Enterprise Connect 2018: The biggest news from the biggest names

 In IT News/Events, News

Each year, enterprise IT professionals descend on the Gaylord Convention Center in Orlando, Florida for Enterprise Connect 2018.

It’s a week for education, networking, and discussion about the latest trends and newest systems, software, services, and applications in the unified communications and collaboration space.

SHI was there, both on the expo floor and in the general sessions, seeking out the new trends and biggest news. Here’s what we saw.

Contact centers take over

Huddle rooms have long been the focus at Enterprise Connect. This year contact centers were everywhere, and even had their own section on the expo floor!

Notable attendees included Amazon, which retuned after its debut of Chime and Connect at last year’s Enterprise Connect, to show off updated features and refined interfaces.

The most unique booth was by South Africa-based Zailab, which rolled in with a customized German military vehicle fresh from the Burning Man regional burn, AfrikaBurn.

Cisco strikes a chord of collaboration

Jonathan Rosenberg, VP and CTO of Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group, struck a collaborative chord during the Cisco keynote, announcing “as much as we compete, frankly we can’t imagine a world without Microsoft. We need interoperability.”

This was a nod to Cisco Spark’s ability to create and host meetings for any SIP-compatible endpoint. Rosenberg also announced two re-branded services, Cisco Breach Lock and Cisco Video Mesh.

Cisco Breach Lock is the new name for Spark’s end-to-end encryption functionality. Breach Lock not only includes encryption in flight and at rest but also Cloud Lock DLP, data storage across multiple databases, and searchable encrypted data.

Cisco Video Mesh, previously called Hybrid Media Service, gives enterprises “a little bit of cloud in your closet.” It allows enterprises to turn up an on-premises Spark video node and keep video traffic that would otherwise go to the cloud on LAN based on geo-location.

Microsoft highlights Teams

Skype for Business dominated last year’s show; no matter where you looked, the logo was everywhere. It took all of five minutes on the floor this year to realize that purple had replaced all that blue.

Teams is here, and everyone was showcasing their integrations with it. StarLeaf, Polycom, Yealink, and many others highlighted the work they’ve done over the last year to make the Teams experience easy on their devices.

Polycom Trio takes off

Polycom is more committed than ever to its device-for-all strategy. The transition that began a year and a half ago is now in overdrive.

BlueJeans, Zoom, and Teams are now integrated on the Trio, which is already in 57 percent of the Fortune 100, making is the fastest selling device In Polycom’s history. With these integrations and many more that are coming soon, Polycom has positioned the Trio as a device for any conference room, even one where multiple collaboration technologies are used.

Polycom also announced the Eagle Eye Mini, a personal or huddle room camera that integrates into the Trio and VVX phones. When paired with a Trio, the camera control interface is a special experience. Using pinch and zoom, one can easily move the camera and zoom. This is leaps and bounds ahead of the old zoom and arrow buttons on a traditional remote control.

Continuing to lead in the Microsoft integration race, Polycom showcased video-based screen sharing (VBSS) on its Group Series endpoints. Seeing a flawless streamed video shared over a Skype meeting was pretty cool.

Dolby doubles down

In 2014, Dolby entered the corporate market with its Dolby Conference Phone, which is an amazing device. You really need to try this phone if you haven’t. This week it announced the next phase of its push into the collaboration space with the Dolby voice room system.

This purpose-built Linux system is a watershed device. A camera tracking system based on machine learning, paired with its conference phone, creates an experience that is easy and immersive.

Currently available for BlueJeans and HighFive, customers looking for a better experience than a software-based endpoint and a better price point than a traditional standards-based endpoint should check this out. We also love the form factor of the device and its many mounting options — all included in the box.

Fuze digs into analytics

Fuze has some big plans for using the analytics and data from its platform to advise service administrators on how to best support and enable their users.

Yealink expands its endpoint

Yealink, which is making a big push into the North American market after more than a decade of success in Asia, has an endpoint that can connect to nine cameras. You read that right: nine cameras. It also connects easily using a standard CAT 6 cable. This is definitely unique.

Logitech focuses on ease of use

Logitech has greatly improved the ease of setting up its SmartDock solution. Now, a single CAT 6 cable connects the dock to the hub. This is a drastic improvement over any other setup experience for Skype for Business room systems.

DisplayTen goes against the grain

In a world of proprietary touch screens, DisplayTen broke the trend and showcased its Windows-based next-generation 55-inch capacitive touch panel. With a focus on Zoom, the D7-G1 Zoom Board features the thinnest profile of any other touch screen and an optional AI-powered camera and microphone array module to easily add video to the board.

Huddly expands its perspective

At first glance, the Huddly Go is another USB web cam, but jump in a video meeting and see how amazing this intelligent camera really is. It can include everyone at the table in clear view with an ultra-wide-angle lens and dynamic light optimization. It’s perfect for your laptop or for a video conference. This camera is packed with built-in processing power, so keep an eye out for exciting new innovations.

Clearly, there was plenty of news out of the show, and a lot to keep an eye on in the unified communications and collaboration space.

What was the most exciting news you heard at Enterprise Connect this year?

Peter Bean and John Winters contributed to this post.

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