Internet Telephony Expo East — The Spies Come Out

This week (Feb 2-4), the IP telephony geeks, buyers, marketers, and tire-kickers descended on Miami to attend Internet Telephony Expo. Even the weatherman was surprised by what he saw…45 degree weather in Miami? You might have to wear thermal bermuda shorts! The poor frozen strawberries! Sorry. Okay, back to IP telephony stuff.
 
ITEXPO East 2009 - Click to EnlargeITEXPO East 2009 - Click to Enlarge
 
There’s an economic slowdown? Somebody must have forgotten to tell the show attendees. Traffic seemed as strong as ever (show promoters reference a 30% increase in attendance). The conference sessions were well attended. Our very own Rick Chin’s keynote session on "The Unified Communications Shootout" had a couple hundred people in the room (cool format…attendees hear a six minute pitch from four or five vendors touting why their approach in the best. The attendee can then decide from that whose booth their going to go spend time at getting more info).
 
Some of the going’s on in and around the show included plenty of talk about IP PBX and communications systems for the SMB market; channel partner sessions; the latest and greatest contact center wares; plenty about Asterisk (given the fact that there was a co-located event focused on Asterisk/Digium); telepresence; CaaS (communications-as-a-service) and a whole lot about 4G wireless. Overall, the content was packed full of good sessions on relevant topics. They typically post some of the archived sessions on www.TMCnet.com or visit TMC’s President Rich Tehrani’s blog filled will all kinds of info on the event — http://voip-blog.tmcnet.com/blog/rich-tehrani/ 
 
Did we see anything super top secret? Not really. Our spies didn’t even get a glimpse of anyone selling foreign architecture drawings in the back alley (dang!). Oh, we did see someone showing a $400 "mini PBX." I don’t know. Trusting your most critical communication system to that approach seemed kind of like shopping for a brain surgeon at Costco. There was some cool speech recognition software — an area that seems to see the technology maturing and the price points coming down. IMO, the most innovative discussion was the Interactive Intelligence pitch on Communications-based Process Automation (but that would be self-promotion, so I’ll refrain).  
 
The TMC guys really do know how to put on an event. Are tradeshows dead? Not if you look inside our industry. They still provide a single location to gather useful information and to network with others that might be able to help you with your product selection and implementation.
 
Good job TMCers for putting on a quality event.