March 3, 2015 Source

Two weeks ago VisionsConnected was present as an exhibitor at the ISE 2015 in the RAI Amsterdam. Together with leading UC vendors and service providers we exhibited in Hall 9 which was dedicated to Unified Collaboration.

Based on my personal observations and conversations with a variety of visitors and exhibitors I would like to share with you my views on what is happening in the industry of Unified Collaboration. But before doing so, I would like to make a couple of remarks to put my views into perspective.


ISE 2015 in Amsterdam is by far the biggest industry event on the globe. We do have both the Infocomm (in the US and Asia) and Enterprise Connect (also in the US). But based on the number of exhibitors and visitors, we can say that the ISE is the biggest one globally.
If this is the case we can also draw the conclusion that if you take this industry seriously, you should present yourself or be present in one way or another. While this industry is also a bit bragging that “the biggest is the best”, we can state that the amount of square meters tells something about the ambition of the exhibitors.


Based on this we can immediately start to draw some outlines. From a vendor perspective, both Cisco, LifeSize, Polycom and Huawei presented themselves massively (based on the size of the booth). ZTE was present too, but smaller and same applies to some other SME focused vendors like StarLeaf, Yealink and Trueconf. Huawei was new on the UC floor this year. Last year they presented themselves somewhere else at the show, but this year they were massively visible. They presented a complete portfolio including video over LTE portophones. Long story short, Huawei is taking Unified Collaboration seriously.

Polycom presented separate video codecs and TV screens, not a word about Skype for business, not a word about what they will do in the cloud but they did demonstrate several voice devices. An interesting fact also was that Polycom planned their global partner conference at the same time as the ISE. Interesting trade off internally Polycom, I would say.

LifeSize was as always very lively. Obvious is that they gained new energy from their cloud strategy. Not sure what their vision is when it comes to collaboration and also an interesting question is whether they are on time?

Cisco presented themselves very professionally. Their complete portfolio could be demonstrated live. They now have solutions ranging from the smartphone, tablet to the small and large meeting room and even the boardroom, with the new immersive telepresence system IX5000. Also an interesting innovation was presented with wireless content sharing (intelligent proximity they call it). From a vendor perspective, Cisco is the winner. However we should take Huawei very seriously.


But where were Avaya and Microsoft? Last year Avaya announced that if you were interested you could meet them during the show. In 2013 they were massively present with their renewed portfolio with Radvision bridges. Can we conclude carefully that Avaya moved out the UC industry?

And what about Microsoft? Last June, during Infocomm, they rented the biggest stand at the show. This year, Microsoft took a different approach: it chose to be present in a hall separated from all other UC vendors. Arguable, Microsoft can do so since they more and more present themselves as a class by themselves, a one-stop shop for all workplace software. This physical separation from all other vendors seems to illustrate the low interest of Microsoft to adopt the open standards as adopted by the industry as a whole. ……..Food for thought, but what did Microsoft show at their booth? Hard to miss their eye-catcher: the Surface Hub, an 84” 4K touchscreen computer. The super large wall mounted tablet has a video camera on each side capturing the presenter as well as a huddle group working simultaneously on the screen. Although the concept is interesting, the product seems immature and not very well catered for remote video collaboration. Microsoft wasn’t very clear on the real killer use case for this device. Although maybe immature, the tendency for super large collaboration touchscreens has been adopted by other vendors as well: ranging from Microsoft to the much less know Infocus Mondopad and many others. It is yet to wait for the first vendor to really connect in-room collaboration to remote participants using these devices.

Furthermore, many webRTC initiatives were presented. We all know that it is too early to judge what webRTC will bring and probably what business model should work with this technology and related service. No doubt we will expect Google be part of this show sooner or later. Let’s see next year where we are with this development.


Last but not least I would like to mention Pexip. Busy booth, steep innovation level and fixing the problem between the “industry veterans”, like Cisco, Polycom and Microsoft. But, as demonstrated they are capable of doing more.

And what about the service providers? At the end, technology and UC equipment is one thing, but who is capable to create a super solid, secured service out of this, with the right user experience and the proof that it works. We could see a variety of demonstrations from Videxio, Videonor and even the 100 million euro Bay investment vehicle; BlueJeans. They all claim to have a solution. The real question is: is it proven, stable, secure and what are their service levels?


In the ramp up to ISE 2015 we have written, together with our partners BIS and Samsung, a series of blogs about our view on the major trends in the industry of Unified Collaboration. The topics vary from WebRTC to the future of offices and the migration of videoconferencing to the desktop. Click here for an overview of the different blogs. Or download the special ISE 2015 blog booklet we have created.


I am already curious to see what innovations, developments, new parties and dropouts there will be next year at the ISE 2016 and whether or not my predictions and expectations will become reality.

Published on 03 march 2015 by Visions Connected
Categories Social Connection