Smart Phones Will Know When You Can't Answer

from the would-be-cool-if-it-worked dept

For a few years now, I’ve been hearing about how “presence” information would change the way people used phones. The idea was to combine instant messaging with telephones – so that you could determine whether or not someone was available to take your call. It sounds powerful at first, but I was skeptical, because I wasn’t sure how the phone would determine the “presence” info. Right now, most instant messaging programs require you to input that information (e.g., “I’m busy”), but most people don’t use that feature, because it’s too much of a hassle. If you have to deal with presence info on your computer and your phone and who knows what else, chances are most people are going to ignore it – making the whole concept of presence useless. However, now some scientists are working on solving that problem by figuring out ways for phones and computers to determine whether or not you’re busy and automating your status. The system involves “tiny microphones, cameras and sensors” that all try to determine how busy you are. If you’re pounding away at your keyboard, talking to someone else, or have your office door closed, it can be a sign that you’re busy, according to the article. It sounds like a great system, actually, though it’s still quite a ways away from being available.

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