ITEXPO was by all measures a success. From my perspective, the conferences went well, with some of the sessions overflowing into the halls. Attendance at InGate’s
SIP Trunking seminar surpassed expectations, and the Voice Peering Fabric sessions were so popular we needed to move the venue to a larger room.
Yesterday’s General Sessions went well, with keynotes from Cisco’s
Laurent Philonenko and Spanlink’s
Brett Shockley (they gave a shared presentation) and Michael Tribolet of Vonage
The Spanlink/Cisco keynote focused in on the transformational power of unified communications. Cisco’s Philonenko spoke about how the world is changing, and the effect that gaming, social networking and time shifting are having on today’s youth.
“People no longer act today as they did 10 years ago,” he said.
Philonenko polled the audience, asking, “How many of you are wearing a watch?” The majority raised their hands. “We are old school because we wear watches. Today’s youth no longer wears watches they look at their cellphone to know what time it is.”
The effect on business is such that this type of behavior creates a whole new marketplace. “Unified communications is a huge new market and it’s all about unifying business processes and communications,” he added.
Shockley told the audience that transformational success requires a vision. “We need to understand the key business goals,” he said. “Not just telecom or IT goals. Our job is to help businesses understand what’s possible with technology, and of course understand the impact on people and process.”
Vonage’s Tribolet (who has lost 20 pounds recently) spoke to the audience about his company’s objective, which remains to help people communicate when where and how they choose.
He cited statistics to drive home his point that broadband adoption creates opportunity.
“There are 230 million broadband subscribers today, and according to IDC numbers, that is continuing to grow.” Pointing to the monitor displaying IDC’s expectation of 315–320 million broadband subscribers by 2009, Tribolet said, “That’s our market opportunity.”
He also presented some good numbers from eMarketer and the FCC, and even included some company estimates; Tribolet told the audience that VoIP now comprises a growing portion of total deployed fixed lines. The statistics showed that by 2011, 33 million VoIP lines would be deployed, representing nearly 20% of a projected total of 190m deployed wirelines.
Tribolet also echoed a theme of the conference when he said that consumers are beginning to look beyond price and entering a phase where they are demanding value.
The afternoon session featured a panel of experts that comprised our Service Provider Shootout. On the panel were speakers representing Global Touch Telecom, BandTel, RNK Communications, 8x8, Earthlink, and Sunrocket.
As moderator, I had prepared a series of questions, but the audience had questions of their own, and the panel discussion took on a life of its own as the panelists offered their expertise to the audience. From my standpoint, this is exactly where the real value of these panel discussions comes from — live, interactive audience participation.
And during last night’s reception, sponsored by Single Pipe, I had the opportunity to mingle with many of the conference speakers and attendees, who told me how great the show had been for them as well. One trio who net at the show told me that the sessions were perfectly orchestrated for their needs. Of course, that’s a very gratifying feeling.
So that brings us back to today, Friday January 26, 2007. The show might be closing today, but I’ve already got a stack of business cards from people who shared their ideas on how we can make our events even better for the next installment, which is taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center this coming September 10–12.
In the meantime, starting with tonight’s plane ride back home I’ll be putting together the finishing touches to the conference program for the upcoming Communications Developer Conference
which is scheduled for May 15–17 in Santa Clara, CA.
The end of the conference is a bittersweet experience. After spending a week in Ft. Lauderdale meeting people, exchanging ideas, and learning about new solutions and technologies, it’s tough to leave. And yet, when I think if the little smiling faces that will wake me up tomorrow (way too early, I’m sure) I can’t wait to go home.
It’s been a great week, a great event. I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who participated and added to the success of the show with their contributions — the exhibitors, the speakers, the sponsors, the convention center staff, my awesome TMC team, and — most of all — the attendees who traveled from far and wide to attend Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO East.
Travel safely everyone!