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Enterprise Connect: Business Communications Take Center Stage

In 2011, enterprise communications has blossomed to include a wide range of technologies. It is no longer encompassed solely by voice, or data, or video. It's all these things combined, with portions of each mode embedded into the others. Mobile technologies, social networking, video, and more have dominated the direction of the market and pushed upheaval and change to the forefront. Enterprise communications has had to adjust along the way to an ever-evolving, always-moving stream of new technology.

This saga will be detailed by technology companies and industry experts at Enterprise Connect 2011, taking place at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Conventions Center, Orlando, Fla., Feb. 28 - March 3. InformationWeek caught up with Fred Knight, general manager of Enterprise Connect, to see what's in store for this year's event.

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For the first time in over a decade, VoiceCon will no longer be known as VoiceCon. The event has taken a new name -- Enterprise Connect -- to reflect the changes that have occurred in enterprise communications over the past 10 years.

"Enterprise Connect is the third name change for this event," said Knight. "The reason is the same as when we made the shift to VoiceCon. The reality of it is that a shift in the marketplace and a shift in the technology have demanded it. Over the past decade, as IP-based communications took off and mobility showed up, the program has shifted incrementally to reflect what the people who design, buy, and deploy enterprise communications focus on."

With the rapidly changing IT environment in mind, VoiceCon has been reborn as Enterprise Connect. Don't let the name change fool you, however. Even though Enterprise Connect is expanding its focus to look at the larger technology trends that are shaping communications moving into the 21st century (mobility, social media, etc.), it will still have the same great focus on enterprise communications it always has.

2011 Enterprise Communication Trends

As in every industry, trends have emerged in enterprise communications that paint a picture of where things are moving. This year, Enterprise Connect offers programming on the most prominent trends.

For the past four or five years, mobility has remained one of the fastest growing elements of the communications budget for U.S. businesses. It has accelerated further in the last two years with the surging popularity of smartphones such as Apple's iPhone and Google's Android platform. This has helped to precipitate and foster the notion of "B.Y.O.P." -- bring your own phone.

"The whole area of mobile device selection, management, contracting, pricing, and security has been enormous," noted Knight. Employees are no longer willing to accept whatever IT hands out. They want to choose. "End users are demanding the freedom to use what makes the most sense for them." This entails a number of challenges for IT, some of which will be addressed at Enterprise Connect.

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