As a provider of NFV solutions for cloud-based service providers, WebRTC for rich media processing for VoLTE and mobile services through signaling, Dialogic is ushering in a new generation of engagement, collaboration and communications opportunities thanks to innovations in app development and shared media.
Alan Percy (News - Alert), Senior Director of Product Marketing at Dialogic will be joining a couple panels at the upcoming ITEXPO Florida. “NFV from PoC to Reality”, where NFV use cases, vendors and market drivers will be explored. And, “Making the Best Choice: Open Source vs Commercial Softswtiches”, where Percy and colleagues will delve into carrier network transformation. Percy took some time to speak with TMC (News - Alert) on technology transformation, Dialogic and ITEXPO.
1.Is technology changing business for the better? Why/why not?
There is no doubt that connectivity, mobility and cloud technologies have the potential of making business more efficient and competitive. The challenge for many businesses is ensuring that new technologies are applied in such a way that will actually improve efficiency in a measureable way. It’s all too common to new technologies deployed in the workplace with insufficient training that go terribly wrong, often disrupting business processes, frustrating users and in the end hurt productivity.
2.Have we finally reached an inflection point with Unified Communications adoption? What is driving or hindering the market?
It does seem that Unified Communications is reaching broad adoption, with analysts reporting a steady increase of deployments and market penetration. Microsoft, Avaya (News - Alert) and Cisco are all key enablers, with steadily growing customer bases.
3. What do you say to industry observers who say UC is dead?
Frankly, I think there trying to stir up controversy in hopes of drawing attention and investment in stand-alone team collaboration tools. I envision that the persistent collaboration features will find their way into UC, allowing teams to communicate and collaborate across time and space more easily.
4.How do you use social media in your daily business? Should social be a major initiative for all businesses?
As you know, I am an active participant on Twitter (News - Alert) and LinkedIn for professional purposes and Facebook and Instagram for family and fun. Like any collaboration tool, social media has its place and can prove highly effective at communicating with groups with similar interests. At the same time, social media has opened up some dark issues, allowing trolls and those with nefarious intent to cause damage. We here within Marketing at Dialogic have worked hard to train users, implement best-practices and make the best of social media.
5.How are collaboration software/services are helping workers today?
Barely a day goes by without my participation in some collaboration session. Whether a multi-party Lync/Skype (News - Alert) conference or a hosted conferencing platform like Webex, on-line collaboration has made communicating with co-workers, customers and partners much easier and at a significantly lower cost. Much of the cost savings comes from a reduction in travel expenses and elimination in toll-calling and legacy telephone line expenses.
6.WebRTC went through a very significant hype cycle. Will its use cases and adoption live up to that hype?
I have to admit that earlier this year, I was deeply concerned that the expectations for WebRTC were seriously over-blown and that without universal support by the browser and mobile platforms, WebRTC was going to fall flat. However, soon after taking my new role at Dialogic I was introduced to some of the customers that were working on real applications, often working around the browser/mobile limitations. An example was a Public Safety application deployment at Towson University by SaferMobility– seeing the deployment live gave me a fresh perspective and belief that WebRTC will eventually live up to many of the promises made during the height of the hype-cycle.
7.What is the biggest security threat currently facing businesses?
The “consumerization of IT” continues to create giant security threats for businesses. With mobile devices, tablets, personal computers and other devices gaining access to sensitive information, the chance for intrusion and data theft only grows. It’s a difficult balancing act to provide employees the tools they need/want without exposing the business to unnecessary risk. The trends in BYOD only make the challenge more difficult, potentially putting important company data in the cache directories of personal devices that can be easily stolen or accidentally lost.
8.Has corporate awareness of security threats increased over the past year? Have security practices been adjusted as a result?
With the regular stream of national news stories about data theft, I have to believe that IT professionals are acutely aware of the risks. The challenge is to find the balance point where employees have the tools they need to be effective, while mitigating the majority of the risk. “I don’t need to out-run a bear, I just need to be faster than you…”
9.Should mobile devices have integrated software allowing for separation of business and personal apps and data?
The mash-up of personal and professional information is definitely a concern that only recently has begun to be addressed. As she works with sensitive pharmaceutical information, my poor wife has two mobile devices, making the “where’s my phone?” ritual almost entertaining.
10.How is cloud computing shaking up your product/service offerings? How has it impacted your competitive market?
We at Dialogic are strongly committed to cloud computing, Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and the positive potential it has in the real-time communications markets. We’ve prepared our PowerMedia XMS media server, session border controller and softswitch platforms for NFV implementations and have already seen strong demand by service providers.
11.How are companies benefitting or losing out from the move to cloud solutions like Office 365?
During last year’s keynote at Microsoft’s Lync Conference, the theme was “anything from anywhere” – sounds good, but I have to admit I was a little skeptical. After having a laptop stolen earlier that year, the message resounded to me. Interestingly, my career change this last summer gave me an opportunity to take a closer look at how I organize and manage my files and materials used in my daily job. As part of that move, I implemented OneDrive for Business, allowing all my work files to reside in the cloud and be accessible from both my work-supplied laptop and personal Surface tablet. Now that it’s been six months, I have to admit there were some start-up kinks between the Windows 7 laptop and One Drive for Business. Fortunately, I was able to get an updated version via the Microsoft TAP program and the problems have been resolved. I now have access to all my files (both personal and work-related) on my laptop, tablet and Windows phone with a back-up in the cloud. Edits to documents are quickly synchronized with the cloud versions of the files. I could lose all my devices tomorrow and not miss a beat. “Anything from anywhere” is now a reality.
12.What, if any, wearable tech products do you use? How do they make you more productive?
I have to admit that I’m a “recovering Fitbit addict” – last winter my wife and I both ended up with the popular activity monitors, comparing our progress to reach 10,000 steps a day. What started out as a friendly joint goal, slowly turned into an unhealthy obsession that left you feeling depressed if a daily goal was not achieved. To reduce the angst, I tried switching to weekly goals, not taking each day so seriously, but instead trying to achieve a total of 70,000 steps for the week. Before I knew it, I was a slave to this rubber band on my wrist and the website was nagging me. An accidental swim finally spared me, putting the both the Fitbit and me at rest. Six month later I am happier, less stressed and still a regular daily dog walker. I’ll never put a wearable fitness monitor on my wrist again….
13.Will wearable tech become a major enterprise technology? What will drive or hinder adoption?
Bluetooth and DECT headsets are a clear candidate for enterprise-wide adoption. With integration to UC clients and mobile devices, the headset gives many opportunities for improved access and better communications. I’ve got a collection of headsets that I’ve tested at length – the only challenge for most is battery life. Forgetting to recharge a device overnight will lead to a mid-call scramble to find a plug-in headset.
14.What technology has had the greatest impact on your ability to perform your job in the past year? Explain.
It might be a tie between Unified Communications and Office 365 - both making my virtual workplace arrangement possible. As more businesses are adopting distributed workforces, the ability to reach each other, communicate and share materials seamlessly has improved significantly. In my own personal situation, I work seamlessly with other co-workers both inside and outside the office.
15.What has been the most impactful development or trend in 2016 that is changing how industry players need to do business?
This next year has a few interesting challenges – one being the shift to consumption-based pricing for cloud-based applications. Previous to consumption-based pricing, businesses either bought hardware appliances or a one-time purchase or licensed software on an annual basis, essentially pre-paying for the use of the function/application, using CAPEX to manage the costs. Consumption-based pricing shifts the model to an OPEX for the customer (which they like), but significantly disrupts the cash-flow for the vendor, which must adopt a new business model. Not all vendors are prepared to make the shift to consumption-based pricing, creating issues with sales compensation and operating expenses.
16.What are you most looking forward to at ITEXPO Ft. Lauderdale?
As always, I find my time at ITEXPO events an opportunity to network with partners, analysts and industry consultants who otherwise would be difficult to catch face-to-face. Nothing replaces a sit-down or meal together giving an opportunity to get caught up, share thoughts and maintain an open dialog.
17.Why should attendees come to your session/visit your booth?
Without spoiling the surprise, Dialogic has some great new solutions on the way in 2016, many of which will be announced at ITEXPO. We hope that attendees will make an effort to visit the Dialogic booth (#629) to learn about the new solutions and have an opportunity to see a live demonstration.
In addition to exhibiting, Dialogic will be participating in two speaking sessions:
1) On the Network Transformation track on Tuesday at 10AM, sharing the results of a survey on open source adoption in service providers.
2) On the NFV track, discussing Open Source in Carrier Networks at 11 AM on Tuesday.
The stage is set, as the industry will be turning to ITEXPO to see what the next frontier of business communications has in store. From communications app development to WebRTC and beyond, Percy and his team are ready to welcome this new era, will you be there to see it happen?