The Coffee Button: My Favorite UC Feature
This button on my mobile phone automatically picks up my current deskphone call so it's playing in my ear as well as on my speaker phone. Then I go make coffee.
Unified Communications is about people--it's supposed to help how you and I work every day! This means that UC really has to be flexible--what's important to me may be different from you.By the way, this is why the notion of "who needs more than 35 features" is wrong--applications need to have enough features to meet the needs of different people in very different roles, and for different companies in many different industries. I myself may only use a few--but they have to be there.
My favorite UC feature is my coffee button.
This is the button on my mobile phone which automatically picks up my current deskphone call so it's playing in my ear now as well as on my speaker phone. Then I get up, leave the room and go make coffee, brush my teeth, or let out the dog. I can keep contributing to the call as I need. I tend to get better ideas in the garden, for example--although I'd caution people to make sure they are fully mute-button-dexterous.
A note to phone designers--mute buttons should be four times the size of any other button and be right under one's thumb.
When I get back into my office with my coffee, where the call is still playing on the speaker, I just drop the mobile call. There are no beeps or visible roster changes to others on the call--this is just flexibility in how the call is piped to me.
Now I also use Microsoft or IBM instant messaging all the time on my desktop. I can see everyone's presence and conference call attendance. I have unified messaging, and I am always point-and-clicking from the screen to make calls (dialing numbers manually is weird now). While these other UC features are wonderful, I would give them all up before giving up my coffee button!
I do more with my special feature: it solves the negative-space-time-continuum problem of business these days. This is the problem that there is no longer any time between meetings--in fact, there is negative time; everything overlaps.
Say you just have to get on the next call to say you are there and allow it to start, but you haven't finished the previous call. No problem--I flip the current call to my ear, then hold it on the speaker and dial the next call, say hello on the speaker phone, get the muting right and continue closing out the previous call in my ear. Easy! Both calls are shown on-screen so I can control them, flip back, make more coffee, and so forth.
The important business point here is that organizations deploying UC have to think about real users and their different roles and work practices.
UC is not one-size-fits-all.
So get some help from experts who can help you with an analysis of the roles and needs of your people before deploying UC to ensure you will get real productivity benefits.
And make sure there is plenty of flexibility in the UC solutions you purchase so you get your own coffee button.This button on my mobile phone automatically picks up my current deskphone call so it's playing in my ear as well as on my speaker phone. Then I go make coffee.