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ITEXPO: A "Very Cool Time to Be" in IP Communications
[January 27, 2010]

ITEXPO: A "Very Cool Time to Be" in IP Communications

Group Editorial Director
Last week’s ITEXPO (News - Alert) East 2010 in Miami – by all accounts an overwhelming success – saw a keynote room literally overflowing with attendees to hear with experts from several corners of the communications world see as the key drivers of the communications space over the next several years.
Digium (News - Alert) CEO Danny Windham looked at the past decade in telephony, noting that, “The telephony industry that existed at the beginning of the decade has little resemblance to [that of] today,” Windham said during the keynote.

Senior IT architect Jeremy Wadhams talked about Yahoo’s adoption of Asterisk as a corporate-wide telephony platform, including a demonstration of a custom Web application that integrates Web-based email  and voice mail, as well as the corporate directory and other features. CEO David Erickson considered the HD Voice market and the benefits that will drive its adoption in the coming years. “Why will it grow quickly?” he asked. “Because, when you talk in HD, it makes conversations easier to understand.”
Skype’s (News - Alert) CSO Christopher Dean discussed the need for 4G wireless, even at a time when only about 20 percent of mobile users are equipped with 3G access. We are reaching an “inflection point,” he said, where 4G will ultimately be driven by integrated, network-connected consumer devices and applications.
Verizon Wireless’ executive director for ecosystem development Brian Higgins continued the 4G conversation, focusing on the LTE (News - Alert) market, noting that we are in the midst of a transition from an Internet of people to an Internet of things.  The goal, he says, is to put real intelligence and connectivity into anything that can take advantage of it (for more on connected devices check out the Smart Products, Smart Grid, and M2M sites on TMCnet).
And Polycom (News - Alert) CTO Jeff Rodman took a birds-eye view at how all the technologies discussed by ITEXPO East keynoters would eventually play out, helping lead the world to the holy grail of business productivity where, “You work where you are… wherever that is.”
The guiding forces, he says, that will allow users to focus on their conversations rather than the tools they are using are: telepresence, scalability, interoperability, and global reach. In order to achieve a shared, unified communications experience that will enable truly location-agnostic communications, technology must move past the challenges of richness, accuracy, reliability, breadth, and access, to allow users to simply “be” – not be somewhere – just be.
We have gotten a taste of these characteristics in small doses, with rich media and global access, but the key to true global convergence is the development, acceptance, and adoption of unified, accessible standards, without which Rodman says the benefits of technology will be muted.
Meaningful growth, he says, will come from reliability – where packet loss, missed and dropped calls, and connectivity lapses will be non-existent – as well as from global convergence – where carrier networks and infrastructure vendors all embrace global interconnectivity to enable inter-enterprise connectivity without imposed limits.
As communications networks become increasingly globalized, he predicts the next few years will be extremely exciting, noting five trends that will shape the next generation of communications and make these years “a very cool time to ‘be.’”
1.       IP transformation will make the network transparent.
2.       IP communications will target richness of life and embrace the idea of “being.
3.       HD voice and video will become ubiquitous.
4.       Reliability and ease of use become more important than ever.
5.       The ITEXPO audience will be the key players in transforming communicating into being.
To make it all happen, we must all avoid thinking about the impossible. Rather, he says, we must consider, “If it were possible, what can I do with it?”
Mark ITEXPO West 2010 on your calendars today – you won’t want to miss the next set of exciting keynotes that will continue these discussions and begin many more.  ITEXPO West 2010 will take place October 2-4, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

Erik Linask is Group Editorial Director of TMC, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to 2,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erik Linask

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