The End User Perspective of Multi-Modal Unified Communications

Updated: September 08, 2010

My experienced colleagues at UC, are discussing the various practical perspectives of UC that have to be addressed in planning and managing UC technology implementation from an organizational perspective, highlighting what is changing in terms of selecting, integrating, and managing new UC technologies. While those concerns are important to the organization, we have to include those end users who will be most affected by the endpoint devices they use and the application interfaces they can exploit in terms of cost efficient, ease of use communications,"anywhere, anytime, anyhow!"

End users, who are part of a business process that will be supported by UC, will include customers and business partners. With the rapid adoption of mobile "smart-phones" for both personal and business use, UC has to support personalized device independence rather than just location based desktops, in order to maxmize both business process performance and personal job productivity.

Accessibility vs. Availability of People

Timely communications of any kind are dependent on both individual end user "accessibility" and "availability."Accessibility" needs a variety of communication technologies to allow any kind of connection (real-time or asynchronous, voice, data, etc) to be established between people. On the other hand, even with all the connectivity in the world, end user "availability," which includes not only time priorities, but also circumstantial issues (e.g., ability to talk, listen, read, type), cannot guarantee recipient "availability" for a timely response of any kind. However, the multi-modal nature of UC, coupled with wireless mobility, will enable end users to maximize their choice of contact access to increase personal "accessibility" and thus "availability" as well. (They can communicate from anywhere, anytime, without waiting to be in a particular location.)

UC is not only about "person-to-person" communications, but also about "process-to-person" contacts, where automated business applications proactively initiate contacts with people to notify them in a timely manner about time-sensitive situations. Clearly, such applications will communicate primarily with data (text messages, self-service applications) not voice conversations, so multi-modal "smart-phones' will be key to such forms of business process performance efficiencies as well.

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