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Riffing on Ken Camp

My buddy Ken Camp snapped out a lengthy ramble on Voice 2.0, Presence and Availability on Sunday afternoon.  He hit the nail on the head, articulating the problem we wrestle with on a daily basis at iotum which is simply how to succinctly describe the vision for this stuff in terms that the average forward thinking business person can understand?

Ken concludes:

When we think of the telephone network, one of the features that makes it so valuable for worldwide business is its ubiquitous presences. The phone is everywhere. Why not leverage Voice 2.0 technologies for the ubiquitous enterprise. The enterprise that’s always-on, always-accessible, always responsive? That, to me is the future. The always-on enterprise that provide instant communications with the resources around the globe that can give me what I need as a customer.

More than that, I say.  How about the always-on, self aware, and self actualized individual. Or perhaps we’re jumping into the realm of personal development literature…  I digress…

In any case, the real ramifications of all these technologies will be felt as today’s simplistic “presence” technology moves into the mobile space.  As discussed previously here, systems like MSN Messenger (to use just one example) allow you to show yourself busy, away, or available to others — the same message, all the time.  But what does it mean to be “away” when the handset is mobile?  “Busy”, when the handset isn’t in use?  Simply grafting today’s simple presence technologies into that environment isn’t going to work.

Moreover, the graft is going to be incredibly disruptive in a negative way. 

Think of the furore when mobile operators proposed a cellular whitepages service.  Customers rose up, in unison, and said NO.  The mobile phone is really the last bastion of privacy that most people have.  Telemarketers don’t call it, others don’t have the number unless explicitly provided, and when desired, it can be discretely turned off or redirected to voice mail. 

Mobile customers are not going to want to compromise the privacy they have now for the convenience of IM and presence on the handset.  Mobile presence will be a failure unless it can model today’s social relationships much more accurately, and unless it gives users a far finer degree of control over it than today’s systems offer.

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