Next Stop Phoenix #CollabSummit

by Dave Michels

This Week is the Cisco Collaboration Summit in Phoenix, Arizonia.

This is Cisco’s first event since closing on its acquisition of BroadSoft, so I am hopeful to get some answers to how the tech and vision of the two companies are merging. I see that Tom Puorro and Michael Tessler (Team UC/UCaaS) are on the agenda on day one, soon after Rowan Trollope and Jonathan Rosenberg open the event. There’s a separate session on day two called Cisco Calling and Unified Communications: Deep Dive.

Also on the agenda is The Cisco Flex Plan suggesting a change to licensing, and a Customer Journey session with the new Customer Care (contact center) leader Vasili Triant. There’s a session called the Next Generation Meeting Experience that hints at new hardware since it’s presented by Snorre Kjesbu.

The Collaboration Summit is a two day event this year with an optional bonus day on Customer Care (making it a three day event). Most of my time there is to absorb, but I will also present a session on Collaboration Trends.

The Collaboration Summit is the biggest and most informative vendor-hosted event that is focused on enterprise communications. That’s because Cisco Collaboration covers so much (including UC, video, messaging, contact center, integrations, and meetings, that span across software and hardware for both premises-based and cloud-delivered deployments). Microsoft used to have a Lync Conference, but it’s long gone. Skype for Business and Teams are now parts of its larger events such as Build and Ignite. Many other vendors put on two days events, but none are as broad as the Collaboration Summit. This should be a big event considering BroadSoft and the fact that there was no Collaboration Summit last year.

What I hope to Learn:

  • Clarity on Spark: There is something up with Cisco Spark. As many noted, Jonathan Rosenberg’s keynote at Enterprise Connect mostly focused on WebEx. The word “Spark” does not appear on my agenda, and event organizers offered up two hashtags, #CollabSummit and #CiscoWebEx. The unthinkable is, of course, unthinkable. Although, I will say that team Cisco is using Spark heavily for pre-event interactions. There are four separate rooms setup for analysts, and there’s lot’s of pre-event interaction occurring in them.
  • An update on AI. Cisco put Nvidia chips in its room systems for something. Earlier this year, Cisco announced a new virtual assistant was coming. I also expect to hear about AI use cases in the contact center.
  • Clarity on BroadSoft. Especially Team-One and how the acquisition may change BroadCloud.
  • An update on contact center strategy. My guess is Transera will become the strategic platform.
  • What is OJ doing? OJ Winge mysteriously changed jobs a few months ago and is heading up a “special project.” Unlike the common euphemism for CV workshop, the special project appears to be a special project. Something to do with Switzerland.

Soon after the event, I will publish a TalkingPointz Research Note with an opinionated summary of the event.

Collaboration Summit is a big event. Total attendance is expected at 1200 including about 40 industry analysts. That’s a big thing to organize in general, but the Cisco analyst relations team deserves some additional recognition because this week is also the deadline for Gartner’s UC Magic Quadrant response (Gartner issues an RFI to assist with the creation of its Magic Quadrant report to be published later this year).