ITEXPO Keynoters Announced

We are thrilled to announce a slew of top notch keynoters for the upcoming ITEXPO which takes place in Miami, FL Jan 20-22, 2010. I will share them with you by first explaining why they were invited:

A keynote picture from ITEXPO East 2009 in Miami


Open Source

One of the biggest trends in tech this last decade has been open source and while you may not know this, I was a UNIX (the Linux precursor) system admin at TMC back in 1982 or so and I am a big fan of this OS which is reliable, stable and the strong basis for cost-effective solutions in a number of fields. Without a doubt, Asterisk is the major force in the open-source communications space and as such, Digium’s CEO Danny Windham (the company behind Asterisk) was the perfect choice to address the audience of businesses, carriers and resellers. By the way, Digium Asterisk World (DAW) is collocated at this show and I hear it just sold out of exhibit spaces and my team is looking for ways to get the waiting list
of companies into an expanded DAW pavilion on the exhibit hall floor.

Digium Asterisk World Photos from ITEXPO East 2009 this year


Google Voice vs. AT&T

Google Voice has been one of the most disruptive influences in telecom these past years and this service has single-handedly become a point of public argument between the search leader and Apple and AT&T – with the FCC acting as referee of sorts. The argument revolves around net neutrality – the concept that carriers will apply discrimination to traffic on their networks based upon traffic, application type or source. Google obviously wants their services to run on any network in an unencumbered fashion while AT&T has said since 1995 when they were SBC that they want to charge for their pipes. AT&T actually then pointed out to the FCC that Google Voice does not terminate all calls on its free Google Voice service meaning it is not adhering to the principles of net neutrality. The reason of course as Google points out is traffic pumping and bizarre intercarrier compensation rules which allow some rural carriers to charge exorbitant rates for calls terminating in their areas. Craig Walker founded Grand Central, the company purchased by Google and the basis for Google Voice and as the Group Product Manager for the Real Time Communications Group at Google, he was a natural person to invite to speak with us at the show. It seems his accomplishments have unleashed a firestorm of controversy which should hopefully clean up some of the ugly mess that is telecom policy and regulation.

Exhibit hall pictures from ITEXPO East 2009 in Miami

itexpo-east-2009-exhibit-hall.jpg itexpo-east-2009-exhibit-hall-aisle.jpg

HD Voice/SIP and Video

Another major trend in our markets is that of HD voice, video adoption and of course SIP endpoints. AT ITEXPO last year, we had the first panel in the world focusing on HD voice (video) and since then I am excited to see other conference organizers throwing their hat in the HD ring. A major player in all of the above spaces is Polycom and they have done an amazing job of working with disparate vendors on interoperability issues which has moved the market forward by reducing the friction caused by proprietary endpoints. In the world of video, the company has been a major player – developing telepresence systems all the way down to video phones. To get a bead on where this market is heading we invited Polycom Co-Founder, and the CTO of the Voice Communications Group Jeff Rodman to join us as a keynoter.

HD Voice Panel I moderated from ITEXPO East 2009 in Miami


No matter how you break out the IP communications market, Skype is likely a factor in changing the market in a pro-consumer manner. By giving away global voice calling with quality which far exceeds the PSTN, they have disrupted while getting users used to better voice quality. On top of that, they give away video calling as well, making them a company which excites consumers and scares carriers and anyone else who dares compete with their network of hundreds of millions of subscribers.

Interview I had with Skype’s Ian Robin

Skype has been making a major push into the enterprise and is working on enhancing relationships with carriers as well. They are even looking for channel partners who can share in the newly created revenue streams from a number of products like Skye for SIP. When you take all of this into account, it does make great sense to invite Skype Chief Strategy Officer Christopher Dean to speak, doesn’t it?

Smartphones, Wireless and Smart Ecosystems

One of the biggest trends in the world of communications is smart devices and ecosystems. What is an ecosystem you ask? Well it is a group of companies who develop products which work with a product or service offered by a host company or companies. The iTunes App Store may be the best example but certainly Avaya’s DevConnect or Cisco’s Partner Programs are good examples as well. You may know that TMC has focused a tremendous amount of resources on educating the world on smart ecosystems via our new SPEC site. I truly believe ecosystems have a bright future.

In order to bring attendees up to speed on all these topics we invited two top keynoters to present on the matter. Sprint’s Mathew Oommen is the vice president of device and technology development at the company and uniquely positioned to share with us his company’s view on the future of wireless technology. Oh and by the way, be sure to check out my recent interview with Sprint’s Wayne Ward who heads up the company’s M2M activities (did I mention there is a collocated M2M conference at ITEXPO?).

To get a handle on wireless devices as they pertain to ecosystems we invited Brian Higgins the Executive Director for Ecosystem Development within Verizon Wireless to join us so we can learn where the company thinks the market is headed. Verizon has been very ambitious in its goal to develop an ecosystem of products and applications which interoperate in the hope of one-upping the iTunes App Store.

We continue to work to add fantastic new speakers to our roster and you can expect this ITEXPO to be the most comprehensive and educational ever and a must-attend. I personally hope to see you there.

Oh and by the way, we have secured great rates this year at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel – you can save $150/night if you book now – the rate is $249 vs. what is typically a $399 rate at prime season. There are many advantages to staying at the show hotel such as networking, etc – and I have always been a fan of the Loews. In fact I was a guest the first day the hotel opened about ten years ago or so.

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