For decades we’ve allowed technology to dictate our behaviour. Quickly adapting to new technologies and changing the way we operate was—and often still is—seen as a positive trait. But why? Is it really a paradigm we can never question?
Behavioural and cognitive psychology show us that generally, we are more efficient, less prone to making errors and, above all, happier in an environment where behaviour developed over eons of evolution is not entirely disregarded.
Traditionally, our communication is seen as isolated events organized in the mode and time domain. We are all familiar with call histories where we can scroll through endless lists of missed, incoming and outgoing calls. Entirely separated, we have a different view of our messages organized by individuals where we can walk back in time to re-read our conversations regardless of context.
For other modes of communication such as file-sharing, collaboration, document signing, voice mail, memos, polls and surveys, there seems to be no established standard for how to present them. Similarly, you also find chronological or peer-based organization, sometimes separated, sometimes combined within messages.
With unified communication, we liberally switch between communication modes, often using different modes in parallel at our convenience; escalate chats to calls to content sharing sessions and vice versa we are in need of a better, more natural way of organizing.
This is where the idea of threaded communication comes into play. This is the basic ability to intelligently group communication events. Think of it as similar to when email applications started to offer the option to organize the inbox not only chronologically, but also so that you could group emails by subject, reply and forward.
Admittedly, when it comes to unified communication the complexity of useful threaded communication is much higher. However, the basic concept of providing the option to intelligently group communication events by both time and mode based on context and user behaviour remains the same.
It can be as simple as chronologically organizing all messages, calls, pictures, files, voice and video recordings between two people removing the clutter to provide a focused view.
To make this form of communication more natural we have to rely heavily on smart algorithms and intuitive UI/UX features that effortlessly guide the user to the contextual right threaded view of the communication.
To illustrate the benefits of a threaded communication model, imagine the following scenario: a small business owner sends a contract to a client for signing. To assist, she calls the client to explain the terms of the contract by going through it line-by-line in a screen-sharing session.
Let’s say many weeks later the client complains about one condition of the contract, saying it was never explained to them. How easy would it be for the business owner to pull up the thread to the area where the section was explained? All relevant data is available at a glance from when the document was sent and the signature was received, with the recorded call and screen-sharing session, to review that the paragraph in question was indeed discussed.
In conclusion, threaded communication is an organizational tool, a utilitarian overlay of unified communication (UC) which quickly organizes relevant data and communication events. It embraces a persistent view of teams, topics and individual communication.
CounterPath is committed to integrating threaded communication into our solutions. To learn more about us, visit our website.