Presence

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See the related entry on Identity.


Definitions of Presence

Lombard and Ditton (1997) survey the literature and identify six definitions of presence:


1. social richness

2. realism

3. transportation

4. immersion

5. social actor within medium

6. medium as social actor (http://www.poptel.org.uk/nuj/mike/presence.htm#noteLombard%20and%20Ditton%201997)

Aspects of Presence

From Mike Gotta (shortened excerpt) at http://mikeg.typepad.com/perceptions/2006/11/presence_thinki.html


Presence & identity: At the core, presence is "you" but how many "you"'s are there?

Presence & location: Presence also touches upon where I am - my home office, on the road at a Starbucks, at a hotel, at a conference, etc. Location information is also important to consider when devising a strategy around presence.

Presence & environment: Somewhat related to location, presence could include insight to the environment around you - the capabilities and/or constraints of your computing environment (connectivity not good enough for video) as well as the form factor(s) you have at the moment (mobile device vs. a PC).

Presence & activity: Presence is influenced/impacted by the activity you are involved in as well as the activities of others. Certain activities preclude me from being available.

Presence & role: People wear many hats. There are default roles that might show up in a presence profile but perhaps not all possible permutations. There might be roles that are viewable through certain filters.

Presence & meta data: Presence can be assigned to artifacts. I might tag an artifact with meta-data that is resolved in real-time (e.g., author for a document, subject-matter expert) that might only display in a list of search results. Presence is attachable to any application element.

Presence & availability: Availability is a subjective thing - always, sometimes, never, to everyone, to someone, to no one. If I say no one do I not mean my wife or boss. Can I delegate availability?

Presence & Social Relatedness: Presence conveys a type of peripheral vision and social nearness (cognitively) that it is important to consider the "connectedness" implications of presence in terms of social networks and community.

Presence & attention: Both inward attention (managing access, interruptions) as well as outward attention (am I trying to get noticed, or to let someone know something, by setting my presence status to a certain state).

Presence & federation: Not just across various organizational boundaries but also across identity boundaries. Security (confidentiality, privacy) comes into play more prominently.

Presence of objects: presence of "things" as well as people so RFID is a type of presence. My presence can be inferred from objects near me or that I handle or wear (nTag).

Presence & agents/avatars: As technology progresses and we automate tasks via bots of various sorts, what type of presence do these "instances of me" have as they act as my proxy? Am I present in real-life when I am in Second Life?" (http://mikeg.typepad.com/perceptions/2006/11/presence_thinki.html)


Discussion

The New Presence Model

Explained by Alex Saunders at http://saunderslog.com/2006/12/19/new-presence-and-the-voice-20-manifesto/


"The New Presence model has three building blocks: relationships, context, profile. Each of these is a core component in a model which is fundamentally richer, and more user-driven than any presence model previously.

We all have many relationships in our lives. Friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, business partners, affinity groups, political affiliations… these are but a few of the different relationships we have. New Presence spans all of the different relationship repositories we have — personal address books, buddy lists, corporate directories, social networks, CRM and ERP systems, affinity groups, and more — to construct a complete taxonomy of all the relationships we have, not just relationships specific to a particular walled garden. New Presence understands all the roles we play in our lives; worker, friend, parent, sibling, volunteer, and many others.

Most presence systems to-date have focused on a single piece of context information — “availability awareness”, or free/busy on a single device. The context model of New Presence is a vastly richer model, extending today’s free/busy model to include time, time of day, location, social networking information, scheduled events (now and in the future), and many many more sources of contextual information. As we live our lives, we leave electronic trails of information everywhere, all of which can be used to deduce context. At every moment, New Presence knows the fundamentals of what we do, where, with whom, and the relationship we have with those individuals, and how we might want to interact with others.

And lastly a system of profile management is an integral part of the New Presence model. Profiles include identity and role management systems, the ability to specify behavior and rules for different contexts and relationships, and the ability to subscribe to different presence based services and applications which may be offered by various service providers. With these tools, users will selectively reveal their availability to others based on relationship and context, rather than today’s blanket free/busy model. The completeness of the New Presence profile model will naturally lead to it becoming the default way by which we assert identity in the future, and every presentity will have the ability to securely assert the identity of its owner." (http://saunderslog.com/2006/12/19/new-presence-and-the-voice-20-manifesto/)


From network-centric Walled Gardens to User-centric Presence systems

From Alex Saunders at http://saunderslog.com/2006/12/19/new-presence-and-the-voice-20-manifesto/


"Why can’t AOL users talk to MSN users? Why is that users can access Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, and Blackberry Messenger on the latest Blackberry devices, but only from three separate applications? Why not run one? Why not have a single identity that can span all networks?

Users live lives outside the artificially constructed walled gardens of the network operators, and so must their presence. Therefore, New Presence assumes a user-centric model of presence rather than a network-centric model. New Presence by its nature must be an off-carrier platform as it is dependent on the ability of users to assert identity, catalog relationships, and gather contextual information across multiple networks.

Whether federated, or centralized, New Presence platforms will span multiple networks and carriers. Because of the inherent value of these systems, users will bring them into the networks on open platforms, rendering the walled gardens porous, and eventually valueless." (http://saunderslog.com/2006/12/19/new-presence-and-the-voice-20-manifesto/)


Barriers to the New Presence model

Alex Saunders:

Perhaps the two biggest barriers to New Presence today are:


1. the simple confusion around protocol standards. Ironically, this ought to be the simplest piece to solve. Standards are simply codified ways to describe information. The tussle between SIP / SIMPLE, and XMPP must be resolved before New Presence can effectively move forward. Much of the rest of the technology required already exists.

2. the will of the carriers and portal players, who still cling to the wilful delusion that they can capture every aspect of the users communication world. In reality, the vast majority of us lead heterogeneous lives, and no service provider will ever change that." (http://saunderslog.com/2006/12/19/new-presence-and-the-voice-20-manifesto/)


More Information

  1. New Presence Model
  2. The Voice 2.0 Manifesto]
  3. Presence oriented communication blog at http://www.connectioncommons.org/vision
  4. See how "presence management" is enabled by Lifelogging software, which creates Social Peripheral Vision.
  5. Making Sense of Presence: treatise by Douglas Galbi.
  6. Mike Gotta's status report: Mike Gotta reviews the trend towards social presence