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Enhanced Presence Application Scenarios

In real-time communications, presence refers to information used to describe a user's availability, willingness, or capability to communicate with other users. The information is useful for a user to determine when and how to contact other users.

For example, Microsoft Lync 2010 displays a list of your contacts together with their status indicating if they are available, busy, inactive, away, or offline. Shown on an active Lync 2010 instance, the status information is color-coded and appears before each contact's name. When a contact's status shows Available, you know that the contact is likely to answer your instant message or voice call. A busy or inactive contact, however, is less likely to respond to your invitation. The Away or Offline status suggests that perhaps you should send the contact an e-mail message instead of text messages.

In addition to the availability status, the presence can also be described by other information that indicates a person’s ability and willingness to communicate with others. For example, you may leave a personal note to inform others of your current traveling itinerary and to provide them with a list of alternative communications means to reach you in case of emergency.

The user who makes his or her presence information available is known as a presence entity. A presence entity is also known as a presentity or presence publisher. Typically, a presence publisher corresponds to a person. But it can also be an application or another non-person entity. This entity could be a Web service or an interactive bot, involved in a communication process.

The presence can be viewed as some metadata or indexes that are used to optimize a search for relevant and appropriate communication partners. The flexibility of the enhanced presence also implies that its concept and mechanism can be straightforwardly applied to other application scenarios where metadata-provisioning or context-matching plays an important role. The following list shows some examples of enhanced presence applications:

Determine when and how to contact a person

This is the standard presence application scenarios where availability, capability, and willingness of an entity determine the course of a communication workflow.

Find a person with desired skills, specialty, or responsibility

This can be a helpdesk application that manages, for example, a customer support center where a customer request may need to be matched with technical support staff of the appropriate skills or specialty or when the request must be escalated to an appropriate customer support manager.

Coordinate event planning

This can refer to an application where calendar data is used to select a date of an event when all or most the intended invitees are free.

Streamline a decision-making process

This refers to a general application scenario where supporting data must be presented before a decision can be made. When an employee submits a purchase order for approval, the manager may need to review the available funds before approving, postponing, or denying the request. Enhanced presence can be extended to provision the needed supporting data.

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