Monday, May 14, 2007

WinHEC Pre-open

Los Angeles, California
WinHEC Pre-opening day

After meetings in town (Marina Del Rey, Hermosa Beach), I headed to the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) for WinHEC.

I timed my arrival to coincide with a 2.00 pm private briefing arranged for Featured Communities members on the new Microsoft Unified Communities (UC) products at the LACC.

These products are s-w-e-e-t, sweet!

I saw the IP phones, USB phones, UC monitors, the ASUS notebook, and USB headsets from an assorted number of vendors, list here, representing several segments of that market.

Targeted at the mid to upper enterprise, the UC products are heralding into our view a better, more connected way of communication, over the voicemail, (corporate) instant messaging, and email mediums.

As I was given a demo of these products, this first generation based on Microsoft’s reference platform, I now see why presence will be a buzzword, and a big one at that going forward.

The IP phones, of which I am currently enamored, feature a large, 5.6” touchscreen, wideband audio, dual Ethernet ports, full-duplex speakerphones, and, a biometric (fingerprint) reader for securing the device.

As currently implemented, the immediacy of presence notification in the UC devices will improve the communications experience for enterprises, and unquestionably decrease the uncertainty around messaging in larger firms.

Think about it: these are definitely not your father’s PBX devices!

I met with Terri Stratton, Microsoft MVP and Editor-in-Chief of The Tablet PC.net and Forums.MobilePCWprld.com and we both went along to register at LACC later on in the day to avoid the rush tomorrow.

Some members of the Featured Communities went for dinner where we met with Mike Nash, Corporate VP, Windows Product Management, and Bill Laing, General Manager of the Windows Server division. Also there were Ben Reed, Brandon LeBlanc, and several Microsoft-ies. Mary Jo Foley was also there, with Larry Richman (ProNetworks), and Steve Sinchak (Tweak XP, TweakVista). I also met Paul Thurrott; funnily, he didn’t have horns!

One of the things that always impresses me about the executives and indeed, every Microsoft employee I have ever met, is the total lack of arrogance in their bearing! Unlike the self-important morons I had the misfortune to deal with in the past from companies in the IT space! I am amazed I still come away impressed with their passion, humility, and dedication.

As usual dinner, hosted by Nick White, was a success, and I thank him and Terri for making my 2007 WinHEC pre-opening Day memorable. And I don’t mean only the repast, my thanks also extend to arranging the UC demo.

Now, off to bed I go.

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