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The tip of the iceberg

When Gartner Group put iotum in their annual cool vendors report, they had this to say, by way of explanation:

Enterprise users aren't lacking in ways to communicate — with multiple phones, e-mail systems and messaging platforms, users spend too much time managing their communications systems. Presence is a solution to this problem, but managing presence is a manual process prone to error. iotum automates presence management, resulting in more accurate and easy-to-use communications systems.

At last week's Gartner Symposium, I used the following slide talk about automating presence management.  The iceberg metaphor is apt, because although it "just works" for end users, the underlying infrastructure required to make it work is hidden from the user.

The biggest conceptual change is that New Presence shifts the presence metaphor from devices to end users.   We're all familiar with unwanted IM pings.  These arrive because IM's presence model isn't to ask "does Jill want to communicate", but rather "is Jill at her PC".  The mere fact that keys and mouse are in motion doesn't say anything at all about Jill's needs, or wants. 

Jill's desire to communicate with any particular person is predicated on her current activity, the expected content of the conversation, and the relationship she has with the person making the request.   Much of this information can be derived from clues left in Jill's environment, and from observing her prior behaviour.  It's the ambient collection of this contextual information that makes it possible to automate presence management.

And that's the "rocket science" behind iotum — that you can build an autonomic presence management system that understands relationships and context, and attaches real value to presence (perhaps for the first time) for the busy people who will benefit from it the most.

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • anonymous April 30, 2007, 7:32 am

    The iceberg slide is one of those pictures that I have seen in every technology.
    Management Consultants use it in Analytics, in Hosted CRM, SFA and anything hosted/SaaS/ASP

    Its a good picture but has been overused in my opinion.

  • Steve May 1, 2007, 1:10 pm

    Congrats Alec for not only getting on Gartner’s radar screen but also mention on their Cool Vendors list. A harbinger of good things to come I am sure!

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