Connected Business Expo 2014 is the UK's biggest business event for connectivity, networks and unified communications (UC).
Taking place at London, Olympia from 4-5 March, this year's conference will cover current and emerging enterprise themes such as social business, workforce mobilisation, cloud communications, content collaboration and WebRTC.
ITProPortal is heading down to soak up the atmosphere, and we'll be bringing you live updates on new releases, coverage of the keynotes, event photos and interviews from all the biggest industry insiders.
Exhibitors include vendors and specialists from industry sectors such as contact centres, video conferencing, enterprise social networking, and of course, UC.
We hope that many companies will be using the Connected Business Expo (CBE) as a platform to announce news, unveil product launches and showcase their latest innovations.
With a record number of exhibitors and attendees turning up for the 2014 CBE, and the venue bigger than ever, this is one of the most important trade shows to watch - and ITProPortal is the place to watch it, whether you're here on the ground with us or unlucky enough not to be able to make us.
If you are with us here at London Olympia, be sure to come visit us at stand B323, located right next to the Cloud & Convergence Theatre.
- 06 March
And a belated goodbye from the ITPP live team and the Connected Business Expo - we had a blast the last couple of days and you can relive all the action as it happened here. Stay tuned, as we'll be drawing on all our interview at the event and posting a glut of video content!
- 05 March
That's the verdict from the Gartner keynote here at the Connected Business Expo - stay tuned for more, as we've got interviews with big names like HP and Sennheiser this afternoon to look forward to!
In the final analysis, cloud-hosted services (whether UC/telephony-related or SaaS suites like Office 365) are simply more flexible than physical infrastructure and maintenance can be delivered 24/7, as opposed to relying on the waking hours of physical IT support or a company's launch of a new product
These are purely my opinions, by the way - Gartner has moved on to talking about how agile methodology has disrupted the traditional software upgrade cycle, as it means multiple releases are now being delivered every year
Still, it's almost certainly cheaper for a business to pay for a basic enterprise mobile plan than to continue to invest in the desk phone, which is essentially a legacy technology now
My problem? I only have handful of work and work-related contacts that I'm happy to have call me on my personal device. Am I alone?
Realistically, it's a fairly obvious efficiency to be made - everyone has a mobile, so why bother with having a hard phone infrastructure in your office?
Again, this evolution is ultimately being driven by the consumerisation of business - people are increasingly replacing their landlines at home with a mobile device, and it follows that the modern workplace will act similarly
Deferred revenue is the new financial trend to look for in the evolution of the UC market
The traditional model of upgrades and maintenance has been severely disrupted, Gartner notes
Spending on advance UC functionality will shift to a "grow the business" model sponsored by department heads
"We expect to see a lot of suppliers of cloud services working with network service providers. One of the predictions we made was, through 2017, 70 per cent of successful projects will justify business investment with utility licensing. Effectively, the traditional model of making a large capital investment will be replaced by a pay-per-use model."
Gartner's normally pretty good at the ol' crystal ball stuff, so what does our man Steve foresee in the UC world?
Gartner VP of research Steve Blood is currently speaking in the keynote theatre here at the Connected Business Expo
Stay tuned, because later we'll be chatting to Christopher Morace over on the ITProPortal stand. Check back to the site later for the full video interview.
Key things to take away from Chris's opening keynote of day 2: the way we're working is changing from the old style of individual desks and partitioned offices to a more collaborative, social environment - largely thanks to connected technologies. But are we ready for this change?
We've just got back from a keynote by Christopher Morace, Chief Strategy Officer at Jive Software.
Team ITPP is hard at work here at the Connected Business Expo - come visit us at stand B323, we may even have a little treat for you!
Welcome back! It's time for day 2 of Connected Business Expo 2014. Up today, an exciting keynote from Jive software, and Jos Creese, CIO of Hampshire County Council, as well as industry analysts Gartner breaking down exactly how they come by the numbers we all rely on.
Hold on to your hats - things are about to get Connected.
- 04 March
What's the point of new tech if it doesn't help us become more efficient?
With all great technological advancements, we have one constant: us.
Neither is 9-5.
Open plan offices are not the way forwards.
We need to create space to encourage creativity.
Perhaps worse, we've all checked our work inbox while enjoying personal activities.
We've all drifted off in meetings haven't we?
Mindfulness - live in the moment.
With this sort of technology available, why should anybody bother learning new languages?
A video about a machine that can translate sign language.
Machine learning will enable us to really innovate.
It's all about algorithms.
The real future for data is machine learning.
Larger data samples lead to more accurate deductions.
Size matters (at least in terms of big data).
Causation is irrelevant. What matters with big data is correlation.
Correlation, not causation.
We need to come together to figure out how best to use big data.
We're still not tackling big data correctly. While we should be thinking about innovation, we're stuck trying to boost sales.
Let's flatten hierarchies.
The first mention of "Agile" we've had today! James Laird will be happy...
Serendipity is where all of our "Eureka!" moments come from. We need to rediscover that.
Whatever happened to serendipity?
How can we be expected to be creative when we haven't got time to do anything else but process information?
When was the last time you had a spare 15 minutes to pause for thought?
"Multi-tasking is a lie."
We're apparently 33 per cent less efficient when we multi-task, which has become essential in the modern office.
Email isn't the problem. The problem is the way we use it.
Email can be very useful but it's also a curse. We're not employed to process emails, we're employed to use our brains.
Technology is disconnecting us from the place we are, whether that's the office or home.
Is this the communication age?
We all want a smarter future. Technology is supposed to empower people, not hinder them.
This is about leadership.
Working harder or working smarter?
The way that offices are designed today are not conducive to collaboration and creativity.
Today's definition of "productivity" is a big problem.
Most hands in the room are raised.
"Put your hand up if you have a computer at home. Keep your hand up if your home computer is better than your work computer."
Technology should enable human beings to be a greater sum of their parts. The reality is different.
Coplin's presentation is about the future of humanity.
"Essentially, my job revolves around the future of humanity."
Our final keynote of day one features Dave Coplin, chief envisioning officer at Microsoft.
And that's that from Nicola.
"The technologies we have out there will shape the future of work."
IT people need to think of the security risks of such devices. Don't ban them because of fear.
Wearables can be very powerful tools in the workplace.
"Google Glass can help us connect the disconnected."
BYOD will become WYOD (wear your own device).
Don't worry about BYOD. Protect the network instead.
Be a revolutionary.
According to a recent survey, employees are more likely to be promoted if they're on-site more often. We clearly need to re-educate our managers.
Leverage appropriate new technologies, choose the right tool for the job and resist your inner caveman.
Be an engineer.
Connectivity, comfort and company provide Millard's perfect working environment.
Working from home isn't always an option.
Would an office redesign help your workforce?
Be an architect.
introducing like-minded people to each other, providing the correct equipment, etc.
Leaders have to be the perfect party hosts.
Now for some surprising skills!
The former group is less likely than the latter group to thrive in an open plan office, or contribute to a large discussion.
You also have to bear in mind the differences between introverts and extroverts.
Young people tend to value email less than their older colleagues.
When many over-35s were at school, "collaboration" was a synonym for "cheating" - this has changed somewhat.
This can cause issues with collaboration.
In 2020, for the first time ever, there will be five different generations in the workplace.
But there are other megatrends also affecting business, like generation gaps.
Face-to-face still matters and it will continue to do so for a long time. It's a luxury, at the end of the day, and an expensive one.
Theoretically, distance is now dead. Why do we still insist on talking to each other face-to-face?
- If tech is untethering us, what are offices actually for?
The death of:
- Dolly Parton
- Dr. No
A few work trends coming up...
If modern tech is so good, why are we all still squeezing ourselves into packed train carriages to try to make it to the office on time?
How is technology altering our behaviour?
Nicola has a background in psychology. A few techies look shocked.
Nicola is in the house!
Millard is a customer experience futurologist. We're not exactly sure what that means, but it sounds seriously impressive.
Prepare to get your socks blown off.
Next up on stage will be Dr Nicola Millard of BT Global Services, with a talked titled, "Surprising skills for leadership in a digital age."
Cloud convergence, unified communications, collaborative working and...goofy-looking journos shooting selfies with animal suits!
And that concludes the opening keynote.
Employees need to help their own cause too.
Who knows a colleague that tends to "work from home" whenever Wimbledon's on?
However, some workers definitely encourage this lack of trust.
There's a massive lack of trust shown towards workers from employers.
"Trust is something that's still very poorly understood," says Vanhoutte.
Clapperton says that flexible working is a HR issue.
Nice little photo opportunity...
Vanhoutte can't speak highly enough of him.
Imago's head of content, Mike England (ignore the caption on the picture above) has been invited on stage.
Audience members around me are all sitting up. I have a feeling that this book's going to be very popular.
By the way, the book is called "The Smarter Working Manifesto".
Remember when you were a child at school in the summer and all you wanted to do was work outside in the sun? That is flexible working.
We can all agree with that, can't we?
"It is insulting to be paid for your time rather than your actions" - Jean-Paul Sartre
Unfortunately, nobody comes in to tidy your home office.
Clapperton's Croydon home office sounds a little less glamourous than Vanhoutte's...
Went freelance in the early 90s and found his new working space: his brain.
Even over Christmas, one of Clapperton's old editors insisted employees had to be in office.
Or are they?
Home offices are lon
Guy Clapperton in the house.
Increase productivity by 20 per cent and boost customer and employee satisfaction by 10 per cent.
Networks are the achilles heel hindering smarter working conditions.
Vanhoutte hasn't worked in an office for six years. Lucky him.
"The 9-5 office is gone."
Smarter working is a new management philosophy.
Noise is the main bugbear of all modern offices.
Well-designed modern offices are perfect for collaboration, but the outdoors are best for solitary work.
Creativity and the office do not fit well together.
Working 9-5 in the office is, as Vanhoutte puts it, "Out of date."
Where and when you work best obviously depends on your personality and job.
He never skips a meal and prefers to eat alongside other people.
Sunday morning is the perfect time for Vanhoutte. His garden isn't a bad place for it but Santa Cruz bay is even better.
What is the best place and time for work?
Vanhoutte tells us he's here to launch a book. More on that later.
Philip Vanhoutte has taken the stage. Guy Clapperton is waiting patiently in the wings.
The opening keynote is about to begin!
The first keynote of the day is scheduled for 10:00 GMT so stay tuned - in the meantime, learn more about the event by checking out our insider's guide to the Connected Business Expo, penned by opening speaker Guy Clapperton.
We're just settling into our home for the next couple of days over at stand B323 - one of our neighbours being printing solutions specialist Xeretec