The Dilemma of the Ultra-Connected

Information workers are surrounded by information sources, but is the right information getting through in time?

With so many places to leave a message it can be hard for someone to get the message, according to conferencing services provider Intercall. As new forms of mobile communication emerge and become popular with workers, it becomes harder and harder for them to reach people. Modern workers have tools like SMS text, e-mail, BlackBerry, cell phone, fax and even sticky notes, and the proliferation of communication options is making it hard to filter out the noise in time for timely communications to happen.

Two recent surveys point to the difficulty that modern conveniences have brought to the workplace. According to a Frost & Sullivan survey, nearly 60% of North American businesses provide cellular handsets and service, or reimburse their employees for wireless service, blurring the line between personal and private lives (as well as work and leisure time).

Meanwhile, according to a Harris Interactive survey, today's information worker receives 100 messages per day in up to seven different places. Often, the method used is dependent upon "presence" technology, that allows users a quick glance at what the other employee is doing so they can connect if need be.

All this pressure to stay connected is compounded by the increased pressure on the IT department to maintain connection quality and security.

Datamonitor technology analyst Aphrodite Brinsmead is of the opinion that many of these new technologies will be run as a managed service. "The main benefits for enterprises are that payments will be staggered and there will be less pressure on the in-house IT team," she says.

Integrated contacts, presence and the sharing of information online will be high on enterprises' IT agendas, says Brinsmeade, especially as employers are beginning to accommodate flexible working and use tools like web conferencing more often. All these trends are combining to make deployment of rich-media mobile tools a vital part in enterprise IT development, she says.

"Mobility is becoming a more significant factor in unified communications from a productivity and cost savings point of view," Brinsmeade observes. "To achieve the full benefits of presence, integrated directories and messaging, employees need access to the same functionality on the mobile device as they have on the desktop."

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