Blue Hill noted the importance of partners at IBM Connect. Although a wide variety of partners and related vendors were showcased, Blue Hill noticed two sets of technology vendors that were most relevant to our subscription base: highly prominent partners and interesting technology partners.
Cisco, Box, and Oblong were highly showcased as highly visible partners that got significant stage time at IBM Connect. Cisco Spark, their cloud-based unified communications solution, was highly visible, as were Cisco telepresence and WebEx solutions, as capabilities that were both integrated with IBM Connections and IBM Workspace. This partnership is important, as IBM has not deeply pursued voice solutions and the combination of IBM and Cisco collaboration solutions should be accretive in nature.
Oblong is a cutting-edge user interface company that created the UX concepts for Minority Report. At IBM Connect, Blue Hill noted how IBM and Oblong integrated to create environments where physical drawings and objects could quickly be integrated into the Workspace or Connections environment to cut down friction in remote collaboration.
But the star, from Blue Hill’s perspective, was the demonstration of Box Relay, a joint IBM/Box offering to provide Box-based workflows initially announced in September 2016. Blue Hill has noted the success of multiple software companies that have created custom workflows to solve core business issues while using Box as a cloud repository for documents. With Box Relay, IBM now has the ability to quickly create workflow-based applications across a wide variety of business use cases. As this occurs, Blue Hill expects that Docusign will be brought in from an authentication and authorization perspective. But this product should both be a strong standalone offering and the basis of Global Business Services offerings that can both scale for enterprise needs and be developed rapidly.
Blue Hill also noted seeing a number of other key partners including, but not limited to:
• Actiance – a social media compliance and archiving solution able to control a wide variety of communications channels through key governance and compliance policies.
• Genus Technologies – a video and digital asset management platform providing enterprises with the ability to support both traditional content and video on a horizontal basis.
• OnTime – a group calendaring solution that Blue Hill believes will greatly simplify the management of resource availability.
• Sennheiser – which demonstrated headsets with microphones designed to greatly reduce noise pollution in open office environments. This area will be increasingly important over the next year as speech-based app inputs become increasingly important.
• Trustsphere – an email, unified communications, and messaging Relationship analytics solution previously featured by Blue Hill Research
• Vidyo – a video conferencing solution and Platform as a Service that can be used to embed high-quality video conferencing into apps. At IBM Connect, Vidyo should an IoT-based demo that combined a scale, blood pressure measurements, and a remote doctor to support a future-facing view of remote medical treatment and checkups.
Blue Hill believes that this set of vendors will continue to help IBM in providing a future-facing view of collaboration designed to enhance human productivity. We recommend that Blue Hill’s community track of each of these solutions over the rest of the year.