With the upheavals of the past 15 months, it’s not surprising that the industry is placing so much emphasis on what old-timers used to call “Layer 8” of the seven-layer OSI stack. For those who didn’t grow up on the OSI model, it envisions a networking stack with the physical medium (copper, fiber, radio frequencies) at the bottom, and builds up to the Application layer — Layer 7 — at the top. So, what’s Layer 8? It’s the person using that application. Techie wit has always been pretty dry.
Enterprise Connect 2021, which takes place in Orlando, Fla., the week of Sept. 27, pays more attention to the end-user experience than any event we’ve done in our 30-plus-year history. We’ve got sessions on Employee Experience, User Adoption, the Future of Work, and more. Since it’s Enterprise Connect, these sessions take an IT/communications professional’s view on these topics — what technologies help you support these new requirements? But IT/communications decision-makers have to build their next strategy around technologies that can show real improvements in the employee and customer experience, so they need to understand what that experience is like for real people.
That said, so much of that experience is determined by those lower layers of the old OSI model. We saw this during the pandemic: overtaxed home WiFi networks; concerns about security; inconsistent setups for home-based videoconferencing. We’re seeing it in the impact of the chip shortage, which is affecting enterprises’ ability to procure the devices they’d envisioned as critical parts of their future collaboration deployments.
That’s why Enterprise Connect Orlando 2021 has a robust offering of Conference sessions dedicated to those lower layers that support the communications, collaboration, and, ultimately, the productivity that end users are trying to realize.
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