Saturday I had my 29th-b-birthday. Luckily a lot of friends and family congratulated. And they used quite different ways to do so.
Some of them called me on my mobile, some called me at home. When I wasn’t available, the left a record on my mobiles or my homes mailbox.
I got SMS as well as intant messages through icq and jabber. And I had posts on facebook, studiVZ/meinVZ and Xing.
That’s great. Every congratulator chose the easiest channel available to him. And, of course, they everyone got reminded by this same service (birthdaylists on social networks, calendars in mobiles etc).
But then – didn’t I hear the word of unified messaging a long time ago? In the late 1990s this was the attempt to integrate phone, fax, email and sms. There was little thought about web 2.0 or integrated IM.
It was no big deal to access all the messages. The social networks and even my home’s phone voicemail forward the messages to my e-mail-account. And as I was on the way with my iPhone I was able to access all on one single device. So far so good. But it makes me kind of sad that the one reliable system to collect the messages is good old fashioned email.
However, when I had wished to answer each of the messages mentioned above, I would have had to use a lot of services and had no simple reply solution. I know that there are webservices that offer some integration but I don’t want some obscure companies know all my communication accounts – passwords included.
So what could one do?
1) Use one single social network and one single phone number. I love pure monopoly. It make some things that easy ;-)
2) Set up a fully integrated pbx and im-solution. At Divis we have a jabber-server and an asterisk which could interact; it’s still a lot of work, though.
3) Stick to good old e-mail. But enhance it!
There could be extra headers like
– X-Origin (phone call, im, social network post etc.)
– X-Forwarding-Service (ICQ, facebook, sipgate etc.)
– X-Senders-ID (phone number, IM-Id, social-network account name, etc.)
Additionally every forwarded e-mail should have a link for answering. In particular this could be:
– callto://+49123456789 -> use uri-schemes to address the senders account
– http://www.mysocialnetwork.org/services/reply/123456789 -> Web-URLs with tokens
In this way it should be quite easy to reply to every single message using the original channel the sender has chosen before.
And of course one could think of pimping up the Mail-Client to provide a unique interface for sending messages to any X-Forwarding-Service.
Well, that’s what getting oldr is good for.
And if I’m too late again and you use such apps since ages – please let me know.