Sunday, September 2, 2012

IM nightmares

Is it just me or are there way too many instant message clients out there?

I mean we used to have Microsoft OCS (Office Communication Server). It integrated with outlook and would update my presence when I was in a meeting or hadn't touched my computer in a while. That was good. I rarely had to update my presence since it was integrated so well.

Then we migrated to Google and added Google Talk. It has the same sort of integrations, so again I rarely have to update my presence. Neither integrated with the PBX though so unless I remembered to say I was "On the phone" no one ever knew. Of course half the time I am on my phone it's my cell phone anyway which the PBX doesn't know about so even if it was integrated with the phone system half the time it would be wrong.

Then facebook added chat, and salesforce chatter has chat. Neither of these seem to be integrated with anything so if I want them updated I need to remember to do it. I never remember to do that.

Now we are upgrading our PBX to a Siemens Openscape Voice with Unified Communications and that has chat too. They do integrate with my Google calendar, and the phone which is really nice. I can even get a UC client for my cell phone, which should mean my status gets updated when I'm on my cell phone. Very nice.

But that still leaves me with 4 other IM clients that don't get updated. What I really want, I think, is a "Presence service" that integrates all of these and all my IM clients can query to see what it is I am doing. Ideally that would link location (and speed) so it could tell if I was driving, or at least in a vehicle, and update my status appropriately. I could use something like bzzy to respond to my tweets if I was driving, or in a meeting.

If I am in an active chat session in a different client, my presence would show that too. It could tell if I was busy playing "Angry Birds" and let you know that too. It would have security groups so I could restrict how much detail I share. I wouldn't, for example, want to accidentally tweet out "Rich is having a colonoscopy now and will respond when he is done".

I  guess I'm OK with, or at least resigned to, the issue of multiple IM clients, I just wish I didn't have to update my status so often in so many places. Pretty soon I'll need to add an "Updating statuses" status...

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