Eric Krapf
Eric Krapf is General Manager and Program Co-Chair for Enterprise Connect, the leading conference/exhibition and online events brand in the...
Read Full Bio >>

Eric Krapf | January 22, 2009 |


Mobile Users: Invisible to Presence?

Mobile Users: Invisible to Presence? What if a mobile worker initiates a call on their mobile phone to someone outside the company? The system has no way of knowing, and presence status doesn't change.

What if a mobile worker initiates a call on their mobile phone to someone outside the company? The system has no way of knowing, and presence status doesn't change.

A lot of the talk and demos at Lotusphere this past week were about presence, and the great value this offers when integrated with communications portals and interfaces. I'll take the value of presence as stipulated, but there's one important exception, a scenario where you can't get presence.Most of the UC systems, certainly the Sametime Unified Telephony that IBM Lotus was showing off this week, can display the presence of any user connected to the system--in the case of SUT, even indirectly, because SUT acts as middleware so that a user on a Cisco IP-PBX can see the presence status of a colleague on an Avaya IP-PBX, with SUT brokering in the middle.

These systems also do a great job getting a call to the device that the person is actually using at the time; various systems can ring your office phone, cell phone, home phone, and hotel extension, either concurrently or in succession, until you pick up or it goes to a mailbox per your preset rules.

(Incidentally, at Lotusphere I heard a wonderful put-down of "forking," which is where all the devices are rung at the same time and the first one that's picked up gets the call. Jeremy Sussman, who's IBM Lotus's lead architect for Sametime Unified Telephony, likened this approach to being in a clock store at noon, with all the cuckoo clocks and others going off all at once. For you old folks, think of the beginning of that Pink Floyd song, "Time.")

But here's where presence comes up short: You can extend the call to an employee's mobile phone, and if an incoming call is routed into the call server and thence out to the cell phone, that person, if they answer the call, will switch to "on-the-phone" presence status in their colleagues' UC portals.

But what if that mobile worker initiates a call on their mobile phone to someone outside the company? It's been known to happen.

In that case, the system has no way of knowing that the person is on the phone, and their presence status doesn't change.

This problem actually came up at Lotusphere, in a session on SUT that was being run by Jeri Korkki of IBM Global Technology Services. His suggestion was that the mobile operators would need to be able to pass on-hook/off-hook status to enterprise systems. Yeah, good luck with that.

There is another alternative. If the person's mobile device has the UC client on it, the user could signal the call server to set up one leg of a call out to the user's cell phone, then the other leg of the call out to the person that the user is trying to reach. Then the call server would know the mobile user's status and could reflect it.

All of this may seem like a minor detail, but ask yourself: If presence is the dialtone of the future, what if dialtone and busy signals couldn't be relied on to reflect the true status of a person on a traditional call? What if you called someone and got a busy signal even though they were sitting there, waiting for your call? What if you picked up your phone and got dialtone even though the system, in fact, was down?What if a mobile worker initiates a call on their mobile phone to someone outside the company? The system has no way of knowing, and presence status doesn't change.


July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

April 19, 2017

Now more than ever, enterprise contact centers have a unique opportunity to lead the way towards complete, digital transformation. Moving your contact center to the cloud is a starting point, quick

July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.