On 4 - 5 March 2014, a new event will open its doors at London's Olympia. Connected Business Expo replaces the Unified Communications Expo, building on as well as encompassing everything that's gone before.
The name is appropriate because it takes in everything UC was supposed to achieve – connecting people – without the jargon or the restriction. Remember when 'collaboration' became included in unified communication and there was some controversy over whether this was quite right? Connected Business is more flexible – it's a way of working, rather than a proscriptive set of technologies.
So, what's going to happen at the show? There will be the customary stack of excellent exhibitors of course, but that's not all – there will be some great keynotes and breakouts as well.
Details are still being finalised over the next few weeks but faces familiar to attendees of UC Expo will make a welcome return, while numerous new people and subjects will also feature. Following excellent keynotes on the possibilities of collaboration through technology, Microsoft's Dave Coplin will return as will Gartner's Steve Blood. Another returnee is Dr. Nicola Millard of BT Global Services, an experienced advisor and futurologist.
Elsewhere, there will be input at the user level from Jos Creese, CIO of Hampshire County Council, and a number of analysts including Rob Bamforth of Quocirca, Angela Ashenden from MWD and Marc Beattie from Wainhouse Research.
The software industry will be represented by Christopher Morace of Jive and Dr Ralph Ebnbinghaus of Swyx among others, while trade association CompTIA will roll out its CEO Todd Thibodeaux. Consultancy firm Engage for Change is sending owner John Smythe and Paul Miller, CEO of the Digital Workplace Group will also be keynoting.
Connected Business is structured around the themes of unified communications, mobile, visual, cloud, social business and collaboration, and customer management and contact centres.
The event will kick off with the launch of an independent book that I've co-written with Plantronics VP Philip Vanhoutte – the first sight of our combined effort, "The Smarter Working Manifesto", will be during the opening keynote of day one. We're grateful to the organisers for arranging this and look forward to meeting as many of you as possible.
Find out more and register at www.connected-business.co.uk.
Guy Clapperton is a technology journalist and editor of Unified Communications Insight.