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Something old, something new: Companies to watch in 2013

SDN, network monitoring, and RIM all have high hopes for 2013.

It’s hard to believe, but we’re almost at the end of 2012, which means it’s time to look ahead towards 2013. I wrote a predictions blog earlier that looked at a few trends, but I think there are a handful of companies worth watching next year. As you can imagine, some of them are smaller startups, but some are more established companies.

Magor

Located in Kanata, Ottawa, Magor doesn’t get nearly the same level of media coverage as the louder, more brash Vidyo, but the Magor solution is every bit as game changing, in many ways more so. Magor leverages the flexibility of SVC, desktop sharing and UC to create a unique collaborative environment. Anyone I’ve talked to who has used the solution based on "visual conversations" loves it. Magor’s challenge for 2013 is to raise the level of awareness so people don’t say "who?" when I ask them if they’ve tried the solution.

Aerohive, Ruckus, Meru and Xirrus

There’s no question that BYOD remains one of the hottest trends in technology today, and that trend is currently a huge driver for Wi-Fi. Add in the upcoming 802.11ac product cycle and Wi-Fi should remain one of the hottest sectors in IT. However, the market currently has three dominant vendors (Cisco, Motorola and Arbua) and a bunch of small companies with their own unique solutions. It would make sense for the likes of Dell, Juniper, Brocade and Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise to own one of these vendors, so we may see some M&A activity. The most obvious acquirer is Dell, as it has a huge channel and could benefit from owning the technology.

Avaya

This is a company that’s gone through a significant facelift over the past half-decade. Avaya went private, bought Nortel, bought RadVision, revamped the channel, gutted and rebuilt the management team, and now its time to execute. The voice business will carry the company, but the growth for Avaya will be in the area of networking. It’s a huge market and if all they do is attach data to a small percentage of the voice business, it’s a huge boost for them revenue-wise. The product is there, now it’s time to sell.

Big Switch, Plexxi, PLUMGrid and the rest of the SDN startups

With SDN mania ruling the network universe, consolidation is inevitable. The only question is which of these vendors gets acquired and which are on the outside looking in. Big Switch is the obvious target but they’ll command a hefty, Nicira-like premium, which may be too much for most companies to absorb. Either way, this will be one active segment of the market.

Research in Motion

As a Canadian, it’s sad to see the once-great RIM having fallen as far and as fast as it has. The only thing more disappointing is seeing the knuckleheads at the NHL ruin this entire hockey season. With the new OS and some new devices, this is the year to see if RIM can create some positive momentum. It’s a long shot, but they do have a large install base of enterprise buyers who could try and give them another shot. Computer Associates did it; let’s see if RIM can.

Gigamon

Network monitoring is hot, hot, hot right now. Why? Because everything is becoming a network service, and Gigamon provides pervasive, deep visibility into the network that can feed up to other systems. I put them on this list because they’re pegged for an IPO this year and this should remain a hot segment as cloud and mobility move more resources to the network.

VOSS

I’m not talking about the water company here, but instead the service fulfillment company. Not the most well-known company, but one of the better examples of UC middleware that enables organizations to deploy multi-vendor UC solutions that actually work! Think of VOSS as an abstraction layer that sits above UC and allows it customers to provision, manage and operate a large-scale UC service without many of the manual steps required today. With Lync looming on the horizon, we should see UC pick up again, increasing the value of a company like VOSS.

Finally, this is my last blog posting for 2012. I want to thank everyone who’s commented on my blogs, even when speaking of me negatively.

We may not always agree, but that’s what opinions are for and I’m always happy to hear everyone’s feedback. I wish everyone a very happy holiday season and look forward to 2013!

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