Not all labs are created equal
Six years ago, I joined WWT with little knowledge of what the company was or did. It’s been non-stop ever since.
At the time, WWT was laying the groundwork for the Advanced Technology Center, or the "ATC" as it's known today. The vision behind building the ATC was ambitious: Give customers, partners and employees a place to test, evaluate and explore new technologies and OEMs.
It seemed like a daunting task to basically translate everything our engineering teams knew into a multifaceted, consumable lab environment. Many of our large customers and vendors seemed to be developing their own versions of lab and demo environments, so we had to make sure we created something unique that had real value.
With all of that in mind, we started building.
The progress over the years has been nothing short of inspiring. Check out this short visualization of the build out over the years:
Collab labs in the ATC: 2013 to 2019
The first iteration of Collab Labs in the ATC started small with a Cisco Unified Communication Manager (CUCM) environment, some telepresence servers and Microsoft Lync 2013. As customers started engaging with our labs, we began to learn why they used them, how often they needed access and what other technology we needed to add to meet their demands.
The ATC evolved and WWT continued to bring on newer technologies, different partners and develop more ways to access these lab capabilities. All of this was done to realize the original goal of creating a unique place to design, build, educate, demo and deploy the latest technology.
We grew and grew, extending our environments into the public clouds and SaaS applications.
Over time we were able to achieve scale by making more of our capabilities on-demand through virtual desktops and applications. We also incorporated third-party applications so customers could get a true sense of how technology would perform in their environments in real-world scenarios.
We’ve found that customers, partners and employees use our ATC labs for wide variety of needs. Examples include upgrade and migration testing, feature and vendor comparison, product benchmarking, design validation and, most recently, end-user and administrative training.
The more users engage with our labs, the more they learn and the more often they return. Much to the chagrin of our talented builders, we now understand that our job in the ATC is never really complete if we’re to truly achieve our vision.
Digital Workspace Labs: 2020 and beyond
Heading into 2020, we’re proud to reveal our most recent update to our Collab Labs space in the ATC, which we’re rebranding as “Digital Workspace Labs.”
This collection of collaboration-focused, on-demand and schedulable labs is the true culmination of customer feedback, partner support and a whole lot of engineering hours. It encompasses the collaboration tools that, based on years of R&D, we know organizations want to test and understand before embarking on important digital transformation initiatives.
The ATC's Digital Workspace Lab environment has come a long way from the original CUCM-based architecture. It now features labs and expertise on Cisco UCM, Cloud Contact Center, Cisco Meeting Server, Cisco and Microsoft Interoperability, Single Sign On, phone and video endpoints, configuring alerts and notifications, Webex and Zoom meetings, O365 and Microsoft Teams, Microsoft and Webex Teams, Webex Calling, Equinix, a Federal environment, E911, digital signage, VMware Workspace One and desktop migration. And we’re constantly adding more.
All of these technologies are accessible through WWT’s new B2B Innovation Platform at wwt.com, where we’re delivering unrivaled value for IT practitioners and decision-makers through a new way of consuming a consolidated collection of labs, workshops, briefings, assessments, trainings and more.
At WWT, we understand technology changes fast. Our goal is, and always will be, to understand where technology is going in order to give customers the information to make better, faster decisions that enable transformational outcomes.
Come check out the latest collaboration tech in our new Digital Workspace Lab environment. You’ll be welcomed as a valued part of today’s growing community of ATC innovators, and you’ll help define what the ATC and Digital Workspace Labs will become over the next 10 years.