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Wrestlemania is less than a week away in Orlando, and you would think that in the battle for enterprise communications market share that at Enterprise Connect there would be more rumbling. But the news isn't from the challengers as much as it is from the established heavyweights.....HMMM. YAWN...That's why what was done at TadHack Mini was so important. It's about what's NXT..(a pun of sorts)..So with that, ring the bell and let's dig in...

Cisco can't get away from hardware. It's in their aging DNA. So no matter how many new software companies they acquire, they still fall back to their knitting, and in their case it remains hardware, but smartly they are doing it with a twist. Hardware is the attractive attention getter, but really it's the connective tissue software that's making things so interesting and clearly worth a look.

Yesterday at Enterprise Connect Cisco made a flurry of announcements that Network World covered, and while some may look at the hardware as the key drive, much of the surrounding news was really from the software centric Spark-the group that is at the core of Cisco's next wave of workplace collaboration. 

To me, the Spark Hybrid Media Service and Spark Care are where the action will be, not the hardware centric Spark Room Kits. Today people use their own devices, even at work. BYOD has become the winner, but the connection to those devices seems to be really where Cisco is going.

Comcast put out some news about Voice Edge, a Chrome browser plug in that makes Skype for Business more friendly. The real play here is to get away from expensive Windows boxes and to have enterprise businesses start to deploy ChromeBooks and ChromeBoxes. 

RingCentral keeps adding more integrations and they also expanded into more countries in Europe, following a play a few years ago by 8x8. Honestly, they are becoming the kings of integration.  Here's my take:

RingCentral is using the integrations as a way to lure customers. Say you're using HubSpot, PipeDrive, Agile CRM or SalesForce as your CRM. RingCentral integrates with them and then says, "we're the best phone service to use with X, Y or Z." By integrating with more, they are opening up the door to the people using the services and giving them a reason to switch to RingCentral. Of course, switching can be painful, and doesn't happen overnight. But give them credit for being perhaps the most integration friendly telco.

As far as expanding into Europe....well, with roaming rates going away almost in June, and with rock solid broadband arriving in more places in more countries, the timing is very good. That said, this is a better play to sell to US companies who have operations there than to try to go up against the local incumbents. Vonage, 8x8 and others have all tried at times to build a business in other countries. It's an uphill battle.....and adding POPs isn't the same, nor is having a reseller program. It's not about selling in , it's about selling through, so unless these reseller can convert customers from their already embedded carriers, it's uphill.

That's it..One, Two, Three...

 

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