and general manager of the Small Business Unit at Cisco (News - Alert), both of whom will give afternoon addresses on Oct. 3, as well as Robert B. Carter, executive vice president of information services and CIO with FedEx, and Raymond P. Dolan, president and CEO at Sonus Networks, who are scheduled for Oct. 4.
Siemens Enterprise Communications (News - Alert) is a player in the telephony and UC markets. Hummel notes that Dell’Oro Group recently promoted the company from the third to the second spot globally. A press release issued in June by Siemens Enterprise Communications says that Dell’Oro Group’s 1Q12 Enterprise Telephony Quarterly report notes that the vendor’s voice platforms, including OpenScape Voice, marked two consecutive quarters of consistent growth to capture new global enterprise voice market share, while leading competitors experienced ongoing revenue share loss. Hummel adds that Siemens Enterprise Communications tripled its U.S. marketshare over the last 18 months, from 0.9 to 2.7 share; that the company has grown more than 20 percent; and that its IP line shipments grew 52 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2012.
As chief commercial officer with Siemens Enterprise Communications, Hummel heads up the company’s marketing efforts and global portfolio management, is in charge of indirect channels and global alliances, and is responsible for corporate development and strategy.
During ITEXPO, Hummel aims to tackle the subject of unified communications. UC as a term has become a little passé, he tells INTERNET TELEPHONY, as the general idea has been out there for about a decade now. Yet even after all this time, he adds, it remains far too difficult for enterprises to take advantage of the benefits UC can deliver. Nonetheless, he continues, the promise of bringing communications channels together in a unified workspace to enable people to collaborate and connect is still there. Hummel’s speech will address the existing barriers to UC and how customer companies can overcome them. Siemens Enterprise Communications, he adds, is doing all it can to help companies find their easiest path to UC.
“A lot of these communications revolutions are taking place outside the enterprise, and not inside the enterprise,” Hummel says.
As a result, social, mobile, UC, and collaboration are still at the periphery of many businesses. The adoption rate of UC is in the 10 to 20 percent range, he continues, but if organizations amplify the way people work together via social, mobile, and UC solutions “you’re going to see that adoption rate skyrocket.”
ITEXPO’s other Wednesday keynote speaker, David Tucker, vice president and general manager of the Small Business Unit at Cisco, meanwhile, will discuss how small businesses can leverage new communications technologies to their benefit.
“Small businesses are generally the first to ride the wave of change that technology transitions provide, such as cloud applications, bring your own device, social communications, mobility and IP telephony,” Tucker says. “It’s about enabling the small business owner to do more with less people and fewer dollars. The trick to serving small businesses is providing very simple products to deploy and manage, with sophisticated functionality under the covers.”
Tucker adds that the focus on small business continues to be a priority at Cisco in terms of not only product development, but how the company takes the product to market and builds small business-focused solutions for its partners and customers.
“On the product side, we develop products that are purpose-built for small, not scale enterprise solutions down,” says Tucker. “A complete portfolio is critical to our growing success and focusing on how small business customers can easily and securely leverage mobility, cloud, voice, video and social networking trends and opportunities.”
Cisco’s Small Business Unit addresses switching, routing, storage and WLAN. Among the important developments happening on this front are5G and 10G interfaces become more affordable thus enabling more switches in the small business area with these interfaces, says Tucker. That allows the connection of server and storage solutions at a very high speed, and also prepares the network to be fully ready for Wireless N speed and beyond (802.3ac), he says.
“Switches for small business customers have become quite intelligent and play a key part in the network,” he says. “A managed small business switch can be auto-provisioned, which is an important role for network security. Additionally, ports can be authenticated and set-up dynamically based on the connected device and/or user which enable features like network-wide voice and video settings.”
Tucker notes that additional switching and routing trends include application awareness, big data, more compliance requirements, and the proliferation of wireless devices.
“The BYOD trend is not limited to a certain company size as this is something we see in both small businesses and the enterprise,” Tucker says. “In fact, many employees in today’s small businesses are already using their own devices. The benefits for small businesses include increased productivity and employee satisfaction by being able to use their preferred device. But, as the number of devices on a network increases so does the demand for ensuring that only certain devices can access specific data. For the small business, single user policies, threat management security at the edge and hotspot technologies are critical.”
The day following the Hummel and Tucker keynotes, ITEXPO attendees will hear from Dolan of Sonus, which in mid June announced its intent to buy Network Equipment Technologies, Inc. (NET (News - Alert)) for approximately $42 million.
“Vendors, analysts and users have all talked about applications such as unified communications or high-def, low bandwidth video for several years, but the promise has been unfulfilled for a number of reasons – with proprietary constraints, cost and complexity all near the top of the list,” Dolan says. “The steady increase in the availability of SIP trunks and the clear demand by end users for an open, standard-based environment have finally ignited the move to SIP-based applications.
“We see the industry heading toward a tipping point, in which the enterprise communications infrastructure in the form of premises-based PBX (News - Alert) and desk phones of today will be disrupted by mobility and unified communications being offered by service providers through the cloud over SIP trunks. This is a big market – between $9.5 and $10 billion annually,” he adds. “Sonus has been a leader in building out flexible, session-based infrastructures for service providers and enterprises with our SBC portfolio. With the addition of NET, Sonus will be able to deliver a purpose-built offering from core site locations out to small offices and branch offices. The promise of unified communications and other real-time dependent applications will only take hold when they can be deployed across disparate network topologies in a uniform manner across an organization and together with NET, Sonus will have the ability to finally address that need.”
Dolan notes that ITEXPO is a great venue to learn how great technology can be applied to change the trajectory of your business – whether as a service provider or an enterprise.
“The past decade has seen an amazing rise in technology tools and resources that were intended to make us more productive,” he adds. “Yet the most current U.S. Labor Department report shows that worker productivity is essentially stagnant. Frankly, the very tools designed to make us more productive have started to overwhelm us and have the opposite effect as we manage dozens of e-mails, text, video and voice interactions each day. The advent and adoption of SIP has reached a tipping point, and I look forward to sharing specific steps companies can take to bring speed and simplicity to their organizations so they can work smarter, faster and more collaboratively. Together, we can break through the complexity we as an industry have created and help reset productivity to a new level over the next decade.”
Edited by Stefania Viscusi