October 18, 2007

False Promise

On Tuesday Microsoft launched several products that it claimed is its answer to the needs of “unified communications”. In a story related to this, CNET quotes Jeff Raikes, President of Microsoft’s Business Division as saying: "The era of dialing blind, the era of playing phone tag, the era of voice-mail jam...that era is ending." This is a tall order. We have seen such claims before. People identify the failures of the traditional phone and attribute them to the technology. They think that having Presence information of each other will solve all the problems. But the technology hasn’t failed; so a new technology will not solve the problem. The problem is fundamentally social. Most of the IMs allow us to specify a stealth Presence setting for one or more o our buddies. So, we may not dial blind, but we may end up leaving a message of some kind (even if it is not voice mail). The moment I can/need to leave a message eliciting a response call, which may end up in a voice mail, we have the possibility of "telephone tag".

Posted by aswath at October 18, 2007 03:01 AM
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It's not the technology's fault...sometimes people don't want to be contacted. I often don't check email and my phone for extended periods. I was thinking this morning...I don't know how someone would get in touch with me in case of an emergency. I could use a bat phone. Actually, that would be a nice feature - allowing callers to override the vibrate/silence mode on my phone.

Posted by: Nate at October 21, 2007 08:29 PM

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