The Presence of SIP
Leveraging SIP further, Microsoft, unlike its competitors including Cisco and IBM, has taken a different approach in respect to providing voice communications services to its customers. Microsoft has built its services around the core human element, presence (see Figure 1.9). Understanding Microsoft’s focus on presence, its vision of human-based presence services, will unlock the understanding of Microsoft’s vision of future communications and collaboration services. Think about this for a minute. Telco and networking providers have built communications technologies based on the technology itself, not considering the human element. They have confined you as an individual and companies to the actual service itself and then have built enhancements on top of this service. Microsoft took another approach. Microsoft thought about you, the individual. What good is the technology if you are not there to use it? What good is the technology if it cannot adapt to you as a person? The Discovery channel has a series called How It’s Made, which focuses on the manufacturing of consumer goods from crayons to baseball bats to even popsicles. These machines have advanced cameras that can sort items based on color and size. These cameras identify motion and color, and are sensitive to the touch of the item as well. Why can’t technology like this be applied to the way we communicate? When I wake up in the morning and rise out of bed, why can’t a camera or sensor be educated/programmed enough to sense my presence, my schedule, or even my health and determine what services I need in respect to contacts I can communicate with or meet with, or even to see whether I’m feeling blue? No other manufacturer of communications-based technologies is focusing on the human element. One company in particular is advertising this focus, but it is simply advertising. Microsoft is actually walking the walk without the hype and advertisement.
Figure 1.9 SIP/Presence
They have focused their communications and collaboration products based on the human element, based on human presence; and out of this foundation, they have built additional services on top. The focus on this core, critical human element, will far surpass any of its competitors as technology changes in that the core will remain the same, providing the ability to add better performing and functioning applications and hardware surrounding presence. By focusing the development of these products on the foundation of presence-based communications, Microsoft will outwit its competitors “hand over fist.”
Leveraging this presence-based model as identified in the RFC 3856 documentation, which can be found via http://www.ietf.org/, enables Microsoft applications to integrate with telephony equipment such as phone devices and PBX systems. The presence-based model also works with applications to provide better insight to users on a contacts list to identify each other’s true availability as mentioned earlier in the form of presence status indicators such as Away, Busy, Online, or Offline, which are the standard, but also extend to On the Phone, In a Conference, and In a Meeting as well as customized presence functionality so you can configure your own, such as “Gone Fishing.” Regardless, this focus on presence is the central core of Microsoft’s portfolio of voice and unified communications products and services for the future, benefiting the actual user of the technology to increase productivity and enhance collaboration capabilities.