We had a stand at UC Expo again this year and for the first time I was asked to come along. I hadn’t been before as a delegate or an exhibitor so it was an experience. I have been to trade shows before and even to similar ones that involved voice technology although that was about 12 years ago when the market and the systems themselves were very different indeed. Back in the Network Alchemy days. That was a very different kind of show to UC Expo. Because it was the vendors themselves that were exhibiting their wares rather than partners.
There were two main ‘villages’. Microsoft (the big part) and Cisco (the very small part). And I heard that Google was there trying to convince everyone that they were for businesses too.
I didn’t get to walk around at all because our stand was pretty busy. I heard that the Cisco side was pretty empty. The Microsoft side was packed for all of the first day and most of the second.
The most remarkable thing was that almost every vendor on the Microsoft side was there to talk about Lync or things that worked with Lync. I think they should change the name to the Lync Expo for next year. I’m a fan so this might be somewhat biased, but as far as I’m concerned, Lync is the only truly Unified Communications platform out there. So I’m not surprised that Lync was so well represented.
We’ve been with this product range since LCS and have seen its evolution first hand. The story keeps getting better and better. And at least for now it doesn’t feel like a fad. People are talking about Lync because of what it does, not because it is featured heavily on a popular TV show. It was amazing how many consumers I spoke to that admitted that they were there to find out about Lync. And several were already piloting it or had it installed and wanted to upgrade to 2013. I talked to several heads of IT from some very large household name companies 10,000 to 50,000 seats or more and they wanted Lync.
Day one was better than day two. Day one was mostly consumers and heads of IT genuinely interested in UC. Day two was full of resellers and opportunists. I talked to at least a dozen people that wanted to find a partner organisation to recommend to their clients for a kick back. I talked to at least a dozen people that were voice resellers doing traditional PBXs and wanted to find out what their competition was doing. Most of those admitted that they wanted to get into Lync because they are losing deals to companies that already offer Lync. And I talked to (or turned away) at least a dozen people trying to sell to us. And lots of recruiters. One going stand to stand asking if the head of HR was there and getting aggressive when we told them we wouldn’t give out any names.
A great experience and some great news for Microsoft. If they didn’t know they were on to a winner, which I doubt, they do now.