Unified Communications Most Important Feature

David Byrd : Byrd's Eye View
David Byrd
Chief Marketing Officer for ANPI

Unified Communications Most Important Feature

The week was very busy for Broadvox and many of our partners. We were in Miami for the East Coast version of ITEXPO. The crowd was bigger, the sessions attended by larger audiences and the discussion points varied. But like many conferences this year, cloud computing and managed services ruled the day. For me, I learned a very interesting fact from IDC. In polling companies with at least 50 employees, the most important feature of Unified Communications (UC) was instant messaging (IM). At the bottom of the list with only 29% support was presence. I am still trying to understand why something so prevalent as IM is at the top of the list for desired features and something so useful as presence is at the bottom of the list.

Instant messaging is used by our company as a way to avoid email delays when needing to communicate with people immediately. I somewhat understand its climb to the top because I can see the benefit in bypassing the delay in waiting for someone to open an email, read it and respond. IM is a lot like chat. You can do it while engaged in other activities rather easily. Yet, I believe if I took presence off the table as a feature of UC, I would hear a lot of complaints by the users of it at Broadvox. Presence allows for us to know the status and availability of people through the company. In that regards it shares the trait of being instant. My issue isn’t that presence should be viewed the same as IM, instead I am perplexed by why it was the lowest rated/desired feature.

My response during ITEXPO on the panel where this information was presented was to suggest that presence suffered from a lack of knowledge and use. When people use presence they eventually find it indispensible as a tool supporting their work day. I also suggest that the list of contacts should not be labeled a “buddy list”. While I maintain an open door policy, I am still an executive at Broadvox and not everyone’s “buddy”. Presence must grow beyond this casual label and into the professional feature it is.

As for summarizing ITEXPO, the IP ecosystem is healthy and growing. Cloud computing, managed services and hosted communications is the growing trend with new entrants every quarter. News of ShoreTel’s acquisition of M5 created quite a buzz. After four days of exciting discussions, presentations and events, I am ready to go home. Goodbye Miami. See you next year!

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