Innovation Showcase 2012

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We are doing the second annual Innovation Showcase at Enterprise Connect later this month.

This is a great opportunity for younger companies to get some enterprise love. Enterprise Connect actually provides booth, hotel, and travel for the selected companies. This year, we received 15 applications and had a hell of time picking four. The parameter for selection is quite broad – innovative approach to enterprise communications. That’s three words (innovative, enterprise, and communications) that few people actually can agree on meaning. As policy, we do not publicly list companies that were not selected as we don’t want to suggest they are not innovative. The four companies selected for the showcase this year are:

  • Hookflash enables rich, real-time voice, video and text in an innovative new combination with social media. Hookflash is a “social business-real-time communications” platform providing a new way to communicate and collaborate. The first service/client/app, “Hookflash for iPad” is designed for the iPad.
  • Nuvixa delivers value to its enterprise customers by dramatically improving the way they communicate using video. Nuvixa is leveraging the meteoric growth rate in 3D sensing sparked by Microsoft’s Kinect Sensor to bring an incredibly rich palette of end-user functionality to the on-line conferencing space. This revolutionary new functionality had only been possible with dramatically more expensive niche solutions.
  • Wrike provides project collaboration software that helps companies get things done in real time. Customers rely on Wrike for working on their tasks and projects in the cloud. Wrike also is the first app to bring a flexible graph model for work data: all project ideas, details, schedules and discussions are connected in one spot.
  • Vidtel enables any-to-any cloud video communications. The Vidtel Connect service allows enterprises to keep their video systems securely behind their firewalls, yet reachable with a simple email-like Vidtel calling address. Additionally, enterprise video systems (e.g., Polycom, Cisco, LifeSize) can interoperate with consumer-grade video communication technologies (Skype and Google Talk) with the Vidtel bridging service.

Each of these companies will have a booth/kiosk in the exhibit hall and do an onstage demo during a general session (with me) on Tuesday or Wednesday morning.

I am lobbying the folks at Enterprise Connect to greatly expand the Showcase for 2013. I would like to see 8 companies in the showcase – and a full hour dedicated to on-stage demos and pitches. Of course, if it is this big, the conference won’t be expected to pick up airfare and hotel for all eight. That would be the trade off – a more expensive event, but more visibility. The showcase is unique for a few reasons:

  • Applicants must have an enterprise reference account. It is too hard to draw a line between consumer and business applications any more. Instead, we allow enterprises to decide. If an enterprise bought into it, it must be an enterprise application.
  • The applicants are pre-screened/juried before the conference. We look at each company through CIO glasses to select the best of the best.

I tend to look at the technology of these companies, but the CIOs go right to their supportability. “I would not touch that firm with a 10′ pole” said one of the judges about a company with some particularly interesting technology. He explained that the technology was great, but not ready for prime time. That his support costs would outweigh the benefits of the solution. (as a policy – judging conversations are also kept confidential so I have to keep the example general).

If you are attending Enterprise Connect, be sure to check out these firms on the exhibit hall floor and attend the general sessions for a 5 minute demo.

See NoJitter

Press Release:

UBM TechWeb’s Enterprise Connect Announces Winners of Annual Innovation Showcase

Award Recognizes Leading-Edge Startups in Enterprise Communications & Collaboration

 

SAN FRANCISCO, March 1, 2012 – Enterprise Connect, produced by UBM TechWeb, today announced the winners of its annual Innovation Showcase competition. The four winners of the competition will present their ideas and approaches during opening sessions at Enterprise Connect Orlando at 9:00 am on both Tuesday and Wednesday, March 27 and 28. Enterprise Connect is happening March 26-29, 2012 at the Gaylord Palms Hotel in Orlando, FL.  For more information visit: http://www.enterpriseconnect.com/orlando/.

Innovation Showcase seeks innovative start-up companies that are revolutionizing enterprise communications and collaboration. The criteria for eligibility included having at least one enterprise reference customer for the nominated product or service; applicants must focus on enterprise communication and/or collaboration and have revenues of less than $5 million. Submissions for the Innovation Showcase were judged based on the new idea, product, or service presented for improving enterprise communications and/or collaboration.

Selected from over 15 submissions, this year’s winners include:

●      Hookflash (Tuesday, March 27 at 9:00 a.m. from the keynote stage)

●      Nuvixa (Wednesday, March 28 at 9:00 a.m. from the keynote stage)

●      Vidtel  (Wednesday, March 28 at 9:00 a.m. from the keynote stage)

●      Wrike (Tuesday, March 27 at 9:00 a.m. from the keynote stage)

“The Innovation Showcase is really growing and it was difficult to pick only four companies from the number of applications received, which included new approaches and solutions for messaging, video, form factors, and configuration tools. Communications is growing and broadening in so many ways – not a single application was around just voice,” said Dave Michels, CEO of Verge1, who managed the Innovation Showcase selection process. “We look forward to learning more from each of these companies around their particular solution on the keynote stage at Enterprise Connect.”

“Enterprise Connect is excited to present these outstanding young companies to our audience of enterprise communications decision-makers,” said Fred Knight, Enterprise Connect GM and Co-Chair. “They exemplify the rapid changes and disruptive potential that we see emerging in the industry over the next few years, and we think our audience will agree that they open up new possibilities for how enterprise end users communicate and do their work.”

In addition to the Innovation Showcase winners’ presentations from the Enterprise Connect keynote stage, the four companies will be showcased during the Enterprise Connect Exhibition in the Innovation Theater on the show floor.

The Enterprise Connect Innovation Showcase was coordinated by Dave Michels, who blogs frequently on NoJitter.com, Enterprise Connect’s editorial Web site. Michels, who has his own blog athttps://talkingpointz.com/ also served as one of the judges, and was joined on the Innovation Showcase judging panel by: David Danto, Principal-Consultant – Collaboration/Multimedia/Video, Dimension Data and Director of Emerging Technologies, IMCCA; Ron Anderson-Lehman, past CIO, Continental Airlines; and Israel Del Rio, Senior VP Information Technology, CIO, Revel Entertainment Group.

About Enterprise Connect

 

Enterprise Connect (formerly VoiceCon) is the leading conference and exhibition for enterprise IP Telephony, Converged Networks and Unified Communications in North America. Enterprise Connect® brings corporate IT decision makers together with the industry’s vendors, analysts and consultants to focus on the issues central to enterprise networks and communications. Enterprise Connect® owns and produces No Jitter, (http://www.nojitter.com/), providing daily blogging and analysis of enterprise communications, and it also serves the community with a weekly email newsletter, a Webinar Series and Virtual Events. For more information, visit http://enterpriseconnect.com/.

 About UBM TechWeb

 

UBM TechWeb the global leader in technology media and professional information, enables people and organizations to harness the transformative power of technology. Through its three core businesses – media solutions, marketing services and paid content – UBM TechWeb produces the most respected and consumed brands and media applications in the technology market. More than 14.5 million business and technology professionals (CIOs and IT managers, Web & Digital professionals, Software Developers, Government decision makers, and Telecom providers) actively engage in UBM TechWeb’s communities and information resources monthly. UBM TechWeb brands include: global face-to-face events such as Interop, Web 2.0, Black Hat and Enterprise Connect; award-winning online resources such as InformationWeek, Light Reading, and Network Computing; and market-leading magazines InformationWeek, Wall Street & Technology, and Advanced Trading. UBM TechWeb is a part of UBM plc, one of the world’s largest media businesses as a global provider of news distribution and specialist information services with a market capitalization of more than $2.5 billion.

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Dave Michels