I missed Brough Turner’s talk at VON on IM / Presence and Mobile Phones, but boy I wish I had seen it. His slide deck is available through his blog entry. Two important points he makes:
- With a few exceptions, most VoIP service providers are still thinking like telecom engineers, not focusing what the user is trying to do, i.e. connect with another person in a fashion appropriate to what the user is trying to accomplish and what the other party is available for.
- Presence is the wrong word. What we mean is availability, with contextual qualifications. My mobile phone is always with me, always on, but I may not take your call !
Presence is exactly the wrong word. How many calls start with "Is this a good time"? As the originator of the call, I am not particularly interested in whether or not you are "present". I am interested in whether you are willing to engage in a conversation. As the recipient of the call, broadcasting my presence is simply broadcasting an invitation to be disturbed. That’s why so many business people balk at using IM, and why so many teens go online using the "appear offline" mode on their IM client.
This, of course, is exactly the problem which iotum is focused on solving — forget about presence. What’s your willingness to engage, and do you want to project that willingness to a potential caller?