New Presence: Minimizing (Blackberry) Voice Mail

Help Stamp Out Voice Mail with Newest iotum Talk-Now Beta

One of the great time wasters of our current communications infrastructure has to be voice mail. The calling party takes a couple of minutes to leave a voice mail; the receiving party needs even more time to recover, listen to, and manage the same voice mail. What if you could simply leave a text message that effectively said "Chris is trying to call you about {insert subject of call here}"? And with a single click you could return the call to Chris? Not to overlook that over 80% of business calls end up in voice mail and require an average of just over 4 attempts to complete a call.

With iotum’s release today of a new version of their Talk-Now for Blackberry, they have delivered on a service that basically says "No Voice Mails!". (Well, that would be the dream but someone out there will always dream up a reason they have to leave a long explanation, diatribe, etc.) A key feature of this release is the auto-negotiation of when to have a conversation.

The Talk Now screen continues to be split into two groupings: Conversations and Talk-Now. However, Conversations itself has been split again into a "To Call List" and a "Waiting to Talk to Me" list. The former comprises parties whom you want/attempted to call but are, in some New Presence context, not immediately available. The latter comprises other parties, who are amongst all your Blackberry Contacts, who have attempted to call you. If the other party attempting to call you is also on Talk-Now they can now leave a subject line for the pending call. This is the new feature that is key to minimizing voice mail.

As a Talk-Now caller to a "Not Available" party, you have the opportunity to leave a subject line.This call request ends up under your "To Call List". The called party also receives a notification, which ends up in his/her "Waiting to Talk to Me" list. When both parties are available, there is a "vibration" notification and, on both parties’ Blackberries, the appropriate lien turns green and includes the subject line.

Effectively, Talk-Now now builds a task list of whom you want/need to call. But it eliminates the average 4.x calls required to actually reach another party along with all the verbiage and button pushing associated with verbal voice mails. It does, to a degree, reflect the contents of your Blackberry phone log; however, it only incorporates calls from Contacts already on your Blackberry and it allows the inclusion of the {subject} line if the caller is on Talk-Now..

Cool? Gardner thinks so. From their citation in their newly announced "Cool Vendors in Enterprise Communications" report:

By combining the capabilities of a to-do list and a buddy list, iotum’s Talk-Now helps to eliminate phone tag by automating presence management and allowing users to know when the people they need to speak with are available and to see who is waiting to speak with them.

If you want to get a pragmatic New Presence experience and have a Blackberry 8100 (Pearl), 8700 or 8800, I strongly recommend you and your work team colleagues give it a try at this time (Blackberry link: [Note that Talk-Now is most effective across (a) team(s) of business related contacts.] Especially important for those Skype executives whom I encountered using Blackberries during my visits to various Skype offices during March. One needs to experience New Presence to develop a feel for not only its full value-add but also its subtleties and to develop a feel for how a New Presence service can be integrated into Skype. Did I mention it’s a free beta?

And, as a bonus, try the combination of Talk-Now and Blackberry Messenger — a most effective real time mobile communications tool set.

Alec Saunders, iotum CEO’s post with more information on this release on SaundersLog.

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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.
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