One of the keystones of unified communications is ‘presence’. Another word for presence might be status, but presence is a status–plus a little bit more. Of course, that is only if it is done right and kept up to date. Social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook could be leveraged to update presence in real time.
The difference between presence and status is a matter of detail. With the status in a traditional instant messaging program you can generally tell if someone is online, or offline, and whether they are actively using their computer, or perhaps have stepped away for a few minutes. But, that’s about it.
Presence takes status a step farther by providing relevant details like whether the contact is at the desk, or in the car. Presence lets you know if they are on a call, or in a meeting. In other words, status may let you know someone is available, but presence lets you know where and how they are available so you can make more intelligent decisions regarding the most effective way to communicate with them in the moment.
The problem is that the value of presence is dependent on you. Unified communications systems can generally tell when you’re on a call, and they integrate with the calendar so they can update availability automatically based on your schedule. But, there are a number of gaps in that system which require some sort of manual intervention on your part to keep presence up to date.
You may have a hard time remembering to keep your unified communications presence updated, but if you’re like most people you have no issue updating your Facebook status or tweeting about the inane details of your life. Eureka! I think we’re on to something.
Seems like the logical thing to do is to leverage the Facebook and/or Twitter API’s and develop an integration between unified communications and social networking that allows you to update your presence by tweeting or through Facebook status updates.
What do you think?