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"Who am I?"

Back to the Future Part 1: Who Am I?

This post is brought to you by Joshua Goldbard. He’s our Biz Dev ambassador, a writer, loves talking to people and for some reason is crazy about phone systems. Find him out and about in the Bay Area or at the pub with a pint of Pliny the Elder in hand.

Identity is an idea.

We, as a society, take the idea of identity for granted. Verifying who someone is often really is as simple as looking at them, but this isn’t the case with computers. We have login servers and password databases, and many other methods for authentication, but none of these servers answer the fundamental question: who am I and what am I doing?

Telephony, as one of the few synchronous means of communication, holds a special place due to both the daily use of the technology, and its ubiquity. There are few systems which any business person is guaranteed to have, but a phone is one of them. There should be some way for this phone to communicate–based on all of its sensors and various control apparatus–what the owner is doing. There should be a way for your phone to communicate your identity.

We call this presence.

What is Presence?

Presence is the idea that your phone can update your coworkers or friends faster and more accurately than you can by yourself. It’s literally impossible for me to update my location constantly, but my device can report my GPS quickly and easily. Going even further, if I’m connected to a company access point, my presence information should be able to display information about why I’m there (by pulling information from my calendar). Correlating what we do with why we’re doing it, in real time, is tremendously valuable. Think about how many hours are wasted just tracking employees down; presence eliminates this.

But why stop at just knowing what someone is doing? Since where you are impacts how your devices should work, it’s easy to envision a world where your phone goes to vibrate mode when approaching your work campus, but automatically turns the ringer back on when you leave. Going even further, why can’t your phone serve as your login credential? Why can’t you pay with your phone? Why do you carry a wallet?

All of these concepts are topics we at 2600hz wrestle with every day. How can your phone be more functional and provide intelligence to your associates without damaging personal privacy? It’s a slippery slope, but one we’re treading down carefully.

Taking it Further

So how are we going back to the future? It turns out Presence is another one of those old concepts that no one has gotten quite right (this is a recurring theme in the Telecom industry). Our intention is to integrate Presence in a privacy conscious, controlled manner, while retaining the freedom to integrate whatever services you want. Doing this requires a lot of control, but we think that in the long run, Presence is going to change the way the world does business.


Too Long; Didn’t Read: your phone knows so much about you, and if you want to share what your phone knows, you should be able to. 2600hz is helping to make dynamic presence a reality.

Tune in next time when we talk about managing corporate phone systems, why that process sucks and how to make it a process that works for you.

Written by: Joshua Goldbard; Director of Business Development

Tagged: communications, archives, voip, telecom, cloud communications, future of telecom, presence