Om Malik reports in his blog on the announcement of "Tello", which is a service designed to bridge the gap between various forms of communication (IM, voice, mobile) by enabling the sharing of presence information between systems. Tello is the brain child of Jeff Pulver and is backed by an all-star team of individuals including Craig McCaw and John Scully.
Using Tello, I could tell if someone was available via cell, IM, desktop telephone before I tried to call them. The vision for the product will also include integration with web conferencing technologies.
This is an important announcement, it represents a public service that aims to provide the exact same kind of function that Microsoft is building around Live Communications Server, e.g. the integration of real-time communications, presence and collaboration. I'm told that at Lotusphere today, IBM is making significant announcements that will bring the same sorts of capabilities into Sametime. I'd expect further announcements in the next few weeks as we work through the first round of major VoIP-related trade shows (see previous post).
For the last year or so I've been preaching to whoever will listen that the time when VoIP is simply part of a larger enterprise communications infrastructure that also includes IM, video, and real-time collaboration unified by presence is coming. With the Tello announcement, and others like it, that time is here.