eComm 2008 – The Coverage

It’s now five days after the completion of eComm 2008 and, while I have not put up much coverage to date, I wanted to provide a brief summary and references to several other bloggers who have covered it in various levels of detail.


Photo courtesy James Duncan Davidson

Take-aways:

  • This was a conference about voice enabling our social networks, our work activities, our personal lives and how we could potentially communicate more effectively going forward. Lee Dryburgh gave it the theme "The Trillion Dollar Industry Rethink" but with few exceptions, the carriers were not there is any significant numbers. They missed a huge opportunity to learn about where they can add value to their business going forward.
  • It’s not about the next great new voice application; it’s about voice enabling many of our daily activities and business processes to make them more effective, more productive and more transparent. Getting life-critical information to the hospital while a patient is still in transit in an ambulance; replacing "manual" or redundant business processes where managers are continuously challenged to have even a basic degree of motivation for their team members (would you like to become a "password reset administrator"?) are just two examples where communications enhancement makes our lives more frictionless.
  • Skype is becoming an element in any communications platform architecture that requires full global connectivity. While not emphasizing Skype or giving it any pre-eminence, it was "just there" (along with SIP) in several presentations as one prospective channel for voice communications that needed to be accessible at some point in a process.
  • Innovation persists – from customized hardware platforms (even at the handset or communications board level) to finding new ways to access and deliver via the legacy telephone handset, human creativity and ingenuity are still at work. One of the most interesting presentations was Brian Capouch’s description, called "Twelve Volt Telephony" where he talked about his rural wireless network, including equipment bought over eBay, initially installed to provide security monitoring for his seven abandoned farm houses but also resulting in bringing the Internet into a rural community with a small customer base.At the other extreme we have IfByPhone offering means to access services from the 5 billion legacy handset installed base.

With sessions running from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. it was intense, covering a wide ranges of topics from currently available services to how the communications world can evolve over the next ten to twenty years. Not only practical solutions but also some perspective on sociological, social networking and even anthropological aspects. But Jon Arnold sums up Lee’s dilemma in organizing this conference:

If eComm is IP, many of the more established telecom/IP conferences seem very PSTN by comparison – they’re complex, expensive to run, less flexible, more mainstream, etc. This can be a dangerous analogy, but that’s what strikes me about what’s happening here. eComm is a one-track show – no exhibitors, and just one room where it all happens. Simple, very open and collaborative. Lee has been adapting the format on the fly, and I can say this first hand. He’s been nice enough to give my son, Max, a 2 minute speaking opportunity for later today. Totally out of the blue. Max is sitting next to me cooking up a short presentation right now, and he’ll be up on stage in about an hour.

I could go on, but you get the idea. There’s a lot of potential ahead for eComm, and if they can figure out how to make this conference of interest to those who matter the most – the carriers – then Lee could have a real business on his hands. Right now we’re among friends, preaching to the converted, so the trick will be taking it to the next concentric circle outside the core.

Here are some blog posts with more detailed coverage.

And finally, kudos to Lee Dryburgh, who in five months took his concept from a dream to a reality. Lee knew there was a critical community out there interested in propagating the message about Voice 2.0 and its implementation. He managed to bring that community back together out of the ashes of the former eTel conference.

Tags: eComm 2008, Lee Dryburgh, Jon Arnold, Lee Dryburgh, Thomas Howe, Andy Abramson, James Duncan Davidson

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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.
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