Last week saw the highlight of the business communications calendar (didn’t know there was such a thing, did you?), as the good and the great of the Unified Communications world gathered at London’s Olympia for the annual UC Expo event.
As a UC Expo veteran (this is my fifth year) I was primed, badge in hand, to find out How the NFON Solution made Cloud Telephony Accessible to Large Enterprise and How to Cope with the Challenges of Assuring Premium Quality UC Services. Okay, well maybe not.
That being said, while UC Expo may not sound as exciting as the likes of CES in Las Vegas or the mega exhibition that is IFA in Germany, the two-day event is Europe’s largest unified communications and collaboration event – and it’s growing in appeal. As the debate around workplace mobility, attracting global talent and moving to the cloud continues, the way we communicate is an integral part of doing business.
Attracting 5,000 ICT professionals, over 100 specialist suppliers and offering 100 seminars, UC Expo has seen a 29% year-on-year growth in attendance, according to the organisers. It’s a fast-growing sector and businesses are keen to adapt to and adopt the new technologies that are on offer.
The 2016 event did seem bigger, with more attendees, bigger theatres and more in-depth technical sessions. As with previous years, UC Expo focused on a handful of core themes – around the cloud, the future of work, digital transformation and supporting mobile workers. With speakers from Microsoft, Google, Cisco and Facebook all included in the seminar schedule there was a lot of expertise on hand.
The absence of established brands like Mitel, ShoreTel and Avaya might suggest excitement in the sector is waning, but we saw plenty of fresh challenger brands rising into prominence and given a platform to showcase their wares.
With any tradeshow, the challenge for companies is how to stand out from the competition and with 100 exhibitors all vying for attention this is certainly tricky at UC Expo. And it’s not just about attracting the crowds; gimmicks make that easy (yes, I’m looking at you NetScout and your pick ‘n’ mix stand). How many strawberry laces can be converted into sales leads?
At Wildfire we’ve always found the best approach for encouraging stand traffic is to make sure our clients have a strong theme that sets them apart from the crowd. One that encourages conversation away from sales literature and to the real drivers for workplace transformation. This year we were on the stand with our client Fuze, using our recently launched campaign, the “App Generation: why 98% of your future workforce have never used a landline” to bring their technology to life.
Next year UC Expo will move to London’s ExCel exhibition centre. The move is a positive one, enabling the organisers to deliver an even better event that offers visitors more relevant content and more expert commentary on all the latest technology trends.
Wildfire will be there again next year and If your role covers any element of business communication it’s certainly worth adding it to the diary for 2017.