One of the great advantages of attending a live conference is the ability to network with some of the brightest minds in the industry such as analysts and other industry thought leaders who help give us a sense of where markets are heading. The tech space is not slowing down from an innovation perspective – and it certainly isn’t going to see less product introductions in the future. How do you determine how the latest products and solutions can help your business? Is the cloud right for you or is an on-premise system a smarter move based on your security and compliance needs? These are just some of the questions you can get answered at ITEXPO and 14 related events such as 4G Wireless Evolution (4GWE), Smart Grid Summit, Social CRM Expo, Super WiFi Summit, and M2M Evolution.
One analyst who will be at the show is Mark Ricca, Partner & Sr. Analyst at IntelliCom Analytics. He is a major expert in the telecom space and worth listening to. I recently sent some interview questions to Mark and here are his answers. Interviews such as these are intended as an “appetizer” helping you get familiar with various speakers and exhibitor before you come to the “main course” of education and networking only a live event can provide.
If that isn’t enough to bring you to Miami in February, did I mention the cold spell much of the country is experiencing? How about the single-digit temps on my way to work last week? Check out this reading of 8 degrees. If that doesn’t convince you – what about really low airfares to Florida? I know, I know – where do I sign? Glad you asked – right here.
Here is the interview:
1. What was the most significant technology trend in 2010 and what impact will it have in 2011?
Answer: There were 5 major technology trends in 2010 that will continue through 2011 and well beyond. They are: 1) Mobility, with particular emphasis on the significant improvement in Smart Phone capabilities, usage and benefits; 2) Social Networking focusing on business use and marketing benefits; 3) Video Offers in all forms and flavors; 4) Virtualization ranging from Data Center-to-Desktop, and 5) Cloud Computing.
2. What impact will the continued growth of cloud computing have on the communications industry in 2011?
Answer: Cloud Computing is one of those technologies that you can ask 5 people to describe…and receive 7 different definitions. The potential benefits of Cloud Computing play well in this current economic environment where businesses need to do more with less, and Operating Expenses are generally preferred over Capital Expenses. The good news is that Cloud Computing will continue to be hot in 2011, and a lot of the current hype and misunderstanding will give-way to clear-thinking and reality.
3. Who will be the mobile winners in 2011 out of Google Android, Apple, Microsoft, Nokia and RIM?
Answer: In my opinion, all of them, but in varying degrees. In fact the real winners are the users that are afforded a wide-range of choices in terms of features, form-factors and price points.
4. What impact will mobile technology have on the tech space in 2011?
Answer: As previously mentioned Mobility will continue to be one of the 5 Major technology trends impacting the Business and Consumer segments for many years. The underlying drivers are: 1) The growing need for users to communicate and access information from anywhere, at anytime, in any form, and 2) The continuing stream of beneficial applications that are available on Smart Phones.
5. Where are the best opportunities in the tech space this year?
Answer: As previously mentioned, Cloud Computing, Mobility, Social Networking, Video and Virtualization. These powerful technologies, properly applied…can deliver meaningful and measurable benefits to end users.
6. How can technology change the world for the better?
Answer: In my opinion technology has been improving conditions in most parts of the world for many years and will continue to do so. When I came into this industry (many years ago), the basic challenges to business were: time, distance, cost, productivity and competition. All of these business barriers continue to be favorably and measurably impacted by the well planned application of information technology.
7. What impact has social media had on how you interact with your customers? How do you measure its effectiveness?
Answer: A growing number of businesses are employing and trialing Social Media. Some are doing it very well, and others are not. In the vast majority of cases, the desired results are: 1) Improve the perceptions of the business, and 2) Increased sales. Similar to advertising, the number of variables involved makes the direct measurement of effectiveness difficult…but not impossible.
8. How have you leveraged social networking as an internal collaboration tool?
Answer: At IntelliCom Analytics we’re working on this, and making good progress. So stay tuned.
9. The FCC has recently voted to support net neutrality. Is net neutrality necessary, or will it present more challenges than it will solve?
Answer: On important issues the U.S. government tends to do two things extremely well. 1) Absolutely nothing, and 2) Overreact. I believe that some FCC guidelines are necessary in this area. The challenge will be for them to not overreact and complicate the situation.
10. What will be the greatest technological development in 2011? Why?
Answer: I believe there will be two “great” areas of continued technological development in 2011. 1) Further advancements in the capabilities of Smart Phones, and their application programs, and 2) Advancements in the capabilities of Video offers, particularly in the areas of interoperability, reliability and cost-effectiveness.
11. Why is your session a must-attend at ITEXPO?
Answer: IntelliCom Analytics has developed a “track” of 5 complementary sessions starting at 9am and concluding at 3:15pm on Wednesday February 2nd. My colleague Frank Stinson and I will be presenting and moderating the sessions.
The session titles are:
- Overview of the Rapidly Transforming Enterprise Communications Environment.
- Developing an Effective RFP for the New Environment.
- A vendor Panel: Responding to the Evolving Enterprise Communications Requirements.
- End User Panel: Solution Selection and Deployment Tips and Techniques.
- Summary and Key Take-Away Points.
Attendees will receive “field-based” observations, tips and techniques on a range of timely and relevant subjects. The information and insights will be beneficial to end users, providers, developers and channel partners.
12. What other topics should be at the top of attendees’ lists?
Answer: The ITEXPO Keynotes are always a “Must.” The speakers always provide interesting and useful information and insights.
13. What new and exciting products/solutions can we expect to see from your company in 2011?
Answer: In addition to our traditional range of IntelliCom Analytics Professional Services and Market Research Programs, we’ve developed some assessment “tools.” These tools are designed to assist end users in conducting side-by-side comparisons of communication system licensing and endpoint devices. The tools will assist end users in navigating through the complexities to understand the differences in licensing rules, costs and end-point feature / functionality.
14. Please make one surprising prediction for 2011.
Answer: I don’t know that this can be considered “surprising,” but mergers and acquisitions will accelerate in 2011. The pace of change and escalating cost of R&D requires “deep-pockets” that many smaller players can’t support. Mergers and acquisitions are one way to deal with this requirement.