Presence-based real-time communication (RTC) presents itself as a new and emerging technology in the E-collaboration arena with a wide range of new products currently entering the market. Originally created through the integration of instant messaging, with its text chat functionality and presence awareness information, with voice-over IP (VoIP) communication RTC has been maturing over the past three years. Further information and communication channels have been added and RTC technology shows significant potential for integration with other collaborative application as well as general purpose systems like office software. By introducing RTC, its features, potential usage scenarios, and the main players and future trends, this article names several aspects which might inspire future research in this area.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Presence Awareness Information: Being an integrated feature of different devices, presence awareness information signals people’s situational availability for communication
Real-Time Communication (RTC): Based on unified communication and presence-awareness information, RTC is the result of the convergence of telecommunication and groupware systems. RTC enables ad hoc communication based on an integrated set of communication channels and devices and signals presence-awareness information.
Interaction Overload: Level of interaction requests exceeding individual’s preferences or capacity.
Unified Messaging (UM): Management and coordination of asynchronous communication through a single portal in which messages from different channels are bundled. Messages can be converted between media and accessed from various devices via a single portal.
Unified Communication (UC): Extends unified messaging by integrating asynchronous and synchronous communication. UC is based on a middleware platform that manages communication channels and devices and allows for a rules-based filtering and diversion of communication requests between channels and devices.
Dispersed Collaboration: Collaboration of geographically separated individuals, generally supported by information and communication technology.
Voice-Over IP (VoIP): Synchronous audio communication via the Internet. Instead of talking over a dedicated phone line, the communication stream is digitalized and transferred as data packets via TCP/IP or SIP protocols.