In 1999, we were all talking about ‘Voice over IP’ and then came Call Manager, Unity, and a few years later IM and Presence. We’ve seen a few new features here and there, the migration from Windows to the appliance model, off-prem extension with Expressway, but by in large, it’s the same old thing that we’ve been doing for the last decade and a half. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. It’s a great thing that enterprise communications has been so consistent – and reliable – but the last 12 months has really made it obvious to me that we’re at a technology precipice, not a slow evolution.
Collaboration is going cloud. There’s no denying it. Now I’m not saying that there won’t be on-prem hardware or components, sure there will be, but why would you replicate all these capabilities customer after customer, site after site, if you can do it once, manage it once, and did anybody mention those magic words ‘recurring revenue’? With new technologies such as Cisco Spark, the recent release of the SparkBoard, hosted collaboration offerings, solutions like Tropo, etc, its all ‘cloud, cloud, cloud’. The industry has spoken, and I hear you.
With the shift to cloud, we’re starting to see other technologies starting to touch collab. Internet Of Things is one of them. As an engineer, I’m constantly reinventing myself as technology shifts occur, and in most cases that means picking up an additional skill set as opposed to leaving one behind. For me, I predict that IoT is going to be an area in which there is going to be unparalleled demand for skilled engineers, so I’m brushing up not only my electronics and communications skills, but also my development skills. As an engineer, not only do I need to understand the protocols moving our data around, i need to understand the code putting them on the wire, and the hardware interfacing with the sensors and devices under control / devices under observation. I even took some vacation time from work in the coming weeks to attend a virtual IoT bootcamp. There are a lot of players getting into this space, Cisco included, and I can’t wait to get my hands on each of their development kits to see what they bring to the table. But most of all, I look forward to the customers challenges that I’ll be faced with solving using these new toolkits….. and how to tie it back into the rest of the collaboration tools we’re already using.