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ITEXPO Speaker: Leveraging the Power of Social Collaboration

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January 31, 2012

ITEXPO Speaker: Leveraging the Power of Social Collaboration

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

When technological advancements emerge to meet consumer trends, we often find new ways to communicate, additional methods for driving new business opportunities and even new opportunities for play. With ITEXPO (News - Alert) East launching today, TMC wanted to get a closer look at trends in the telecommunications space. CEO Rich Tehrani recently spoke with Ron Burns, CEO of ProtonMedia (News - Alert), to learn what is impacting key industry players. When asked his opinion on the most significant technological advancement in the past 12 months, Burns pointed to the ubiquity of high bandwidth. The biggest trend in his market segment is the movement among large companies to build robust partner ecosystems.

As for the biggest challenge facing ProtonMedia customers today, Burns once again highlighted the drive for building ecosystems. The challenge in this strategy is the lack of tools and change management to execute. When asked about the impact of the cloud on ProtonMedia, Burns noted the company moved the ProtoSphere backend to the Dell (News - Alert) vCloud to save money on infrastructure and increase margins. Asked if cloud-based communications will expedite the end of the premises-based PBX market, Burns noted the potential in Microsoft’s Lync will make the PBX (News - Alert) look like “smoke signals on the top of a clouded mountain.”

ProtonMedia takes a proactive approach to social media as its ProtoSphere is an immersive, social, learning application. He believes any company can accomplish this with their existing IT infrastructure, leveraging the Facebook effect. Asked if every company needs a social media presence and Burns highlighted that business is social media. Burns also believes that Microsoft could lead in the enterprise mobile market with its tight OS integration between mobile and desktop. Attendees at ITEXPO can check out the newly released ProtoSphere 2.0, an immersive, social, learning and collaboration platform.

Their entire conversation follows:

1.      What was the most significant technological advancement in the past 12 months and why?

The ubiquity of high bandwidth, for most business users, has snuck up on us. It now allows for a variety of collaboration forms to flourish. As Thomas Friedman puts it, we are now moving from a connected world to a hyper-connected world. We have only begun to explore the opportunity set.

2.      What has been the biggest trend in your market segment and how is it impacting your customers?

The large companies ProtonMedia serves have been moving fixed costs to variable costs by building very robust partner eco systems for everything from pure R&D right through the supply chain to production and manufacturing. This is a new step beyond the notion of outsourcing, to true collaborative co-creation. 


3.      What is the biggest challenge facing your customers today and how is your company helping address that challenge?

It has been said that culture eats strategy for lunch, and we are seeing it. Our large enterprise customers intend to build collaborative ecosystems, but the tools and the change management are not in place to execute this strategy. We have believed for some time that meetings alone are not real collaboration. ProtonMedia’s ProtoSphere 2.0 is an extraordinary combination of a 3D immersive environment, a deep unified communications platform, the power of social networking, and the functionality of a next generation e-learning platform, all delivered in a cost-effective cloud offering. This holistic blend of content with context will bring new levels of efficiency and creativity to knowledge-focused industries.

4.      How has the cloud impacted your business? How has it impacted your customers?

We have moved the backend of ProtoSphere from our own private cloud to the Dell vCloud offering, and for us it is a way to save money on infrastructure, and increase our margins. Our customers get the reliability of Dell’s global data center, and our speed to deployment has been accelerated from the time a customer orders.

5.      Will cloud-based communications expedite the end of the premises-based PBX market?

ProtoSphere leverages the power of Microsoft’s Lync VoIP platform. As a cloud-based Lync offering we think ProtoSphere will be part of a series of Lync-based applications that will make the PBX look like smoke signals on the top of a clouded mountain.

6.      What approach has your business taken to social media? If you have implemented a social media program, have you been able to evaluate your program’s success?

ProtoSphere itself is an immersive, social, learning application that sits in the cloud. As such, we tie SharePoint 2010 MySite profiles to each avatar. This allows us to use the power of SharePoint’s expertise location finder, to place the right avatar into the right collaboration space, at exactly the right moment, with the contextual data needed to make better decisions. The social production effect is something that can be leveraged within the confines of your enterprise, if you set up the data flow in a social way. You don’t need Facebook for that; you need the Facebook effect, using your existing IT infrastructure.

7.      Does every business need a social media presence? Why or why not?

Business is social media, whether you want to think of it that way or not. I think of LinkedIn (News - Alert), Facebook, your SharePoint infrastructure, your UC platform, as many clouds floating in one atmosphere that need to talk to each other, both in terms of content (data) and context (people). The number of “clouds” that will talk to each other over time will exponentially explode, and define the technology landscape over the next decade.

8.      With Microsoft touting tight integration between its mobile and desktop OS, can it become a major competitor in the enterprise mobile market?

I think it is very likely. Microsoft has often showed patience in the face of being late to a market, and I do not see any reason why this market would be any different.

9.      What can attendees expect from your company at ITEXPO?

ProtonMedia has just released ProtoSphere 2.0. I’d like to invite ITEXPO attendees to take a look at this innovative new approach in immersive, social, learning and collaboration for global, multi-national enterprise organizations. Click here for a two minute overview

To find out more about RONALD BURNS and PROTON MEDIA, visit the company at ITEXPO East 2012. Happening NOW at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami, Fla.  ITEXPO is the world’s premier IP communications event. RONALD BURNS is speaking during “Beyond travel avoidance – the real value of HD videoconferencing and collaboration.” For more information on ITEXPO registration click here.

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Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

Technology Marketing Corporation

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