Wainhouse UC&C Summit

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Coming up soon is the annual Wainhouse Summit in Santa Clara, CA. This will by my first time attending, and I’m really looking forward to it. For the past several months I’ve been moonlighting at Wainhouse Research.

Take a quick look at the agenda and you can see what makes this such a unique event. It’s cats and dogs in harmony – or more accurately competitors, users, consultants, and analysts in the same litter box.

Of all the items on the agenda, I think I am looking most forward to The Future of Hosted Lync. It’s an area where Bill and I have a difference of opinion, so we turned to Steve Schwartz, VP of Global UC Architecture at Arkadin. Steve will discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with hosted Lync.

Lync has been a laggard in the cloud and SMB. The question is when not if those two change. When it does change, it will likely be service providers in the center ring. Evidently, this year’s Summit has a record number of Service Providers attending.

Speaking of Service providers, Bill and I have kicked off a new research series at Wainhouse called the Power Series. The idea is to identify leaders within specific ecosystems. The first Power Series Research report will be BroadSoft based providers. We are looking at  top providers, evaluating their capabilities and services, and intend to rank them in a published report this Fall. For more information see here.

Also at the summit I am looking forward to learning more about Video as a Service. Video and Wainhouse are like peanut butter and jelly. I think VaaS makes a ton of sense – the hard part is determining which way to go.

Ira Weinstein will share his vast knowledge on VaaS. Based on what we’ve seen with servers, storage, and UC – there’s good reason to expect every MCU to become a service too. Video is central to UC. Every major UC vendor offers some degree of video now, so the question is will a single vendor solution such as Cisco or Avaya beat out the best of breed approaches such as Mitel/Vidyo or AnyUC/Polycom.

In addition to Ira’s presentation, there is also going to be a panel ‘Stepping Beyond the Meeting Room’ with representation from Acano, Compunetix, AGT, and Starleaf. Of these vendors, I am most familiar with Acano, and I really like what they are doing. (see my 2013 interview with Acano President OJ Winge). Starleaf also strikes me as a very interesting service.

Video, UC, and aaS are all moving toward each other. Sometimes we now call this UC&C, or UCC&C (communications, collaboration, and cloud). Many of the competitive differences can be found in which comes first. For example, Lync is more about collaboration and Cisco is more about (video) communication. There’s good logic that these differences will disappear as competitive solutions inevitably become homogenous. Or, the differences could become greater as the solutions become more specialized.

Dave Michels