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A View From The Road Volume 8, Number 2 -2014 Enterprise Connect

March 24, 2014 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by David J. Danto / Dimension Data

As this year's Enterprise Connect conference in Orlando comes to a close I frankly find myself stunned. I've always felt myself to be something of a cynic - with my favorite explanation being that the optimist sees the glass half full, the pessimist sees it half empty and the cynic sees a glass manufactured twice as big as was necessary. It seems this year the organizers of this conference have pitched a tent in my back yard. The years of rose-colored-glasses were chucked-aside, as the comments from Fred Knight and team were shockingly blunt - calling out industry leaders for failing to provide solutions that actually fit the "unified" description of Unified Communications.

"Please don't tell me about user democratization when your technology just doesn't work together" Mr. Knight told the opening panel of leaders from Cisco, Microsoft, Mitel, NEC, Unify and Avaya - and that was one of the milder statements from this group. As I listened to the panelists I was stunned how all of them tacitly admitted that all of the solutions on the market to date have essentially been failures - unable to unify anything other than products within their own portfolios and rarely working with the ease and/or quality that enterprise users demand. This emboldened position - that some of the emperors have no clothes - was refreshingly visible throughout the conference, in both the words of speakers and attendees - commenting on social media and Enterprise Connect's own smartphone app chat feature. (I'll include some of those comments throughout this conference wrap-up.)

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No matter if you love or hate Cisco, everyone agreed they were the star of this conference. Rowan Trollope's Keynote address on Tuesday just outshined every other presentation and announcement. If you've been to Cisco keynote / demos before then understand this was nothing like any of the past.

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