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Everybody Loves "Presence" -- In Unified Communications

OK, so that may be the worst pun I've ever used in a blog headline, but according to a Yankee Group post in No Jitter, presence -- not VoIP -- is the key to Unified Communications. And frankly, that seems like one of the few reasonable things I've seen written about UC.In the piece, Yankee Group's Zeus Kerravala argues that rather than Voice over IP being the foundation of Unified Communications, it's actually presence, not VoIP, that should be thought of as the foundation for UC:

Unified communications needs to be thought of as a platform, not a product. What that means is that the long term goal of UC should be to take the UC tools and embed them into business applications which allow us to alter business processes and create new ones. Unifying all of our communications tools into one desktop client is interesting, but it really doesnt change the way we work. Embedding the tools into applications which allows us to automate or make more intelligent communication choices does. Presence is the thing that gives us that intelligence.

I couldn't agree more. Heck, I could live without IM, much less UC, as long as I have that all-important presence information about who is actually available at any given time.

But then Karravala starts to get really interesting. The key, he says, is to "expand presence to include not only people but also objects and devices."

I totally get it. Once you know, in real time, what things are available on the network, whether they are people, applications, or devices, you can start to make the best use of all your communications options. Better still, once the network knows, it take action based on what's available -- and what isn't available but should be. According to Karravala, "dont buy into the vendor hype surrounding UC as basically the next wave of VoIP, and look instead at how strong the presence offerings are."

To learn more, check out the No Jitter post, and also these bMighty resources addressing presence and Unified Communications:

8 Essential Questions on Unified Communications -- see number 8...

What's In Unified Communications -- this chart demonstrates that users don't yet fully understand the importance of presence.

Smaller Business UC Hurdles: User Adoption, Policies -- presence plays a role here, too.

bMighty Research: Unified Communications In Small And Midsize Companies -- download this exclusive research report free with your free bMighty registration.