Do social networking platforms drive “true” unified communications?

When Alexander Graham Bell the inventor of the telephone made that first call in 1876 and uttered the words “Watson, come here I want to see you” !!!!!, the “like” button did not exist. As communications evolved and Motorola amongst others took us on a handheld mobile phone journey in the early 80s there was no “friends” list. As we fast forward to the present day with Facebook (with 1.2Bn users) aiming to acquire Whatsapp for a jawdropping monetary sum, it paints the picture of just how electronic communication has changed over time.

We had no idea back in those early days that voice only communications with no additional channel for engagement just wasn’t rich enough to emulate the warmth and reality of a true human face to face communication (we were just happy phones existed at all). Whilst electronic (now digital) voice communication remains an essential and fundamental communications mode, it must be stated that the spoken word is only a percentage (under 20% with body language and visual cues much higher) of how we absorb and digest a message thus inferring a supplementary mode is always beneficial.

Unified Communications and more recently social network influenced unified communications may be more of a silver bullet to the future of human communications that we actually realise. The potential to start in one communications mode (voice), add video (or not), annotate on screen (analogous to letter writing), share content, use a multitude of devices (and even switch them mid call) and finally save the whole exchange for history delivers an almost perfect vehicle for “dialogue”.

As we evolve and position Unified Communications as the new normal, it is fundamental that it is presented without an emphasis on the technology platform and process used to deliver it (assume they are in place) and instead real focus is applied to the communications elements desired by the user to realise as “close to face to face” human interaction.

It is that desire to feel as close to being “there” with someone even if we are “here” and ideally with the emotional / social bond that has propelled the social networking platforms to the front of our conscious mind. When we use these new communications devices and software tools or better still immerse ourselves in them on an application rich smart phone / mobile tablet, we have the tools and potential to communicate our way to someone else, their way with seamless simplicity.

Maybe $19Bn doesn’t seem so expensive after all (ps, it still does !!).

Until next time.

Colin W

Twitter @colinwccuk

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About Colin Williams

Colin is Computacenter's Practice Leader for Networking, Visual Collaboration & Security @colinwccuk

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