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Blackberry Mobility Featured Article


September 27, 2010

How UC and Multimodal Notifications Will Change Communication

By Art Rosenberg


UC-based, mobile, multimodal communications will be changing how people both initiate and receive contacts from other people, as well as directly from automated business process applications. 

While person-to-person contacts will become intelligently based upon the status and preferences of the participating parties (”presence”), the contact initiator will typically be in the driver’s seat at first. The mode of communication used will then become based on what works for both the initiator and the individual recipient(s).

Because UC also encompasses human contacts with automated applications, the human user, regardless of how contact was initiated, with one major exception, must dictate the mode of interaction. While great progress has been made in speech recognition as a means of data input and user interface control, it has not made completely full-voice conversation practical as a user interface for self-service applications.

As recognized in a new book, “Advances In Speech Recognition: Mobile Environment, Call Centers and Clinics,” speech is efficient for user input, but not practical for large amounts of content output which can most efficiently be reviewed on a screen as text or graphics. That is why I see traditional telephone self-service applications (IVR) being replaced with what I call “Interactive Multimodal Response” (IMR) applications on all forms of multimodal mobile endpoint devices (smartphones, iPads, tablets, etc.)

One of the key roles that mobility and UC flexibility can play is supporting automated business processes that can initiate contacts with individual end users for time-sensitive notifications. However, I see such applications doing more than sending notification information to a user. Instead, the applications will be able to initiate an interactive multimodal exchange with the recipient, but with the choice of input and output media resting with the human recipient.

Communications Enabled Business Processes is going to heavily exploit such “multimodal notifications” because they can proactively initiate a self-service interaction without waiting for the recipient to take the initiative. Until now, telephony-based IVR was seen as the best way to handle self-services from consumers who, until lately, were not expected to have access to a real-time communication device other than a phone.

With UC and mobile, multimodal devices, the future and value of business self-services will expand significantly from legacy online desktops and telephone IVR applications.

Multimodal notifications will also become another gateway for efficient customer care, since they will also provide the necessary context for efficient “click-to-contact” live assistance, rather than a “blind” phone call.


Art Rosenberg, a veteran of the computer and communications industry, contributes his column, The Unified-View to TMCnet. To read more of Art’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf


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