When it comes to communication these days we're very much spoilt for choice. What with email, instant messaging, texting and the like. I'm reliably informed that some us even still send faxes!

Plus now there's Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networking tools, all designed to help us communicate and stay in touch.

Given so many options, however, it's all too easy to forget just how effective a  simple phone call can be, enabling us to exchange information and perform tasks that would, typically, take much longer using other technologies. Moreover, there's no need for specialised hardware or software, just a phone, and it's so easy even my two year old granddaughter can use one.

Second only to face-to-face conversation, the humble phone call has long been one of the most important tools available to businesses of all sizes. Nothing that has come since has managed to oust it and nothing looks like doing so in the foreseeable future.  So it is no surprise to find the phone and voice messaging as core components of every Unified Communications solution on the planet.

What is surprising, however, is just how little has been done to enhance and build on what voice has to offer. Sure there's IVR (Interactive Voice Response) technology which can be used to "tell" a phone what you want to do, plus it's now possible to have emails and SMS messages read out over the phone and replies transcribed using voice recognition software. Some companies, like Avaya, are also looking at ways of tagging recorded conversations (Avaya calls them "echoes") for easier cataloguing and retrieval.

But there is lots of room for improvement plus there must be new ways of using voice which haven't been thought of yet. If you've got any ideas, give me a call.

Alan Stevens


This article is written by Alan Stevens and sponsored by Avaya. The opinions reflected in this piece are solely those of Alan Stevens and may not reflect those of Avaya management