Almost 8 years ago, our company started using IP telephony instead of conventional PBX.
IP Telephony uses TCP/IP network, so you only have to have single cable to your desk, for both computer and telephone.
More over, because IP Telephony is the computer network system, telephone handset can be PC software instead of dedicated hardware handset.
It gives a lot of advantages because computer software handset (called soft phone) can make use of other system or databases. For example, telephone book for the soft phone can be employee database of HR System.
IP Telephony came with “presence system” which you can see your buddies status anytime. So you know called party status prior to dialing, then you will not dial while your buddy’s status is either absent or busy.
presence system is somehow convenient, but because it is based on the concept of “telephone availability of desktop handset”, status can be only “at desk”,”absent” ,”busy”, “offline” only, and not enough to tell “the person’s availability”
For example, when I am on bullet train travelling, status of presence system is “absent” because I am out of office, but actually, it is most available time, because I have nothing to do in the train. Further more, I can response to E-mail, but phone conversation won’t be OK in the train.
And another inconvenient is that I can only set “status” from my desktop soft phone. So I can not change status while I am away from my desk.
Recently, our company implemented Google Apps for our information system, and it came with Google talk, Instant Messaging system (called IM).
IM has “status” feature, and I can set any status as I like, so I can set “in the meeting”, “on annual leaf”, ” in transit”, “not in the mood” etc.
(I even can use emoticon for status )
Since it is typical cloud system, I can use any Internet access device such as iphone, cell phone, home PC etc. to set/view status.
Of course, any body can see my status anywhere using their internet access device as well.
With Google talk, our presence system became much more useful, but only issue is the accountability of status set.
If I forgot to change status, and left as I was overnight, and if it happens often, people stop viewing the status because it is not necessary telling truth.
For Google talk to be our new working presence system and productivity tool, key factor is how to make it accountable.
To achieve this, I am trying to make “change status action” as a habit.
Everytime I move, or situation changes, I set new status using iphone.
It may be too much(detail?), but doing so, “setting status” will be my habit, and won’t leave old status for long time, and more over, everybody will start depending on the Google talk status to know my availability.
I have been using foursquare, location-based SNS, and also, recently start using “Facebook places”.
I may have to decide to one of them, but until I know which is better, I will continue using both.
So, today, every time I move, I am busy updating status of Google talk, Foursquare and Facebook.
Hope it become my habit soon.
(This blog is written in English because I would like to test new Jabber interface feature of wordpress.com)