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What’s on your wish list for converged features?

Dec 05, 20053 mins

* What cool feature would you want on your convergence equipment?

There’s no question that from time to time, we’re overwhelmed by “feature glut” in the convergence market. Indeed, one of the most significant changes over the past five years for the IP telephony market is that we’ve made the transition from IP telephony offering a subset to offering a superset of the features of a traditional PBX. A the same time, we’re betting that there are still some features, some of which may be trivial to offer with the increased processing power of IP telephony systems, that have been overlooked.

For instance, when Steve was working in operations for the University of North Carolina system more than 20 years ago, he made a constant plea to manufacturers for temperature sensors in equipment. The reason was simple: In a noise processing center, one could never tell if the fan went out on a piece of equipment – until it overheated and failed.

And No. 1 on Steve’s wish list for IP telephony today is selectable “noise on hold.” (Note the careful avoidance of the term “music.”) This desire was especially driven home recently when, while chatting with a colleague, he willingly agreed to wait to speak with yet another colleague at the same firm.  After all, we are usually able to get a little work done while waiting.

In this case, though, the “music” was so distracting that he was tempted just to hang up and try again later. Which leads us to wonder, why is it not the norm by now that when you’re placed on hold, you’re given the options while on hold to “Press 1 to mute the announcements or music,” “Press 2 to select your choice of music,” or do nothing to hear the default? Yet another option might be to “Press 3 if you’ve already searched on the Web site for an answer.” (There’s nothing more infuriating than not finding an answer at a company’s Web site, calling for support and being greeted by a recording telling you to check out its Web site for your answer.) Talk about improving customer satisfaction…

We’re betting that you also have some cool features on your wish list that would be easily implemented with current technology – if only the manufacturers knew what they were. Users, please let us know what you would like. And, since we know that manufacturers also read this letter, let us know what your coolest features are.

We’ll pass along the results in a later newsletter.