This week's Interop conference more than met expectations. Sprint's booth was busy all week and attendees were treated to a full slate of good presentations and networking opportunities. Here's a few impressions from our team:
1. Healthy attendance: this is impressive, particularly considering we're in a serious recession--one that has hurt traffic at many shows. While traffic overall was down slightly from last year, it was steady at our booth and the quality of questions was high.
2. Lots of buzz about unified communications (UC): The Sprint team had rich conversations with consultants, analysts and media about how Sprint enables unified communications. The demo in the booth clearly paid off, as many of the visitors may never have seen UC in action. Most attendees believe the power of UC will come when it is fully mobile, but there were questions about how soon that will occur and what it will look like, fully employed.
3. Focus on virtualization: Lot of buzz around virtualization, and some confusion over what it really is; people have different definitions. The discussions on virtualization centered on “doing more with less” and how to effectively manage a network configuration that meets the organizational objectives of cost efficiency and network simplification.
4. Demos well received: Example-MiFi 2200 (Novatel Wireless MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot). People were surprised to see it is much more compact/portable than past (even recent) WiFi routers. People liked the ease of use (no software to load, just turn it on and connect) and security (owner can configure to limit users and require password for entry). Attendees were impressed to see that it enables everything to stay connected whenever and wherever a person wants (someone could have literally walked around the trade show floor with this in their pocket and used their WiFi enabled phone for voice and Twitter, powered up their laptop to send a quick email or upload a video to a website . . . And share the connectivity with colleagues). See background.
5. Positive reviews for the conference: Couple of attendees commented that they were impressed as to how Interop has evolved from a networking event to a heavy-duty IT oriented event (with networking). Content in all the sessions was very strong, people came away undoubtedly with more insight into key issues. Russ McGuire’s CIO presentation “The Power of Mobility to Enable Business Productivity” was particularly well received.
We couldn't talk about Interop without mentioning the Palm Pre. Everyone was buzzing about the new phone (June 6 release date). People like the sophisticated operating system and Palm Synergy, which enables centralized views of emails, calendar and contacts, cool messaging capabilities, and powerful search features. Others just loved the fact it's combining business and entertainment features in a snazzy new package--almost like the market was hungering for something new like this, with a cool look and feel.
One guy just summed it up this way: "The features of this phone are really amazing ," he said.