A Vision for Presence

Melanie Turek moderated a panel session at Enterprise 2.0 featuring Alec Saunders from Iotum, Nick Fera, Paul Haverstock from Microsoft, Jabber’s Joe Hildebrand and David Marshak of IBM.

Companies are looking for new ways to take advantage of “presence” – knowing where their employees are, what they are doing… This is closely tied to realizing the potential of the virtual workplace. How do we stay in touch with people with whom we are working but who are working in a remote location?

Of the panelists, fellow Ottawan Iotum‘s Alec Saunders stood out – both for his clarity and his pragmatic, readily available solution.

Saunders pointed out that your chances of speaking to a human being when you make a phone call are only 18% and people have to try 4.15 times on average to reach the party they want. Fixing this would enhance productivity greatly.Right now, presence is indicated in IM by wiggling our mouse (and having our computer come alive). This is a problem (why be interrrupted when we’ve just started working?) We need a people-centric model.

Saunders pointed to his New Presence paper that he published on his blog last year. He suggested that we look at a range of clues relating to our relationship with the people attempting to contact us. Iotum has developed a solution based on managing presence in light of a variety of factors incorporating your relationships with people and the range of activities you might be involved in at any time.

A free trial of Iotum’s Talk Now is available through download. I think I’ll try it.