With these first generation systems, presence already has an impact on efficiency—in the calls you don't make because the person is away. Over time this impact will become more and more significant, because more kinds of state information will become available, and because the systems will become more sophisticated in what they can do with it.
As far as communications efficiencies are concerned, the current-generation manual features are only the tip of the iceberg. Second generation features, already in implementation, will automate out much of the current hassle of communication and will significantly improve management visibility and control.
Furthermore presence enables an entirely new form of business integration with communications. With presence, business applications can be linked to the communications environment by triggering state events that the communication system can respond to and manage. This avoids the cost and implementation headaches of traditional CTI and provides an important new tool to help important work get done.
So ultimately one cares about presence, because it will be increasingly important for efficiency of communication and will become a standard part of business competitiveness overall.
This was first published in October 2005