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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mobile UC Action From "Multimodal Notifications"

Copyright (C) Unified-View, All Rights Reserved.

September 26, 2010

UC and Multimodal Notifications

By Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View

UC-based, mobile, multimodal communications will be changing how people both initiate and receive contacts from other people, as well as dire3ctly from automated business process applications. While person-to-person contacts will become intelligently based upon the status and preferences of the participating parties (”presence”), the contact initiator will typically be in the driver’s seat at first. Then, based on dynamic real world considerations, the mode of communication used become based on what works for both the initiator and the individual recipient(s). Because UC also encompasses human contacts with automated applications, the mode of interaction must be dictated by the human user, regardless of how contact was initiated, with one major exception.

While great progress has been made in speach recognition as a means of data input and user interface control, it has not made completely full voice conversation practical as a user interface for self-service applications. As recognized in a new book, “Advances In Speech Recognition: Mobile Environment, Call Centers and Clinics,” speech is effcient for user input, but not practical for large ammounts of content output which can most efficiently be reviewed on a screen. That is why I see tradtional telephone self service applications (IVR) being replaced with what I call Interactive Multimodal Response (IMR) applications on all forms of multimodal endpoint devices (smart-phones, iPads, tablets, etc.)

One of the key roles that mobility and UC flexibility can play is in supporting automated business processes that can initiate contacts with individual end users for time sensitive notifications. However, I see such applications doing more that sending notication information to a user. Instead, the applications will be able to initiate an interactive multimodal exchange with the recipient, but with the choice of input and output media resting with the human recipient.

Communications Enabled Business Processes (CEBP) are going to heavily exploit such “multimodal notifications” because they can proactively initiate a self-service interaction without waiting for the recipient to take the initiative. Until now, telephony-based IVR was seen as the best way to handle self-services from consumer who, until lately, were not expected to have access to a real-time communication device other than a phone. With UC and mobile, multimodal devices, the future and value of self-services will expand significantly from online desktops and telephone IVR.

Multimodal notifications will also become another "gateway" for efficient customer care, since they will also provide the necessary context for efficient,“click-to-contact” live assistance, rather than a “blind” phone call.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Microsoft Wants To LYNC You!

Copyright (C) Unified-View, All Rights Reserved.

September 10, 2010

What’s In A Name? Microsoft’s Lync Wants The End Users In Business UC

By Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View

I was fortunate to participate in a discussion with my UC Strategies team and Microsoft about the big announcement of the next version of Office Communication Server. What was of most significance, is that Microsoft has renamed their software product (again), but, this time to one that will appeal to the individual end users, rather than to just IT management.

While UC technology infrastructure may be understandable and important to IT, the functionality of UC concepts is not so well understood by the people who should benefit most directly from using UC-based applications, the individual end users. As a result, the term “UC” means little to those potential end users, and, the integrations for UC, even less useful.

In a move to help remedy the problem of relating UC technology concepts to practical individual end user perspectives, Microsoft announced a name change for it’s latest version of its desktop Office Communications Server (OCS), which is a software platform for several real-time communication functions, including:

· Presence management (availability status information)

· Instant (text) messaging

· Conferencing

· Voice telephony

The new name, Lync, suggests not only a common process for accessing those real-time communication functions, it also implies interoperability with other forms of communication that are not “real-time.” So, as a user-oriented “gateway” to legacy telephony services, the name, “Lync,” suggests more than simple integration with traditional telephony contacts, but other multi-modal options for UC.

Microsoft Wants To “Lync” you!

To reinforce that user perspective, Microsoft suggests that “lync” can be used as a verb to better encompass what the end user can do with that particular application software tool, i.e., establish a real-time connection, in a user’s choice of ways, with a person or group of persons, if available. This flexibility will be particularly useful as users start exploiting mobile, multi-modal devices (smart-phones, iPads) and desktop “softphones.”

At this time, the Lync functionality defined for UC seems to be focused primarily on person-to-person contacts, where federated presence will be a consideration in initiating a real-time contact. However, as I have frequently stated, UC is more than that person-to-person communications, and contacts between people and automated application processes and vice versa are also part of the business communication challenge that requires the flexibility of multi-modal UC.

So, we should expect to soon see how Lync will be inter-operating with automated applications that need to initiate multi-modal “notifications” to specific individual users (CEBP), as well as how those recipients can respond to such automated, contacts. This will be of particular importance in customer-care applications that will exploit automated, time-critical, pro-active contacts for cost-efficient performance.

For now, we see Lync as a logical step forward, from an end use’s perspective, towards convenient communication flexibility and the “user’s choice” in both initiating a person-to-person contact, as well as responding to any contact from another person.

What Do You Think?
You can contact me at: or (310) 395-2360.