The future of presence

In the last part of our presence feature, Adam Turner ponders the future of presence

Previous: Presence interoperability

While the big vendors talk big about presence, the technology will struggle to make significant inroads into businesses until interoperability issues are resolved, says Forrestor's Sheedy.

"There's definitely merit in presence, but presence for the sake of presence isn't necessarily all that valuable. Presence is a tool to make other things you have more useful. When you combine presence with a unified messaging or communications platform, presence is clearly an important part of that platform," Sheedy says.

"The issue is there aren't a lot of good de facto standards around this, particularly when it comes to mobility. You can't integrate outside your own organisation - and that's been one of the reasons why unified messaging in general hasn't taken off."

Federation looks set to be a key driver for presence, with history showing that interoperability is often the catalyst for an explosion in the uptake of communications technologies - such as email and SMS. Limiting federation is a short term strategy that ignores the long term benefits of interoperability, Sheedy says.

"Even big companies like Cisco and Microsoft will benefit from presence interoperability because interoperability will make presence useful for more applications and therefore more organisations might be more interested in it. If presence interoperability means the total market expands, then obviously everyone will benefit in the long run," he says.

Meanwhile presence is continuing to prove its worth within organisations, says Centrix Solutions' Mahdi.

"I wouldn't consider a roll out without VoIP and presence, or presence without VoIP," he says.

"Presence is the vital piece that helps you make the most of your other productivity tools."


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