Monday, April 23, 2007

Iotum - New Presence Getting Validation

I haven't posted about Iotum for a while, but they're not hard to find these days, and they have some exciting news you should know about. Two things, actually, and both should go a long way to getting them on your radar. One is public, and the other is going to hit the wires this morning.

1. The Gold Standard in analyst firms - Gartner - has just named Iotum a "Cool Vendor" to watch in a new report titled "Cool Vendors in Enterprise Communications 2007". Doesn't get much better than that. This was announced late last week, and the press release is up on Iotum's website.

2. Gartner will certainly get them noticed in broader circles, but so will their latest deal. On Tuesday they will announce a partnership with Jajah to work together on their Talk Now solution that is being deployed now on the Blackberry. If you don't know Jajah, they recently hit the 2 million user mark, which is pretty amazing for a startup most people have never heard of. There are a lot of good angles to this story, but in essence, the combination delivers intelligent presence and low cost mobile calling to Blackberry users, which is enough of a story itself. This is a great mashup in the sense of bringing New Presence (Iotum's mantra) and Voice 2.0 together, seamlessly addressing two big problems facing mobility users - mobile presence and lower cost for making calls on the go.

So, what is New Presence, anyway? Well, if you're betting on companies like Iotum making it big (as I am), you have to see what they see - and more specifically what their CEO and visionary Alec Saunders sees. You can certainly scour his blog to gauge his thinking behind the concept, but it's probably more objective if you read what others are saying.

A lot of smart people have picked up on Alec's New Presence thinking, and I'll steer you to two posts in particular - MobileCrunch and Thomas Howe. This is all very much 2.0 stuff - Presence 2.0, Voice 2.0, Mobility 2.0 - you get the idea. It's all about adding value and peronalization to the mobile experience, and Iotum is way ahead of the pack on this one. And once people digest the news, it will be a no-brainer to see how powerful a combination this will be with Jajah riding over Blackberry. And that's really just the beginning.

Why do I say that? Presence is definitely hot now, and everyone is trying to build it into their applications and platforms. Most vendors see that it's important not just for wireline use, but wireless as well. Isn't that why Cisco acquired Orative? To extend their reach to mobility and strengthen their unified communications solution. And isn't that one of the reasons why Microsoft acquired Tellme? Sure, it's more about mobile search applications, but once you add presence to the mix, it becomes a whole lot more interesting.

That said, from what I know and have seen first hand, these vendors definitely see the value of presence, but are really just doing Presence 1.0. I recently attended Cisco's Channel Partner event, and last week I attended MetaSwitch's customer forum. Both were excellent events, and both are using presence to varying degrees in their solutions. But neither is doing what Iotum is doing, which really doesn't surprise me. They are bringing a lot of new functionality to the market, which is great, and for now, Presence 1.0 is probably sufficient. However, Iotum is doing Presence 2.0 today, and I suspect that's where the other vendors will follow - down the road. But by then, Alec and company will be on to Presence 3.0, and maybe the Senators will have won the Cup. Only then will Alec be a truly happy and fulfilled man....

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