Contextual Communications: One for All, and All for One
Remember the days before the Internet? If you wanted information, you would have to search for it without using Google. The most convenient place would be a library. If you needed to talk to someone you had to go to your house to call them, or stop by their place and catch them at a convenient time. Logically that’s changed – we can easily search articles, purchase books or read (often well-informed) posts from communities on nearly every subject. The Internet has changed the way we acquire and disseminate knowledge by making it faster and more convenient. It’s also changed the way, the frequency, and the reason we communicate with each other.
Now let’s shift this context towards a common and important subject for almost every company: productivity. My belief is that true efficiency emerges when productivity and communication come together. Internally with colleagues, third-party contacts (e.g. sub-contractors), freelancers and more. Externally with customers, suppliers, the competition, the government, charity and more. These are examples of parties that drive a reason for a company to be productive. But what does it mean to be productive? After a quick Google search, BusinessDictionary.com provided me with the following definition in which I’ve highlighted one keyword:
A measure of the efficiency of a person, machine, factory, system, etc., in converting inputs into useful outputs.
Let’s assume, for the sake of the argument, that my belief on productivity as well as BusinessDictionary.com’s definition are both absolute truths. This means that if companies want to be productive, their means of communication needs to be efficient. There are more tools than ever for us to communicate – it’s not just about mail and telephony anymore. Wouldn’t it then be much more efficient if all of these communication means integrated with each other? Better yet, wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could add value to a workplace of integrated communication? To me, this is exactly what Contextual Communications is all about: combining communication tools with collaboration tools for a more efficient and productive way of working.
How many times haven’t you juggled with the horn of a phone whilst trying to find the minutes of the last meeting you had with the person who’s calling you? And wouldn’t it be fantastic if this call would be routed to your mobile the second that your laptop switches from a fixed LAN connection to WiFi? How about getting a feed of the caller’s last three tweets, or LinkedIn posts so you know what’s going on with the person you’re talking to?
There are near-limitless ways that communication can be made more effective by supplementing it with information. If your job is as busy as
mine, you probably don’t have the headspace to remember a few of the examples above. Contextual Communications is all about providing timely and relevant information whenever and wherever it’s needed – no matter your device or platform of choice. So what would be considered best practice in Contextual Communications? Simply put, it’s when all your systems combine to know how to best react to your office, home or travel contexts, in turn providing a necessary filter to the big data and time demands of the modern lifestyle.
Contextual communications can play a key role in enriching our day-to-day communication moments. By basing an innovative approach on human behavior rather than technology, we can emphasize quality over quantity – ultimately creating a more productive way of communicating.
Edited by Alicia Young