It is interesting that VoiceCon 2010 was held at the same time as CTIA. Once one of the premier trade shows devoted to voice communications technology, VoiceCon has devolved into a rather tired and abbreviated gathering whose principal claim to fame is the extent to which it pushes open source standards for telecom service delivery.
This year's opening keynote by Avaya CEO Kevin Kennedy was indicative of exactly where VoiceCon has gone -- which is to wireless solutions. Rather than pronounce any new vision, Kennedy instead used his time to make a plea for greater acceptance of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) for service delivery. The highlight of the talk came when he demonstrated how SIP could enable unified communications over a smartphone.
Wherever one looked, the glitz in vendors' demonstrations almost always involved pulling out a wireless device to show how fixed communications could be extended to the wireless space. Interestingly, the largest booths all seemed to feature vendors that provide wireless solutions.
VoiceCon is dead. Long live Enterprise Connect!
This points to the growing irrelevance of pure voice communications in the telecommunications industry, specifically in business communications. Unified communications -- which extends the concept of communications to include email, texting, social networking and wireless solutions -- is now much more relevant with respect to conducting business and supporting business processes. Undoubtedly, this is why the old VoiceCon is no more.
Going forward, the show's new name will be Enterprise Connect; the idea being, I suppose, that the focus was pretty much always on the enterprise. Now, that notion is explicit; but the timing couldn't be worse. Enterprise has been morphing for some time, and the new enterprise looks a lot more like a small to medium-sized business. Such an enterprise values mobility as much as, if not more than, flexible fixed phone systems.