‘Presence information,’ ‘rich presence’ or ‘presence technology’ is not a feature that you will find on your traditional office phone system, but is transforming business as it provides real time access to employees and staff members on the road.
What is real-time information?
Real-time information does pretty much what it says on the tin – it gives you access to critical information at the time you need it, rather than waiting for people to get back to you. It also refers to the up-date of information, for example social networking acts in ‘real time’ as well as up to the minute bus and train times that are displayed electronically. This all helps life flow more smoothly.
Presence technology is a type of real time information and is ultimately the backbone of mobile working - the feature provides a seamless communications process from people at home to people on the move and people in the office.
This type of technology is part of a wider unified communications (UC) strategy that uses high speed network connectivity to converge multiple channels of communication, incorporating voice, instant messaging, email and video conferencing – plus more – into one platform. This often requires a PBX replacement, although some unified communications systems can integrate with a SIP enabled system if you already have a PBX on premises.
When you implement unified communications, you get tonnes of features that legacy systems can’t offer; one of these features is presence information.
As UC links all of your business devices – for example, your office IP telephone system with your employees’ smartphones, laptops and tablets – you are able to receive a general overview, in real-time, of the presence of each of these devices and users.
Read what is unified communications? to get up to speed.
How does presence technology work?
As part of one unified comms package, you get access to enhanced functionality such as rich presence information. However, in a modular solution you can pick and choose which features you wish to use should you not want to invest in a complete, end to end UC platform just yet.
As the technology syncs seamlessly with your current desktop applications including Microsoft Outlook, the system is able to combine contact lists with updates from a user’s calendar. Equally, a user is able to change and update their presence status easily via the user dashboard.
If an employee is in a meeting or on a call, the user’s contact profile is updated automatically, informing their contacts that they are busy or unavailable. Presence information helps workers find and communicate with one another efficiently and effectively.
In Microsoft Lync 2013 presence information is displayed alongside pictures, location information and additional resources to provide a granular level of availability to another user. This means that employees are always approaching colleagues at the right time via their preferred device, contributing to a more productive work environment.
What does it do for business?
PC sales are in decline, as a recent study from Gartner, Inc. revealed that mobile working is slowing the desktop market. This year, PCs are predicted by Gartner to fall by 7.6%, which is an indication of the long-term shift in user behaviour.
For your business to stay competitive it is important that your employees are able to effectively carry out work from almost anywhere, maintaining an ‘always on’ presence is now the lifeblood of any company wishing to be more proactive and responsive.
Presence technology helps businesses solve problems and make decisions faster and ultimately allows for more effective team collaboration. This is because you are able to see the status of all of your employees, no matter of location or continent, and which device they are currently using. You know just by looking at your desktop whether the person you are trying to contact is available or busy.
With a familiar interface across PCs, smartphones and tablets you are able to see a quick snapshot of every colleague, where they are, what device they are on and provides you with a multitude of ways to contact them. In one click you are able to be on a VoIP call, send them a text message or join a high definition video conference.
If you’ve ever been in the office trying to contact a team member on the road via traditional devices you must realise how painstaking and time consuming this is to your working day. Presence information eliminates this completely.
Better at business
Everyone wants to be ‘better at business’ and presence technology supports this by connecting you with people that you need answers from faster than ever before, this helps accelerate sales cycles and decision making practices.
Presence technology and real time comms information can be made available to your business via Elite’s unified communications or hosted phone system packages. To find out more about the features of UC visit;top five benefits of consolidated communications.