Opinions — 19 October 2014

While unified communications can be used for personal and social contacts, I like to focus on it’s role in business communications, especially with mobile customers/consumers. With UC increasingly moving to hosted/managed “cloud” services (UCaaS), the CPE-based telephony market is being subsumed by  mobility and wireless IP connectivity, while new forms of near real-time messaging are becoming part of old “unified messaging” (email-voice mail) capabilities.

What is also happening is that new features and functions are being provided separately to both contact initiators (callers, senders) and contact recipients (callees, message addressees) in terms of flexibility in their user interaction interface (voice, video, text, etc.). With the increase in mobile messaging, there has also been new online service capabilities for controlling the impact of a new message on the recipient, i.e., ephemeral or disappearing messages.

I’m sure you have all seen the offerings by Apple and other service vendors that allow a message sender to make any kind of message (text, voice, video) to automatically “disappear” after delivery to a recipients endpoint device. These services include Apple’s iMessage, Snapchat, Cyber Dust, Wickr, etc., offering different persistency control options for both the sender and the recipient. In particular, the services also try to prevent the recipient to copy a message before it disappears. Gryphn is another secure messaging service that exploits ephemral messaging.

So, there are certainly practical reasons for using such features for person-to-person messaging, since Millenials are doing more ad hoc messaging than talking with their smartphones and tablets. But, aside from such personal messaging activity, are “disappearing messages” also useful for business communications?

I haven’t done much research on what’s actually happening with disappearing business messages, but I can see several practical applications to consider. It all depends on the basic relationship between a business process and the message recipient, as well as the importance of the message content. In particular, just as we include proactive notifications and alerts to end users as part of UC-enabled CEBP services, making them “disappear” can certainly be another option, especially when such notifications are generated based on the mobile recipient’s transient location.

Why Should A Business Message Be Made To Disappear?

There are a number of practical reasons why a business message originator would want their message to disappear, including:

  • Want a timely response to their message, e.g., limited time offer,
  • Location-based notification that will be transient
  • Minimize overloading a recipient with messages that have to be deleted
  • Provide message recipient more control over message disposition
  • Reinforces security access for information delivery by requiring an immediate authorization response first
  • Minimize impact of delivering a message to the wrong address
  • Reduce the impact of too many “notification” messages that are not time critical

So, we now have another option to deal with under the label of “unified messaging,” i.e., should the message disappear automatically and how will that be controlled?

I am posting this on my UC Strategies blog because it is an evolving topic that needs more research. Let me know what you think.






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