Last week TMC published the article “What Telecom Innovation Means to the Masses” by Susan J. Campbell. In preparation for TMC’s ITEXPO West 2012 in Austin, the piece featured our very own Joseph Katz, Chief Marketing Officer here at Hold-Free Networks.
Campbell’s thought-provoking questions and Katz’s industry insight really hit the mark. We just can’t help but share the complete behind the scenes Q&A interview with Katz.
Hold-Free Networks will be exhibiting at ITEXPO West in Austin, Texas on October 3-5. You can find Joseph Katz himself at booth #519! ITEXPO West 2012 Q&A with Joseph Katz:
1. What’s been the most important trend in business purchasing decisions this year?
I’ve been impressed by the renewed focus on ROI. Budgets are limited and there’s a power struggle going on between advocates of the cloud and traditional CPE. So with a lot of scrutiny around purchasing decisions, enterprises are taking a hard look at the numbers to understand risk, return, and time-to-value.
2. What is the smartest thing companies can do from a technology perspective to prepare for the future?
The smartest thing to do is join the conversation. Even if your company is typically a late arriver to the party, it’s never too early to start getting ready. Vendors are doing more than ever to educate prospective customers and there are so many opportunities with shows, professional associations, on message boards, etc. to collect the insights that will shape the company’s vision for the future. So take full advantage of it!
3. Will the verdict in the Apple-Samsung patent case have ramifications for the technology market?
I don’t think so. When a company worth $600 billion wins a billion dollar verdict from a company worth $180 billion, it’s like losing a wager on the golf course. I doubt it will change the behavior of either company…or any large company for that matter. All the litigation going on could be a bit scary for smaller companies though.
4. Do you think the U.S. patent system is effective or in need of reform?
Well, I’d say that whether reform is needed or not…it’s coming! One good thing about the America Invents Act is that it creates more consistency with the system used by all other countries. I get the argument that first-to-file puts smaller companies at a disadvantage, but I think the little guys will always have the inherent advantage of being more innovative and nimble.
5. What role should video play in business communications?
Video should play a major role. I think it’s safe to say at this point that most of us don’t want to be on a big screen video phone like the one in Demolition Man first thing in the AM. But video is a critical medium for delivering a more hands-on experience, bridging geographical divides, and can be a great differentiator for companies looking for more ways to deliver “service with a smile.”
6. How would you characterize the ubiquitous coverage of the Olympic Games delivered by NBC?
“Ubiquitous” sounds like a pretty good way to describe it. My big takeaway from the London Games is just how connected we are at this point. If something of universal interest happens anywhere in the world – we all know about it instantly. It doesn’t matter where you live, if you are at home or on the go, or what time of day or night it is. Is there really such thing as a “spoiler” anymore?
7. How important do you feel technology will be in deciding the upcoming presidential election?
I think technology will be important, but maybe not in an easily discernible way. I mean, one candidate has a million followers on Twitter and the other has twenty million. So, if it comes down to which candidate is the most “plugged-in” then there is really no contest. But I don’t think it will be as simple as looking at which candidate has the higher Klout score. Should be interesting…
8. What’s the one technology item you want most? Why?
An Easy Button! Can I get one of those? I already have a million gadgets…iPhone, Slingbox, Roku, you name it. But I think I’m like most consumers in the sense that what I really want at this point is simplicity. If you can save me time, anticipate my needs and proactively address them, and do it without a hassle – then I’m ready to be your customer.
9. Will you use your smartphone to pay for retail purchase when mobile wallet capabilities become widely available? Why or why not?
Definitely. Again it comes down to convenience. A couple generations ago, if you asked people if they would pay for things with a piece of plastic, you would probably get some pushback. Same thing with mobile wallet…you’ll have some people who are slow to adopt and service providers will have to solve some of the problems that they didn’t initially anticipate to get to mainstream adoption. But I’m confident that it will happen.
10. What will attendees experience at your booth/session that will be unique at ITEXPO?
Hold-Free Networks’ booth at ITEXPO will be unique because attendees can casually visit our “living room” setting and walk away a few minutes later armed with three new ways to improve the customer experience. All while leveraging the cloud to minimize risk. It’s a great opportunity to get questions answered too…it’ll be kind of like Apple’s Genius Bar over at Booth #519.
11. What are you looking forward to at ITEXPO?
I’m looking forward to quite a few things. It’s always a great opportunity to interact with customers, analysts, and even competitors. The keynote from Rob Carter at FedEx should be very good. We’re also participating in a session on Friday morning called “Oh Brother, Big Brother” where we’ll discuss consumer attitudes towards sharing social data with companies.
12. Care to make a bold or surprising prediction about the future of tech?
Sure. My bold prediction is that we’re going to see a wave of innovation in the next few years that rivals any we’ve seen before. I think we’ll see technology solve some major problems that have troubled the human race for a long time. I think this Renaissance will result from changes in how great ideas are funded…call it the Shark Tank effect. But even more important than that, I think it will be driven by a culmination in the way that we’ve grown comfortable in collaborating in recent years: virtually, socially, agilely.