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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.