Opinions — 08 September 2014

By Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View/ UC Strategies Expert

For those of you who have followed my posts about UC and Mobile Customer Services, you have seen me emphasize the need to look at end user communications needs from two different perspectives, i.e., the contact initiator vs. the contact recipient. Further, as mobile users rapidly adopt personalized multimodal smartphones and tablets, there is a growing shift to visual user interfaces and text messaging that can be complemented, as needed, with voice and video conversations. Finally, because “unified interactions” can now include contacts (“notifications”) from automated business process applications (CEBP), it is now important for user recipients to have more dynamic control over such notifications, including screening options and flexible choice in responding quickly and easily.
Until now, because all end user communications were lumped together on a single device, it wasn’t that easy to separately control a user’s functional needs as a contact initiator or recipient. A first step in the direction of facilitating more efficient voice connections was the introduction of Instant Messaging (IM) as a starting point for contact initiators to make contact in near real-time and then escalate to voice (or video). Unfortunately, IM contacts are limited to people you know and access through “federated presence” information about availability.
Mobile devices also made it slow and inconvenient to easily respond to any kind of real-time notification, when the recipient’s mobile device was in a recipient’s pocket. This is becoming even more of a problem as smartphones are increasing their screen sizes and becoming “phablets.” So, that’s when the communications industry came out with an extension to a physical smartphone in the form of “smart watches.” These “iWatches” provide quick access to the visual information that is supplied by the smartphone, as well as enabling simple responses to a notification message. The problem, though, is that the smart watch doesn’t do much for efficiently initiating telephone calls with a simple visual request message to and from mobile users, rather than the old, “blind “ and disruptive call connection to a PSTN number, or now requiring IM and federated presence.
Apple’ “iPager”
My colleague, Dave Michels, describes Apple’s new iPager capabilities in this blog. I am a little disappointed that they labeled the device as a “pager,” since the old “pagers” were only one-way notification devices that required other means of responding. Apple’s “iPager” provides flexible means of response as well, making them good for both initiators and recipients.
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