Social Media and Internet Telephony

29 10 2009

Internet TelephonyThe time is fast approaching when Internet Telephony will become a part of social media. In very short order, we are going to have a vast array of communications options in addition to what we have today to connect with people, leading to a much richer and more useful Internet communications experience.

The first step will be simply having Internet Telephony integrated into current social media. To continue a conversation by “phone” you would only have to click on a live link where someone’s name appears.

But, there will be a lot more functionality than just inexpensive phone calls.  Some examples:

  • Presence: this will tell you if a person is available online and their status.  Are they available, busy or currently on the phone?  Very helpful in figuring out the best way to communicate with a person.
  • Identity: will provide secure connections if you need that for business communications.  Anonymity has its place but business social media conversations may also require strong identity and authentication.
  • Voice Messaging: will be a part of normal Internet calls.
  • Voice Conferencing: if you want to have a conference with more than one participant.   MMORG players are doing this today either within their games or using Skype.
  • Web Conferencing: allows the inclusion of presentations, shared whiteboards,  and media in conference discussions. (Example: WebX)
  • Video Conferencing: will enable live video of the participants. Many laptops come with built in vide cameras and microphones today.
  • Telepresence: will enable zero-latency, life-like conferencing. A near real-life experience. HP (Halo) and Cisco Telepresence offer this today. For a significant price.
  • Instant Messaging: IM will be integrated as one of the universal communications mediums.
  • Mobile Phone Support: this will offer the ability to move a call from you desktop, or landline seamlessly to a mobile phone during a call.

How do we know all these things will happen? Everything I am talking about here is available today for business users from vendors such as:

  • Microsoft Office Communicator
  • Cisco Unified Communications
  • IBM Lotus
  • Avaya Unified Communications product line
  • ShoreTel Unified Communications product line
  • And coming soon, Google. Google Voice and Google Wave are just the first steps in the strategy.

The “big prediction” here is not about technology. That already exists. The prediction is that this technology is going to move rapidly into the consumer space and integrate with Social Media for a richer and more powerful overall communications experience.

There are big changes coming to social media with a great deal of potential to disrupt the current market leaders with new functionality and technology.

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