Is Presence good enough?

Vendors say Presence is a major feature of unified communications systems. But analysts question whether presence is functional enough to make a difference, or needs backup from other applications and services.

Mike Gotta, senior analyst with the Burton Group, says the presence technology offered by leading UC vendors today is valuable -- but narrow in scope.

"It's overwhelmingly around telephony, VoIP, instant messaging. It's about connecting in a communications way," Gotta said. "If you look at an IM-type presence system, they give you: 'I'm at my desk. I'm out to lunch. I'm on the road.' It tells you the state of somebody's ability to communicate with you. But it only gives you just that one thing. There's no sense of presence over time. I don't know where you're traveling. I don't know who you were on the phone with earlier."

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