- Sync Address book contacts over the air
- Ensure that IM messages work seamlessly with SMS
- Windows Live Messenger contacts get local numbers
- Voice calls from Messenger on PC to mobiles
- Give some sort of presence verification
Mary Jo got down with some hyperbole, saying that this was an attempt by Microsoft to eliminate phone numbers (in her defence she was direct quoting Bill Gates). Zoli returned with a well reasoned retort saying that Echoes, rather than eliminating phone numbers, simply makes it more convenient for people to use them. He also touched on the fact that these services are already offered (in part or in full) by a number of other players.
And therein lies the rub – for unified communications to be, well unified, it needs to be all inclusive – MS Echoes lock-in plus Skype lock-in plus Grandcentral lock-in does not equal unification by any measure I’m comfortable with.
No what is really needed is for a third party to offer the unification service, achieve buy in from all the various players and look, act and feel neutral.
So, whereto for Echoes? Well it is an MS product, MS have some serious relationships with the telcos so there is every chance that it will work. Whether or not it should of course is another discussion. In any case, and for the current and ex-pat antipodeans out there, I leave you with another Echo – one firmly emanating from the eighties.