I have constantly been looking for a term that would be understandable to consumers and end users who don’t really understand or care about technology and infrastructures, just what it does for them (UC-U). So, while it is the “user experience” and user interfaces that come into play here, that doesn’t explain anything about the flexibility that UC-enabled applications gain from the technology.
As I have mentioned in the past, the “smart phone” became the flagship for UC in many ways. Not only did it bring greater convenience and contact accessibility to end users, but because it was multi-media, it also supported UC-enabled integrations for both communications and automated business applications (including “mobile apps”). I thought that if consumers already understand what a smartphone does, they could then readily identify that with UC capabilities. So, if we use terms like “smart communications” or “smart applications,” users would immediately recognize them as something that smartphones enabled and identify the benefits they get from UC-enablement.
So, I started Googling the Web for the term “smart communications” and found that most of the announcements came from a leading wireless services in the Philippines that calls itself “Smart Communications.” Needless to say, they sell a lot of smartphones and associated mobile services.
We can use the “smart” adjective at the application levels that UC-enablement can be applied to, e.g., CEBP and “mobile apps.” In particular, we can describe contact centers as being “smart” when they handle any form of contact, inbound and outbound, and use contextual information to simplify the end user interface and minimize manual effort. For self-service online applications, voice commands can be used when desired, rather than error-prone keyed inputs, and application outputs can be visual rather than speech. Addresses for messaging or call initiation can come from online directory look ups or contextually from any document or message being viewed, rather than the contact initiator having to know this information beforehand.
I guess the bottom line for “smart” applications is that it lets end users do things easier, faster, and in any mode of user interface that a multi-modal mobile device provides. It lets applications be more responsive to the end users “on the go” who can’t spend much time doing things interactively. The desktop user interfaces for the same applications don’t really have to change much to meet the new demands of mobility, they just need mobile UI front ends for the different mobile devices being used.
However you look at UC flexibility, it is most useful for “smart” users who are getting more mobile all the time!