News & Events

Four things we learnt at UC Expo 2018

  • 18 May, 2018

Article, Industry News, News, Unified Collaboration

UC Expo 2018

On Wednesday the doors to the Excel Centre were opened once again for UC Expo 2018, Europe’s largest unified communications and collaboration event. The event showcases brand new exclusive content and senior level insights from across the industry. From the 16th to the 17th of May, tens of thousands of people visited the exhibition to find out all that’s new in the world of collaboration with some of the biggest names in the industry.

Our team attended the UC Expo on the first day of the event and we’ve summarised four interesting things we observed at the event below:

Interactive White Boards / Video Endpoint Saturation

One thing that stood out to all of us who attended was the sheer number of differently branded video endpoints that were on display. It seemed like every other booth had one to show!

Along with the leading names in this field, Cisco WebEx Board and Microsoft Surface Hub, there were many other less known brands presenting their own take on the product with their own individual USPs. However, it makes you wonder how many of them hope to compete with the functionality and brand reputation of the big players such as Cisco, Google and Microsoft.

The take-away from all of this is that there is obviously a strong opinion currently in the industry that interactive video endpoints have a bright future ahead. Researchers for these companies have clearly discovered that modern collaboration in work spaces will rely heavily on video boards and everyone is trying to get involved.

uc expo 2018


We spoke to a large number of software exhibitors over the day and one of the things we always asked about was integrations with other vendors and technologies. Many of the answers we received simply stated that no specific integration was built and that there was instead an open API available.

This was surprising to us as why would you go with a supplier where you have to put in significant work to integrate it with the rest of your platforms, when you could choose a similar supplier who has already done all the work and ensured it works for you. It seems an odd decision by many firms we spoke to.

uc expo 2018

Cloud based solutions – Endpoints being ignored

One thing that was impossible to miss was the lack of traditional endpoints on show, with many of the companies offering phone systems heavily promoting the software side of their solutions, the handsets were almost a compatibility checkbox rather than a key part of the solution. This was because of a shift away from physical hardware to solutions that were based entirely in the cloud. Suppliers were heavily favouring soft phones in almost all of their demos.

This is interesting as soft phones have a reputation for sometimes being too basic for some employees who need more features to complete tasks and organise efficiently. There is also a popular belief that soft phones are simply not as reliable as a quality desk phone. Soft phones of course have their advantages (versatility, portability, cost efficiency) but solely relying on a soft phone system is ill advised. Most sensible sources suggest you consider a mix of both soft phones and desk phones when choosing your phone system.

One reason that suppliers may be acting in this way is so they can be a customer’s only port of call. Limiting a customer’s exposure to another firm that produces hardware increases the chance of a customer staying loyal as they are less likely to see what else is out there.

uc expo 2018

Contact Centre not front and Centre

One of the most mission critical functions in business communication is customer service. Customer service is normally provided by contact centres. However, while walking around the hall it was difficult to find contact centres being mentioned at all. There was so much focus on other parts of UC that a big aspect had been somewhat overlooked.

After speaking to several suppliers they confirmed that they had big developments on the way regarding their contact centre portfolios but none were being featured at UC Expo 2018. This was surprising as we were looking forward to getting some information on how firms are adapting their contact centres to align themselves with cloud advancements.


Overall, UC Expo was a very informative event and was a fantastic opportunity for all those looking to find out how the latest unified communications can drive and support their business. We gained some interesting insights into the the industry and the future of it, however, the only criticism would be that the division of booths to cater for all parts of UC was unevenly split and it would have been better to see a greater variety of products and services.