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OMG apparently there are reports of frozen water falling FROM THE SKY!! and landing ON THE GROUND!!  London and Reading declare state of emergency, cancel all buses and trains.  Nobody can get into work today so meetings start to get cancelled due to the weather… and then… the penny drops… don’t we have this amazing technology that lets us work from home?

Today I’ve been loving the way that the lack of any alternative is forcing people to try using our unified communications technology and them finding out that it really works and is dead easy.

Things I love about unified communications:

  1. Got your number.  You don’t need to look up phone numbers any more.  With presence globes everywhere just kick up a call from any application – emails in outlook, communicator, any office application, any sharepoint portal page, a mysite (yes that is a sharepoint page).  Why do I want to remember your phone number? I have a computer for such menial tasks for goodness sake.
  2. No voicemail jail! You actually get to talk to someone – imagine that? because I only phone people who can take the call because usually I IM them first and then click on the phone button and I can already see if they are in a meeting or already on the phone from their presence.
  3. I see you baby I lied on point 2 because I prefer to use video calls – just hit the webcam button from an IM and it’s just like having a face to face meeting.  OK so I can’t touch you but then ask yourself is that really appropriate anyway in a business meeting?
  4. No emailing the slides! if we want to present some slides or discuss a spreadsheet, just hit the live meeting button from the IM or conf IM. In Live Meeting we can all see the slides and not have to faff about trying to get the right slide up.
  5. Roundtables rule! 360 degree cameras in all our meeting rooms, cost a fraction of the cost of a video conferencing suite and they work brilliantly.  You just plug the USB into your laptop and communicator and Live Meeting know what to do, connecting you up with lovely clear audio and if you want a panorama view of the room.
  6. It’s free.  Microsoft spends millions on conf calls every year.  Communicator conf calls uses VOIP using the network and is free – and the call quality is usually better.
  7. I see less of the M4.  It means I didn’t have to fight my way in through the snow and it’s better for the environment.

So my advice is to use the weather as an excuse to spend that 15 minutes playing with all this UC stuff rather than sitting in traffic.  You’ll find out how easy it is and you’ll save yourself loads of grief. 

Hurray!

by the way if you are interested in UC check out blogs by Mark Deakin and Ewan Dalton

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