Three Generations of Presence: Going Beyond Instant Messaging

Author: Jim Lundy
Date: August 15, 2011
Topic:  Collaboration
Research Note Number: 2011-5


Issue: What collaboration technologies and architectures should enterprises leverage?

Planning Assumption: By the end of 2014, presence will be a core part of an overall enterprise collaboration architecture.


Summary: : Presence is poised to break free of instant messaging and become an all-purpose status and availability tool to help people connect in real-time. Enterprises need a strategy that will eventually allow presence to span all enterprise software applications.


Many enterprises lack an understanding of presence and its role, partially because early generations of presence were bundled with instant messaging products.  In an age of global connectedness, presence is a key part of connecting people. Presence is the online availability indicator for people that allows remote workers to connect and collaborate (see Note 1). This note reviews the three generations of presence and how enterprises should approach presence strategy.

Unlocking Presence

For years, presence has been only identified with instant messaging. That era is over. Presence, while still serving as the gateway to real-time communications, needs to go further and surface the status and availability of users and resources across a wide spectrum of applications.

Presence had a rough start in many enterprises because it was sandwiched inside instant messaging applications, which often were not being deployed enterprise-wide due to record-keeping requirements. As a result, in roughly half of all enterprises there is no instant messaging and thus no presence. In other organizations there is a lot of instant messaging, but it is often contained within small workgroups.


Note: This is part of Aragon’s archived research.
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