Communication Tools…it’s about people

Photo of Jason Stanaland

Jason Stanaland at last year’s UTS Annual Kickoff.

In technology, we often think of communication as a protocol or a platform. It’s email, or SMS, or instant messaging. We concentrate a lot on metrics, like who is sending what messages to whom, how many messages have been sent, and whether or not they where sent successfully. We often think of communication in just three parts: the sending user, the transport, and the receiving user. But communication is more than that.

Communication isn’t about technology – it is about people. It’s about people’s perceptions, preferences, ambitions, and attention. It’s about making a connection. It is not just about sending something from one place to another. It isn’t about just transferring information. It is about two people sharing and making a connection that is mutually understand and agreed upon.

In today’s business world, we rely upon many communications systems that help us to give information and to get information, but they don’t necessarily help us to communicate. Many technology communication systems also accommodate the preferences of the sender (i.e. I send you an email whether you want me to or not). The receiver is left with the information to interpret without a lot of context. This is a very disconnected and one-sided way to transmit information.

As we move forward, technology is starting to involve personal and integrated elements more and more. Social media, Facetime, mobile apps, and behavior/activity monitoring devices are just a few ways that this is happening. These things will likely lead to better communication in the future.

I think one of the biggest opportunities for communication enhancement is in building messaging systems that leverage Business Intelligence and Analytics to create more personalized communication experiences. Think about a communication system within an organization that could learn about what information is most relevant to you, how you like to receive information, how you best understand it, what interests you most, and how you retain it – delivering and storing the information from others in a way that is consistent with these things.

I think there is so much potential for this field in the future. Only time will tell where it all goes, but it is certainly about time for all of us, as technologists, to start having more of these conversations.

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