Raju Vegesna

Random Thoughts

Presence for Mobile Phones?

How often do we see mobile phones ringing/vibrating in a meeting? I see this in almost every meeting. We have an option to set our online presence to ‘Busy’ to avoid any IMs, Skype calls etc. But sadly, we don’t have a similar option for our mobile phones.

I like working late and more often than not, I am up till 3 or 4AM. The worst thing I want to see in the morning is a random call waking me up at 8AM. The caller has no idea on my state/availability. This is one of the advantages online communication channels (like IM, audio, video etc) have over mobile phones. I can set my presence to ‘Do Not Disturb’ till I am ready for an interaction. As a user, I’d like to see a similar option on my mobile phone.

Can this be done? Absolutely! But there has to be an open protocol which every service provider has to adhere to.

Our cell phones are always connected to our mobile networks. So, service providers can maintain the presence info of their customers and share this with other service providers. This is no different from how multi-protocol IM Networks work. Each service provider is like an IM Network (Skype, Yahoo, AOL etc). If calls are within the network, it is straight forward. While you try to call me, the network can inform you that I am busy (based on what I define on my mobile phone). For calls between networks, they should share this presence info (an alternate to XMPP?) to enable this. There has be an open protocol for service providers to exchange this info.

To extend this idea, I should be able to unify my online presence with my phone presence. If I am in a meeting, the ‘Do Not Disturb’ status I set online should also apply to my mobile phone. This way, I can interact when I am ready to. Not when the other person wants to.

Given the state of service provider’s ‘innovation’ in US, I am too not confident on seeing something like this soon. I hope someone (Google, Apple?) will be able to push them towards this.