I think what makes the UC Pro community so valuable is the strength of its members and contributors. From around the world we have a plethora of very capable people who live, breathe and love Unified Communications, and love helping others realise the value.
I thought it was time we brought these guys forward and found out more about them. To work out why they’re helping drive the adoption of Unified Communications and why they’re some of the most sort after, go-to guys in the industry.
Kicking off the first of what will be a continuing interview series, I’ve got Alex Lewis in the hot seat.
He’s a stalwart of the UC community and a long time twitter compadre of mine. Here’s what he had to say:
- What’s your technical background?
I started out in aerospace (satellite design), so communications in general but a bit different than what I do now. I moved on to working for a CLEC on the east coast as a network architect and was responsible for building out the first VoIP network in the US and one of the first DSL rollouts.
- What organisation do you work for and what’s your position?
I am the UC practice lead and principal consultant for Convergent Computing in Oakland, CA (USA).http://www.cco.com
- What first made you get into UC and specialising in Lync?
I first got into Lync with Exchange 2000 IM server but didn’t take it on as my main focus until just before the launch of OCS 2007 and became an MVP for LCS/OCS. Since then, I’ve spent my time evangelizing UC and doing UC projects cradle to grave. I really enjoy doing a design for a customer then sticking around for the implementation and deployment. There’s something really special about that moment when you see the light go off and they “get it”.
- What’s your favourite thing about Lync?
This may sound strange from a guy who spends all his time working on the back end servers but I love the client! One client for everything from IM to telephony to conferencing. My big pet peeve is vendors who claim a “unified” solution then band-aid everything together.
- If you could think of one feature you’d like included in the next version of Lync, what would it be?
That’s an easy question!! Mobile clients for all major platforms with voice and video over the data channel. Now that tablets are prevalent, they become a great communication and collaboration endpoint.
- What do you feel is your area of expertise, where you’d consider yourself a bit of a rockstar?
I think the biggest value I bring is the ability to mate technology to business goals. UC isn’t cool because it’s new and shiny, it’s cool because it solves a myriad of real business problems with positive results in lowered costs and increased business revenue.
- Tell me about your blog. When did you start it and what direction has it taken? After being a rather prolific blogger, running hyperconnectivity.com for Nortel and being on point for MS UC blogging for Network World, I’m on a bit of a hiatus. I would be open to returning to blogging if the right opportunity came up.
- Lastly on a bit more of a personal note, where are you from and what do you think makes your city great?
I’m from the bay area in California, in the US. One of the few places you can surf and snow ski in the same day. I love all the outdoor activities and the fact we have gorgeous weather 300+ days a year. I’m an avid scuba diver, motorcycle enthusiast and re-learning rock climbing.
Many thanks for the contribution Alex! You can find Alex on twitter at @alexlewis.
Stay tuned to hear from another UC Pro from the blogosphere in the next few weeks.