Is the value of social networking being, in fact, de-valued? I’m seeing a strange phenomenon on LinkedIn and I don’t think I like it – at all! Several weeks ago, out of the blue, I received notification that several of my contacts had “recommended” me. Knowing that I didn’t ask them to do so, my curiosity was aroused and I contacted some of them. Each of them said that they had received a request for a recommendation for me! Now it may just be me, but I find this rather nervy and invasive on the part of LinkedIn!
Then to add fuel to my fire, I began getting requests to “endorse” people in my network for various skills and they’re getting requests to endorse me for various skills! I can’t speak for the other people, but I haven’t asked anyone to endorse me, yet endorsements are coming in! And who decided what “skills” I would like to have listed
Is it just me, or has LinkedIn gone too far with its social networking? Has it diminished the value of recommendations and endorsements when it is sending out requests to anyone in my network to recommend or endorse me? Many of the people in my network are barely-known business colleagues who are valuable to me because of their company affiliation or position (i.e. they are potential resources for me, just as I am for them). I would never dream of asking many of them for a recommendation – they just don’t know me well enough. I can’t put my email address in the body of a message to a LinkedIn contact, yet LinkedIn can make requests for recommendations and endorsements on my behalf without my permission?
I’ll probably be banned from LinkedIn after this blog, but really….. they’ve gone too far. What’s next?
Authors: Lync Team
The Lync marketing team continues to see the value of Public IM Connectivity (PIC) capabilities as a fundamental part of the Lync federation experience. With PIC, Lync users can connect to customers & partners and friends & family who are on public IM networks such as Windows Live, AOL, and Yahoo!. This is a great feature...
Authors: Leslie Ferry
A modern day Thomas Edison. The Jack Welch of the telecommunications industry. If you have not yet heard of Dr. Hossein Eslambolchi, his biography does not make for light reading (http://bit.ly/gAFnmn). Well known for his revolutionary role with AT&T as President of Bell Laboratories, CIO and CTO until 2006, Business ...
Authors: Curtis Hartmann
Mobile devices. Mobile storage. Mobile connectivity. Our culture today is consumed with the idea of mobility – and for good reasons. Relying upon the freedom of mobile communications has powered the productivity behind our daily lives and our businesses. In such a mobile world, we might be surprised to find how much fur...
It's been a few weeks since the 140Conf in NYC and the short panel discussion Apr. 21st on the Future of Communications with Bryan Katz of Avaya, Tal Givoly of Amdocs, Jeff Pulver and me. Fifteen minutes is barely enough time to scratch the surface on what's happening in the world of communications due to the emerging technologies - especially social networks, location services, and demographic changes in communication preferences.
Discussions and panels like this always trigger thoughts on "what if's" and "wouldn't it be nice" capabilities that I believe are or will be the capabilities we want and will actually have in the "future of communications". I am not going to try to discuss all the possibilities of the future of communications here in one shot. I will touch on finding people, presence and controlling your communications. These were the major points touched on during the panel.
The panel started out with the question of who really owns or controls how we find and contact people; The Directory. Social networks are clearly changing the game here. As Jeff asked me (either during the panel or possibly in a side conversation), is Facebook becoming the new white pages and are service providers losing control over this?
Think about it. Where are you most likely to go to find someone you know, knew, or recently met? Where are you likely to go to look for a business or individuals with the service, skills, or products you are interested in? With all the individuals and businesses showing up in the social-sphere it's less and less likely we will rely on the traditional communications providers directories. It's going to be through the Social Networks and via the major search engines. You know who they are. Once you find the person or business you wanted, the information you want to save about them is also changing.
Presence contains three major elements for me.
1) Location - where I am or where someone or something I seek is, including what time it is there. This information will impact how/when I want to be reached and what communication method I ues to reach out to others. This is demographic but there is no denying that applications like Foursquare are allowing people to more freely share where they are. Who would have thought even 2-3 years ago that people would so freely share exactly where they are?
2) Communication modes available - show me what IM, social networks, Skype etc a person I am looking to reach is currently available on. Show me what methods by which that person prefers to be reached at the moment - voice, text, instant message etc. This information should be in my "contacts" view.
3) State - in short, detect if am I busy and in what way; personal dinner with the family, a meeting, quiet work time, am I alone or not, etc. Whenever possible detect my state automatically. If it's a manual process most people won't bother with it. State can come from the combination of my calendar, location service, current call or communication session or PC activity, network logged on or not status, or a camera to know if I am there and alone or not.
This more complete view of "state" impacts what I want to see (or hear), how, and when. Similarly, factoring in the state of who I am looking for will impact which mode of communication I select to reach that person with at that time.
I don't know about you but I want better ways of controlling the inflow of communication that comes at me. Control my "communication overload". We need help to avoid distractions. We often need to (or should!) defer and delay incoming communications until a more appropriate time.
We need help in alerting us to what information or communications we really want and need to look at first. It's far too easy to miss or to take too long to see information (e.g. tweets or RSS feeds on a subject I am following, email). It's also easy to miss the urgency of attempts to reach me via social network messages, voice mails, emails, missed phone or IM's - both personal or professional.
What The Future Holds
1) Finding People and "Contacts" - since we are looking for people in different ways the concept of what a "contact" is has to change. I want to save the multiple IDs I have for them - personal, professional, social networks etc. I want to save additional information about why I know them or the business they are in. I want to be able to search my own contacts repository by more than just name. Doesn't this become your own consolidated Directory over and above your standard Corporate Directory?
I don't want separate lists for personal and "work" or for each "network" I use. I don't want separate lists on each device I communicate with. For me, a single list is driven by the blurring of our personal and professional lives and communications needs. We will have the option to converge it all if we want to. Who else besides ourselves that can "see" this list, or where it is stored, will be of prime concern to the personal and professional user. How comfortable are you including all your personal contacts information in your employers MS Exchange contacts for example?
2) Choosing A Communication Method - When I want to reach a person that I know, and is already in my "contacts" list, I want to see much more about their "presence". Show me which networks they are logged into at the time, their presence "state", how THEY prefer to be reached and more. I want this capability for both personal and professional contacts.
3) Location Services - Knowing where someone is will also be more prevalent - as long as it's by user choice. Knowing where a person is gives us alternate ways to reach them; e.g. calling the hotel or business you know your contact is at because their cell phone is off or not being answered. How about re-routing a workers call to the desk phone they are nearest to at the time?
4) A Personal Communication Agent - a rich view of presence, especially "state", will feed into a user rules-based personal agent. An agent that will select if or how to let a call, IM, text, alert window etc through initially as well as decide after the fact if an "alert" should be popped on my device. Information contained in emails, voice mails, tweets, IMs etc will be post-processed by source and keywords. The personal agent and my presence state determine if and when to alert me to key information I want to see.
Some of you may be familiar with the quote from Clay Sharkey, "it's not information overload, it's filter failure." In effect that's true. The personal agent will be a key part of that "filter".
Unified Communications For Personal And Enterprise Use
All the above is a just a piece of what Unified Communications needs to be. It's more to me than common "access" to email, vmail, calling and mixing modes. The personal agent aspect needs to get stronger and stronger. A good personal agent needs to be fueled by richer and more automated presence. Let's not forget about ease of "collaboration". Triggering collaboration sessions, conference calls etc. still needs improvement - another subject for another time.
Unified Communications isn't just for the Enterprise. Personal communications (home and mobile) control and choices are very similar to professional enterprise needs. Are we really able to distinguish between professional and personal time anymore? Unified Communications systems will have to at least optionally allow the convergence of the personal and enterprise communication lives of it's users. Provide centralized/converged contacts and presence at a minimum. I'd like one overall personal agent/filter for all my communications needs, covering personal and professional phone numbers, email IDs and social network IDs.
Putting It All In Real Terms - what can the above allow us to do?
1) I want to get a hold of Jeff Pulver. I look him up in my contacts from my desk device at work, or my smartphone. The contacts list I see will be the same from either. I see through location services or from his last few Facebook or Twitter updates, that he's in Tel Aviv and it's late there (yes, link time zone information in). I also see I have email, Twitter, Facebook and Skype modes to reach him by. Due to the hour there, I choose a less "real time" Facebook message method to reach him. If his presence state showed him as available on Skype, for example, and the hour was reasonable, I'd start a Skype IM with him instead.
2) I'm out to dinner with a business partner. From my calendar entry, my presence state is automatically set to busy, and, that I am not alone. Calendar states need some enrichment as well. To me it's still at least a bit rude to take a call or text in the physical presence of others you should be paying full attention to. As a normal rule my "personal agent" will automatically and silently ignore calls (including silencing any rings) and Social Network based (or any) texts or alerts. I prefer no distractions in this setting.
During the dinner my golf buddy calls. The call is silently routed to voice mail. End of story. Then my boss calls, is prompted on the urgency of the call and he indicates yes. The call goes to voice mail, and due to the source being boss, and the urgent tag, I receive a pop up alert or text at my phone. If this was a dinner with family instead, my personal agent would not send me the attention getting alert but instead provides the usual passive message waiting indicator. Last, my wife calls. Initially the call is silently sent to the agent. Based on her indicating it's urgent, the call goes through to my mobile. Alternatively, through location services, she can see where I am and dial the restaurant I'm in if for some reason I didn't take the call.
Some of the capability above exists today. The rest is coming - or at least it should be! You may say you don't want or need such advanced presence, location services or a personal communication agent. Just remember the last time you said 'who'd ever want to do that?'.
Authors: Avaya Insights
If you've been following NG 911 in the news lately, either from an enterprise perspective or from the public safety side, you'll know that earlier this month the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) announced their support for Next Generation 911, and the NENA i3 standard 08 - 003.
What does that actually mean to the...
Authors: Avaya Insights
Once again, I am pleased to recommend this posting from Dan DeBacker as guest blogger on the subject of wireless networks and mobility.
The evolution of wireless technology continues to drive change within enterprise networks. At its inception,...