Last years speaker Graham Walsh answering questions about UC and Cloud Day

Tell us about yourself

  • Your Name? Graham Walsh
  • Where are you from? I’m originally from Ireland but have lived ¾ of my life. I now live in Borehamwood, just inside the M25, good links to the airports and into central London.
  • Where do you work? I work for Pexip, a Norwegian software company. Our UK office is near Reading, but I work from home and use the tools of video collaboration to communicate with people and colleagues every day. My role is Director, Solutions Architecture for the UKI and MEA region.  I also have a new title of Pexip Ninja, which relates to being a black belt in our Microsoft interoperability.
  • Are you MVP? No

How Did you hear about UC and Cloud Day?

  • Tell us how you heard about UC Day? I initially heard about UC Day via LinkedIn and Twitter but couldn’t make the first event due to other work commitments.
  • What did you think about the event before attending? I think the event is aimed at IT Professionals who want to attend and learn more about technologies they work with every day from experts and enthusiasts in their field.
  • How many events have you attended? I missed the first year’s event but attended the second and was also privileged to speak in 2016.

What attracted you to speak at UC and Cloud Day?

The thing that attracted me to speak at the UC and Cloud Day was the wide choice of topics available and that my topic would sit across many of the tracks available.  It also made it difficult to decide which track it should fit in.  Pexip Interoperability sits within Skype for Business (for VTC interop), then in the Cloud space as it sits within Azure.  So there are three tracks it sits across.  It was also to raise awareness that video interoperability should not be difficult and can be achieved easily with new software platforms and the increasing use of cloud computing.

What justification did you give your employer to attend and speak?

None.  Being a small company we are very flexible so there are no requirements for attending seminars, workshops as it’s about learning what is happening in the industry.  You can only pick up so much from blogs, tweets and LinkedIn etc.  Networking with peers if very important, especially over a curry.

Do you attend other events and how do they compare to UC and Cloud Day?

I’ve been attending industry events for many years such as UC Expo (been attending that since 2000 when it was VoIP for Business).  I’ve also been IP Expo in London a few years back, the BETT show for education.  Then more recently I’ve been to ISE in Amsterdam (a very Audio/Visual focused event that now has a UC hall), the Microsoft World Partner Conference and Microsoft Ignite.  Finally, this year I attended Enterprise Connect in Orlando.  All these events are large events with up to 70,000 attendees so are very different to UC and Cloud Day.  Yes the other events have UC/Cloud tracks, but you can easily get lost in the vast world of conference hall hell.  Having a local and focused day is very helpful for those who are unable to get budgets approved for international travel to these other events.

Do you speak any other events?

I have spoken previously at ISE and UC Expo and then also at more regional UC/Cloud User groups.  I also speak quite regularly when our resellers host events.

As UC and Cloud Day is a free event, would you pay to attend this event?

I would pay to attend the event because then you are adding some more value behind the event.  Sometimes with free events, people may not turn up as they may think, hey it was free, I’ve lost nothing.  It could also mean that there are other benefits such as unlimited tea/coffee and snacks throughout the day or as you enter each session, a little something to keep the sugar level high.

Would you recommend UC and Cloud Day to a friend, colleague or peer?

I would recommend UC and Cloud Day to friends and colleagues as it’s quite informal and easy-going event.  You can select which tracks interest you and attend them.  The only downside is that you must select wisely as the tracks are not duplicated.  In terms about them learning from the day, it helps brings them up to speed on the latest developments in each track.  Thinking back, not everyone is on the same journey for UC and Cloud, so maybe someone learning about Auto Attendant in Skype for Business will be new for them and everyone else, they may not be aware of the fundamentals of Skype for Business.  Having only attending the keynotes at UC and Cloud day, maybe there are some introduction to xyz track.

Would you love to return next year as a speaker?

Yes, I would love to return in 2017 as a speaker as there has already been lots of development in the video interoperability space, so would be great to discuss it again to all the attendees.  The developments will continue even further from now (April) until October when UC and Cloud Day comes around.