I could spend all day at VoN and get nothing done while at the same time get so much accomplished. It's the kind of show where one meeting leads into another, some unexpected and others necessary.
I spent the morning with Wall Street Journal Asia Contributing Editor Jeremy Wagstaff walking the floor of VoN. A few months back Jeremy has asked me to provide a broad strokes view of the road ahead. This morning over breakfast I took him through the current landscape as I saw it. We then hopped a Boston cab (boy do I miss those cabs from London) and walked the floor for about three hours stopping and talking with various known, soon to be known and unknown players.
Jeremy asked a great question..."how many of these companies won't be here next year." That got me thinking how much VoN 2004 reminded me of Streaming Media East 2000. While Pulver's crew has done a great job in bringing everyone here who needs to be here, including Microsoft. That led to Jeremy's question about the reason Microsoft was here.
One has to understand Microsoft. They're not here just to host tomorrow nights party. They're here to be a major player in the IP telephony game, beyond their efforts with XBox Live. Look for a big push in the collaborative work space within Office using VoIP as well as other enhanced offerings that build off of the PlaceWare acquisition and Dot.Net.