Bob Emmerson
Bob Emmerson is an English national living in the Netherlands. He holds a degree in electronic engineering and mathematics from...
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Bob Emmerson | October 24, 2011 |


Automated Contextual Collaboration

Automated Contextual Collaboration Voice calls can be used as a trigger that ushers in content, relationships, and information. Content comes to callers, rather than callers pursuing content.

Voice calls can be used as a trigger that ushers in content, relationships, and information. Content comes to callers, rather than callers pursuing content.

I started writing about UC, followed by UCC, about eight years ago. Lately I’ve focused on M2M so I need to catch up before writing about Vobi and its innovative automated contextual collaboration solution. Maybe my view of contextual communications was out-of-date, so I Googled the term but didn’t learn anything new. Then I searched on the No Jitter site and found a short article and these words:

"She [Avaya's Tara Mahoney] told me one area of emphasis in Avaya's R&D and work with its partners is what she called 'contextual collaboration,' which means the ability for the network to know and act upon information about a user's communications sessions.

"In practice, what this means is that the back-end system should know who your most frequent collaborators are--who you communicate with the most, and in what modes--and through a combination of automation and user pre-configuration, ought to be able to automatically handle each communication in the most appropriate manner." [emphasis added]

Fortunately that matches the baseline functionality of Vobi's offer, but you can forget "ought"; that is exactly what it does.

The Basic Proposition
The basic proposition is very simple. Most business employees communicate and collaborate on a regular annual basis with around 150 different colleagues and third parties. This figure comes from Vobi's CEO, Mark Castleman and it's derived from analyzing the traffic of PBXCentral, a provider of hosted communications services. Mark is also CEO of PBXCentral.

The first time a call is made between two parties, the Vobi system identifies the parties and launches a collaboration client and establishes a desktop or tablet sharing session as well as the relevant caller content. Content may be associated with the caller’s social profile, business relationship and/or shared files. In addition, the next time a call is made between the parties, the system rebuilds the previous session. If data files or applications were involved they will be retrieved automatically, as illustrated in Figure 1. The session will default to the last communications medium used by the second party and if a session cannot be established, then an alternative medium will be used. Preferred media and phone numbers are defined in the users’ profile.

Figure 1. The platform, which can handle multiple parties, brings the workspace to callers in real time using a call-connect-share model. The client software employs SIP and this can switch TDM or mobile calls to VoIP.

Once the content is gathered and presented to the users in a session, the solution, which is based on a peering cloud platform, allows users to interact via mainstream collaboration media: voice and video conferencing, desktop and document sharing, email, chat, blogs, etc., etc. In this short article we are focusing on enterprise users, who will profit from the speed and efficiency with which collaboration sessions are established.


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