I participated yesterday in a session at VoiceCon called Presence- Dial Tone of the Future?
May I have the envelope please.
The answer is NO.
Dial tone tells you that you can make a call and doesn't tell you anything about the status of the person you are calling. That's what presence is all about.
Presence, which all the panelists consider a key capability of UC, should be thought as a key element of the broader topic of context.
Here's what I consider to be the four key dimensions of contextually enhanced UC:
> Knowledge of the identity and respective roles of individuals in a work flow is essential to any context-aware communications.
> Presence/reachability includes physical activity and applications being accessed.
> Location is about where, in which direction and how fast.
> Situation/activity/event includes the business process needs for reduced time to X, various entities in the decision making process, the urgency of the matter at hand, and any relevant real-time and/or historical content, potentially delivered as notifications and alerts.
IBM made the added point, and I agree, that presence and more generally context, is a key enabler, not only for point-to-point and multipoint UC mostly with people on your contact list, but also for social networking with people potentially that you haven't even met.