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Interview with David Danto

by | Jun 11, 2021 | Interviews,

David Danto

David Danto

Director of UC Strategy & Research at Poly
Key Topics:Collaboration, UC, AV, Videoconferencing, Work From Home, Hybrid Working, Smarter Working
Location:New Jersey and everywhere on video
Bio:

David Danto has had over four decades of delivering successful business outcomes in media and collaboration technology.   He developed and executed global technology strategies in leadership roles with JPMorgan Chase and Lehman Brothers, and led media technology facility design and execution for organizations including Bloomberg LP, NYU, AT&T, and Financial News Network.  His efforts have been recognized by many premiere industry organizations, serving as The Director of Emerging Technologies for the non-profit IMCCA; as an NAB “Pick-Hits” judge for Broadcast Engineering; and as a multi-year CES Innovation Awards judge.  David is an expert on the collaboration technology industry, frequently presenting at industry events and blogging / contributing to / editing industry publications.

In addition to all that, David joined Poly in 2019 as their Director of UC Strategy and Research.  In this role he helps their team formulate and drive the company’s collaboration strategy; represents them with customers and clients; provides a conduit for customers to communicate market and user needs; and helps customers, analysts and the media truly understand the value of collaboration solutions. David’s full bio and blogs are viewable at www.Danto.info

How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?

I’ve been in the communication and collaboration industry for more than four decades.  I was an intern for AT&T Corporate Television way-back in 1978; worked in broadcasting and radio and cable television engineering for many years; transitioned to enterprise multimedia around the year 2000; and then focused on enterprise collaboration.  Three of my four decades were in end-user roles, learning what the effects of many different factors were on the day-to-day life of users.  I transitioned that knowledge to the “sell side” about ten years ago, using my experience to make me a user-experience-focused consultant and manufacturer strategist.

What sub-topics are you most passionate about?

As an advocate for remote working – and a remote worker myself for almost two decades – it had constantly been an uphill battle getting organizations to understand and prioritize the benefits of a hybrid workstyle.  The traditional business community spent a lot of energy demonizing remote workers as an excuse to cover-up other problems like rudderless teams and sluggish businesses.  This view was not only incorrect, it exacerbated any real problems that may have existed in those organizations.

The common excuse that most of the remote working nay-sayers gave to justify their positions was that bringing people into the same space caused some “magic” to happen from the impromptu collisions and connections.  Bumping into a colleague in a meeting or at the water-cooler was supposed to be the genesis of this magic interaction.  I honestly have never understood people’s acceptance of this model of organizations – as if we all worked in a 1950’s small business.  Yes, if you were employed at a local retail store then you may gain an advantage having all your co-workers in the same place all the time.  Realistically however, I and many knowledge workers haven’t worked in an office where everyone was in the same location, same city or even the same country for over two decades.  What good is in-person, impromptu “magic” when your colleagues are rarely in the same building with you?  Clearly, successful distributed workforces need to be able to develop that so-called magic using collaboration tools to truly be effective – and, when those tools are present on a computer or mobile device, it’s just as clear that that knowledge worker can be anywhere where they can access those tools and a solid internet connection.

That all brings us to today.  When a deadly pandemic swept over the globe, and just about all knowledge workers were forced to work remotely, we finally learned the truth.  It was the fear of infection and/or death that overcame the stigma and scapegoating of remote working.  We’ve learned a great deal about the remote and hybrid working model since this ordeal began.

Remote workers are generally more productive then in-office workers.  Two plus hour daily commutes were eliminated, and most of that time went back into worker productivity.  The dedication to tasks has been so great that people have risked burn-out due to over focusing (something we never would have learned if the “lazy remote worker” stigma still existed.)

In the future, organizations will likely have smaller offices, but they’ll have more of them and they will be in a more dispersed model. Their purpose will be for group activities (brainstorming, celebrating, whiteboarding) not individual work.

Who influences you within these topics?

Manufacturers and service providers in the space, end users that I speak with on a regular basis and my own decades of experiences.

What challenges are brands facing in this space?

It is absolutely unbelievable that we’re still struggling with an interoperability problem decades after video collaboration became mainstream.  It is time to solve this problem

What do you think the future holds in this space?

Now that we’ve proven that remote working works there are inevitable dominoes that will fall.  People will live where they want, not a daily commute distance away from an office.  Work-Life-Balance will give way to Work-Life-Blend – allowing employees to be adults and manage their time between life and work correctly.  Supervisors will need to learn to manage remote teams, etc, etc…

What brands are leading the way in this space?

Poly, Microsoft, Zoom and many more…

If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?

Podcasts, webinars, whitepaper, speaking opportunities, product innovation, video interviews.

What are your passions outside of work?

Family, Travel, many…

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?

Email.


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