What is Presence in Unified Communications?

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It’s Wednesday in the office. The phone rings; oh, just a fax, which very loudly starts printing out. You have a question for a coworker, but you see their office door is closed and can faintly hear them on a personal call. You’ll just have to wait. You wander over to the water cooler to share a joke with friends. While you’re away from your desk, you miss a phone call from a coworker who works remotely calling to answer important questions you had about an upcoming project.

That’s what office collaboration used to look like, and, for many, it still looks something like that. But it doesn’t have to be! Modern Unified Communications (UC) platforms include status and presence technology to optimize these work flows and to take the guesswork out of your coworkers’ availability. But what exactly is presence technology?

Presence Technology

At its core, presence technology is an application that recognizes when a certain device or IP address is present on a network. It’s the technology that allows Facebook Messenger to say “Last active x minutes ago” or the Google Suite to show a green active circle by a contact’s profile image.

Unified Communications takes presence technology and integrates it into the suite of tools that are merged within the platform to foster a more transparent, collaborative environment. To do so, it uses the automatic status monitoring function of presence technology in coordination with user-set status messaging (such as away, busy, on a call, etc). This allows the system’s web interface to show who’s active along with each users’ defined status. This makes it possible to create dynamic call rules based on status and presence data, taking the guesswork out of internal office collaboration.

Benefits of Presence Technology

Because presence technology in tandem with status-setting provides real-time information on a person’s availability, applications that are presence-enabled can make smart choices about how to communicate with a user.

Ease of Collaboration

In other words, presence technology offloads the burden of knowing different handles for email and IM, as well as all the phone numbers that can be associated with users. So one user can click on another user’s name in the UC interface and see whether they are available or not. Then, whether they click on the call button or the message button, the application can decide – based on that user’s settings, calendar, and time of day – which phone number or sequence of numbers to call or which messaging tool to use. And all of these call rules can be customized to work exactly as needed.

Call Queueing

Better Customer Service

Another benefit of presence technology is its role in call and message queuing, whether customer-facing or internal. When a customer sends an online query, queue settings can determine, based on status/presence and any available customer information, who to send the message or call to. For example, the system can recognize a past customer, check the status of their salesperson, and handle the call according to that status information and preset call rules.

Better Internal Processes

This is true of internal queues as well. The IT department can maintain a central help desk style contact center where users can send IT requests. From there, the system can collect information from the end user, then, using presence technology, differentiate between different IT personnel, their specializations, and their status and send the request to the right IT professional.

See it in Action!

The way UC uses presence technology to elevate the functionality of all the tools in its suite is a great example of why it has become the standard for business communication. Unified Communications makes communication and collaboration easy and more efficient by making use of all available data to automate smart decision making.

But it’s understandable that some of these examples of presence technology in UC can be hard to picture if you’ve never used them before. Visit our Demo Center to see all the robust functionality of Unified Communications in action!

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