In The Magic of Presence, Chris Gare has popped out a nice overview of some of the innovative presence companies out there today. I gave him a call this morning, and we chatted for 30 minutes. Nice guy.
For me, the call illustrated neatly the spectrum of opinion that exists around presence, especially in the mobile space. For example, I've had several conversations recently with individuals in large companies who have made statements like "mobile presence? isn't that just (pick your favorite) Google Talk / MSN Messenger / AIM on a handset?". At the other extreme, there are guys like Chris who really understand the boundaries and complexities of presence.
The challenge, for all those who would sell presence to ordinary people, is to describe it in terms that the average person can understand. For example, when we began describing iotum Talk-Now, we talked about a new application that would help you see who was available to talk, be notified when the people you needed to speak with were available, and share your availability with others. See, be notified, share. Those are the key concepts — not 'presence'.