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The Next Depreciated UC Application Is...



That's right.  Voicemail, which we know and have used, has declined almost 10% in the past year.  Bringing up the question "Is this the death of voicemail?".  Just because a particular technology is on the decline doesn't mean that technology is going to be obsolete any time soon.  Take a look at these Ten technologies that should be extinct (but aren't).  Aside from the telegram, don't the others look familiar?  I was surprised to read that Western Union was still sending telegrams into the 21st century.  I had a vision of a man in the Western Union uniform and hat riding his bike up to the front door and receiving a nickel tip as he hands over the telegram.bradshaw-10.jpg

What is contributing to the decline in voicemail?  After all, when we call any business after hours we always end up at a voicemail system.  Do you actually leave a voicemail, or do you prefer to hang up and call back the next day during normal business hours?  Are you annoyed when they don't leave alternative contact information in the voicemail announcement such as an e-mail address?  If you go to the website for that business, do you find it frustrating when there is no "submit a question" or "chat with a representative" option?

It's probably no surprise that Millennials Shy Away from Voice Mail.  As I speak with customers of Cisco, it's becoming more and more evident that the veteran workforce is also shying away from voicemail.  Although the reasons may be different.  Caller ID is one thing that overshadows voicemail.  So many people will return (for lack of a better word) a number from caller ID before they listen to the voicemail.

The other contributor is instant messaging (IM).  There's been a change where a phone conversation doesn't start with picking up the handset and calling.  Rather is starts with an IM "QQ", "Can you talk?", or the ever ubiquitous "Hi".  Then if needed the conversation will escalate to a call.  This is where the importance of having a solid UC client comes in.  The experience of transitioning from each mode to the next must be simple, fast, and reliable.  The modes are: 1:1 IM or SMS, group conversation, telephone/video call, telephone/video group conference, and content share.  I don't need to leave a voicemail because we're already in a conversation, just a different mode.  I know you're there when I press the button in my IM window to call you.

Even though I can see why voicemail is on the decline, I have a hard time believing it will go the way of the telegram.  The contradiction here is that while voicemail use is on the decline, if we were told voicemail will no longer be available, it would cause a riot.  It is a must have feature of UC.  Instead, I believe voicemail will become just another message format.  There are only a few formats today: video, audio, text (electronic), and print.  Accessing voicemail, or the format, is where the transformation will take place.  My car will read out loud text messages on my phone as I drive.  I should be able to receive voicemail in its' traditional audio format, as a text (IM, SMS, e-mail, web page, any mode), or even printed as a fax.  Just not as a telegram.  In that same fashion, I should be able to receive any text message in an audio or voicemail format.  As video voicemail becomes more prevalent, there may be an uptick in voicemail use.  We'll just have to wait and see.

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