The Google Vidyo Relationship - More Than Just Strange Bedfellows

Vidyo and Google are bringing video-enabled Google Hangouts to work as well as working to make video easier to use and more ubiquitious across the business and consumer landscapes.  While the early realtionship may have been seen as opportunistic, today's announcements indicate a longer term commitment to deliver software and cloud-based video solutions to iWorkers and consumers around the globe.

Vidyo has been the video component behind Google+ Hangouts for some time – just as Skyoe has been the video enabler for Facebook Video Chat.  Vidyo and Google have pushed the WebRTC standard to enable simpler video communications from a standards based browser interface, and Google is leveraging Vidyo SVC (Scalable Video Code) technology in VP9 for Chrome and other browsers. Vidyo and Google  are now taking two more steps together to   
                1. Deliver simple video conferencing in a bundle for business – ChromeBox for Meetings
                2. Enable interoperability between Google+ hangouts and other voice and video systems
                     with VidyoH2O for Google+ Hangouts

 

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Discussions are anything but neutral in Net Neutrality debate

Who would think that the words “... we reject Verizon’s challenge to the Open Internet Order’s disclosure rules, we vacate both the anti-discrimination and the anti-blocking rules. We remand the case to the Commission for further proceedings ...” could set off a firestorm of public debate?  All it really says is that broadband service providers must inform their customers if and when they block or hinder the passage of lawful information across their broadband connection.

The clear message the US Court of Appeals is sending to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to regulate appropriately. The Appeals Court actually affirmed the appropriateness of the FCC's role in ensuring fair access to the internet. The issue is that the FCC declared their authority based on broadband access being a "common carrier" service even though they had declared it to be a competitive service in earlier actions. So the issue the court dealt with is jurisdictional discretion, not outright authority or correctness of "net neutrality."

Consumer activist champions are chomping at the bit to call this a free license for broadband operators to block or throttle competing services - the truth of the matter is that most broadband service providers have already committed to abide by the existing set of rules (or as Captain Jack Sparrow would say "guidelines") with Comcast in particular committing to abide by the guidelines as part of the approval of their acquisition of NBC. Consumers are protected not by the FCC mandating network architectures and operations, but by the disclosure or transparency requirement -- which was upheld.  If providers block, they must disclose.

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Vodafone Demonstrates Its Determination To Boost Its Enterprise Activities At Its Global Analyst Event

Dan Bieler, Henry Dewing, Henning Dransfeld, Katyayan Gupta, Brownlee Thomas, and Michele Pelino

Vodafone hosted its annual global analyst event in London recently, and it was a good event. Vodafone’s CEO Vittorio Colao kicked it off with a passionate endorsement of Vodafone’s enterprise ambitions. But will Vodafone’s market position as a leading mobile telco give it a tangible advantage in the broader enterprise global telecoms marketplace? We believe there is a good chance it will because:

  • Vodafone’s integrated pitch is credible. Vodafone comes up in nearly every conversation with Forrester enterprise clients that want to consolidate vendors for multicountry or “global” mobility services. Increasingly, our clients also are asking about Vodafone’s wired services. And those based in the UK and Germany are the most interested in learning about what’s available and what’s coming with respect to fixed-mobile bundling. Vodafone made a big play on fixed-mobile integration, most notably with the acquisitions of Cable & Wireless and Kabel Deutschland. Its network now covers 140 countries, 28 of which support MPLS networks for mobile backhaul. Vodafone also has big plans for refreshing and expanding its international IP backbone network to more than 60 countries.
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Optimize Communication and Collaboration Infrastructure to Drive Business Productivity and Innovation

Business’s drive for innovation and competitiveness continues unabated  

The role of today’s Infrastructure and Operations professionals (I&O pros) has changed. The traditional role of surveying the technology market, predicting the future, selecting technologies to support the business, and delivering those technologies efficiently and effectively was hard enough. Today’s I&O pros are being asked to improve the innovativeness and competitiveness of the business while creating an infrastructure that allows endusers to bring their own technologies within a secure, reliable, compliant, and manageable environment. Communications and Collaboration Infrastructure (CCI) can be deployed to drive improvements in communication between employees, supporting innovation focused on driving business results.

An increasingly mobile and distributed workforce demands improved collaboration

As more employees work away from a "traditional" office (27% of workers spend at least 2 days a week away from their primary office location according to the Q2 2013 Forrsights Workforce Survey) and use multiple devices (over half of information workers use three or more devices for work according to the Q2 2013 Forrsights Workforce Survey), it complicates the I&O pro's job of connecting them. Traditional telephones and e-mail accounts aren't enough in today’s fast-paced business environment; new collaboration platforms from document repositories and web conferencing services to video conferencing and enterprise social software help to connect employees and partners to drive innovation by enabling the firm to tap the accumulated wisdom of all their assets.

The call for change

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Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group – Rowan Trollope Takes The Helm

 

Today, Rowan Trollope took charge of the Cisco Collaboration Technology Group, being named SVP/GM, according to a blog posted by Marthin DeBeer (http://blogs.cisco.com/news/cisco-welcomes-rowan-trollope-as-new-head-of-collaboration-technology-group/). Cisco has worked hard to demonstrate its commitment to the collaboration market over the past several years, and the current leader of the collaboration efforts at Cisco, OJ Winge, was a clear champion of the cause. OJ was famous for advocating for clear, easy-to-use collaboration solutions that helped information workers get their jobs done — famously quipping that he did not care about the devices, platforms, or delivery models, but only about the people. Rowan comes from Symantec where he was a leader in developing and delivering security solutions. He is a smart, well-educated executive who brings hard-core, real-world experience managing and growing software and cloud-based businesses. In addition to replacing Alan Cohen’s unrivaled ability to spin a fascinating tale (check out Rowan’s blog http://rowantrollope.com/), I expect that Rowan will help Cisco in many more business focused ways including the following:

·         A focus on the user. Rowan cut his teeth making Norton’s security products relevant to consumers — he cares about and understands end users.

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Polycom Develops New Video Products and Services – And Market Opportunity

    

 

On Monday morning, Polycom invited a few hundred of their closest friends to New York to open the NASDAQ stock market. Then, they revealed a new set of products demonstrating their commitment to put video into the routine of daily working life for information workers.  I was one of those friends who had the unique opportunity to (as the CIO of one of Polycom's customer’s quipped) “make my job relevant to my teenage children,” by having my face on the widescreen in Times Square.  But my kids don’t read my blog, so the important thing for the readers is taking a look at what Polycom said, and what it means.

Polycom discussed four themes through the day – their commitment to:

  • Deliver a superior user experience. A new UI design and the promise to deliver that UI to all their products, enabling more intuitive and consistent access to all Polycom communications capabilities – in rooms, on PCs, and even from smartphones and tablets. The new UI looks slick and the ability to use that, or a Microsoft Lync client, to access the broad range of Polycom services is a major step in delivering a useful and usable collaboration tool.  The promise to deliver the UI as a software upgrade means that even existing Polycom customers will be able to enjoy the experience. Having recently visited Polycom's experience center at their new headquarters in San Jose, I will vouch for the intuitive, personal feeling of working a pure "new Polycom" environment.
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2012 Huawei Global Analyst Summit: Enterprise is Part of the Plan

Henry Dewing with Dan Bieler, Katyayan Gupta, Tirthankar Sen, and Bryan Wang

 

                                           Buldings on Huawei's Headquarters Campus in Shenzen, China

  • Huawei continues its drive for more financial openness and transparency. In an effort to shed the image of a secretive non-listed company, Huawei provided detailed information about its financial and operational performance. In 2011 Huawei grew revenues by 12% to reach US$32.4bn and EBIT by 9% to US$3bn. The main regional growth was registered in Latin America, while a 9% cash margin was the result of their investment levels – particularly in the enterprise space. These financial figures paint the picture of a company that is still enjoying strong growth and sufficient free cash-flow to fund its expansion and innovation.
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TEAM Polycom 2012

I’ve spent the past two days with about 2,000 new friends. Polycom’s annual sales conference provided a drumbeat of messages about what is to come from the vendor. As Kate Hutchison, Polycom’s chief marketing officer, talked about the future, you could feel the certainty of an organization that has set its mind to a task. I sensed a certain swagger from everyone with whom I interacted that echoed Kate’s desire to see the company push the limits of human collaboration at work. CEO Andy Miller left no doubt that the company was committed, describing the unalterable market forces that have shaped his vision for the company and letting everyone in the room know that he intended to assemble a rogue’s gallery of industry goliaths to drive Polycom forward — inviting Dreamworks, HP, IBM, and Microsoft to contribute to his keynote address to hammer home this point. Sue Hayden, VP of global alliances and programs, has been charged with making this so — and, based on my conversations with her about companies from Apple to Motorola to Siemens, she will.

Polycom is committed to five things moving forward: being easier to work with, being easier to use, being more innovative, assembling more complete business solutions, and pursuing the business models their customers prefer. The values that Polycom put forth include:

  • Being easier to do business with. Polycom is simplifying the process for buyers — working to make ordering products and services easier. There is now a tool for systems managers to enable zero-touch configuration. The company’s commitment to channels and end users was on display all week.
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Ramblings From Enterprise Connect #EC12

Cloud, technology populism, video, and integrated solutions were in evidence throughout the show. Here is what I learned or conformed at Enterprise Connect 2012:

  • Cloud is happening. Buyer interest is and has been up, service providers are investing, and OEMs are enabling. At the show, SPs from 8x8 and M5 (now part of ShoreTel) to AT&T and Verizon were demoing capabilities. SIs, including well-known names from BlacBox to Presidio to HP, were talking about cloud too. Many OEM vendors did not discuss the channel implications made obvious by SI and SP discussion of cloud services — although NEC made ease of doing business for the channel one of the tenets of its cloud discussion. If I were a solution vendor, I would spend more time discussing where my solutions could be purchased and the role for my sales force, since buyers who attend Enterprise Connect in droves want to know where and how they can buy cloud solutions.
  • The real story here is consumerization or technology populism. Personal cloud services have enabled information workers to be a decision AND buying center for all types of communications and collaboration. Although we talk about smartphones and tablets in discussing technology populism, unified communications and fixed mobile convergence were the examples on display at this show. Buyers (including information workers and traditional technology managers) today need to know how to integrate Box, Google Docs, SalesForce, and other services into their business processes that depend on communications.
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Avaya Acquires Radvision

Avaya announced its intention and agreement to purchase Radvision today. These two technological powerhouses have the combined brainpower to put together some of the most advanced unified communications solutions in the world. Radvision’s experience in building complex modular communication components plus Avaya’s strength in delivering complete, reliable communications solutions is an appealing combination. The strengths of this combination include:

  • Breadth of open technologies. Radvision’s H.323 and SIP stacks will combine neatly with Avaya’s Aura architecture to enable a wide range of interoperable communications solutions from varying vendors built on multiple old and new technologies.
  • Video portfolio. Radvision’s Scopia videoconferencing portfolio (from  desktop to telepresence) extends Avaya’s current partner-driven video endpoint model.
  • The cloud. Radvision’s service provider relationships gives Avaya a firmer footing from which to sell cloud solutions to service providers.

Issues that management will have to deal with in the combined company:

  • Cultural fit. Avaya’s consensus-driven and collaborative culture may not provide the direction Radvision’s developers got used to within Radvision’s traditional command and control structure.
  • Revenue growth. Radvision has been on a slide. The Avaya/Radvision combination will have to open new markets and increase win rates to pay back the $230 million purchase price — approximately three times Radvision’s annual revenue.
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