Why am I encouraging readers to tune into this webinar? Especially when I no longer work for Mitel and have really nothing to do with them any more? Two words:
During the time that I worked for Mitel from June 2001 up until last October (2007), the telecom industry went through some pretty bleak periods. Some very bleak periods. Mitel was not immune and there were certainly some tough times there. There were multiple times when friends seriously questioned why I continued to work there amidst some of the challenges and headaches. And while I admittedly had a few of those moments myself, I kept on working hard at Mitel because of the tremendous people I worked with there... and ultimately because of the vision and enthusiasm of Terry Matthews.
If you aren't familiar with Sir Terrence Matthews, his Wikipedia biography and Wesley Clover (his investment firm) biography give a taste of the man. Terry is at this point a billionaire serial entrepreneur who has founded something like 60 companies related to high tech and telecommunications - primarily in Canada and Wales. Not all of his investments have been successful, of course, but many have, and there are a great number of companies and products that owe their birth to Terry. He bought back Mitel in 2001, focused it on the emerging space of VoIP and continued to invest in its future. He understood back then that the revolution in ubiquitous broadband was underway and that that huge availability of network bandwidth would open many opportunities for products and services that could make use of that bandwidth.
In the last few years of my time at Mitel when I was working in the Office of CTO, I had the privilege of working more with Terry Matthews and his advisors and it was definitely an interesting and memorable time. There is a certain energy, enthusiasm and charisma that Terry exudes that just inspires you to want to do more. Sure, there were challenges, too... like all of us he's only human. But even now, almost a year after leaving Mitel, I still retain an immense amount of respect for the man and his vision.
He's also a great presenter... so if my schedule allowed I'd definitely tune in to listen tomorrow, if only to hear Terry's take on where part of the industry is going. [NOTE: Now that I'm building him up like this, I do hope he's not sick and off his mark tomorrow!]
Oh, yeah, Sun chairman Scott McNealy is speaking, too, and the product they're talking about, the Mitel Unified IP Client for Sun Ray, is pretty cool, too.
I had a chance to see earlier versions a year ago and definitely thought it was a very cool way to deal with strong authentication. Essentially you insert a secure Java card into the Mitel phone and you are logged into both your phone as well as the Sun thin client. Pop the card out... move to a different station in that office or in some other office on the network... insert the card, and now you are logged in there. All your desktop apps go with you, as does your phone extension, voicemail, message waiting indicator, etc., etc.
Very slick way to do secure "hot desking". If you go down the thin-client route, that whole solution works real well together.
Anyway, if you're around tomorrow at 1pm US Eastern, I'd encourage you to join the webinar. I'll unfortunately be on a train from New York City heading back up to Vermont/New Hampshire, so I'll have to view it later (I'm told it will be archived for later viewing). Cool stuff.