There IS No Channel

Back in 2011 I first wrote about pervasive communications and how one of the challenges it presented was chaos:

“The challenge now is pervasive communication has become chaotic — the sprawl of communication mediums offer competing, yet similar functions. Conversations now leap among platforms and channels with an unprecedented fluidity — a Twitter update engenders an SMS text which leads to a phone conversation that informs a blog post that points to a web-site viewed on a mobile device which generates a sale in a brick-and-mortar venue  – yes, chaotic, hyper-connected, ubiquitous and non-linear.”

When I wrote that I had in my mind a new generation of communicators — call them Millennials or digital natives — who were using communications technology in new and often unexpected ways. Flash forward three years and the picture is more clear. It’s not just a new breed of communicators but an overall trend in communications. The chaos is giving way to efficacy, utility and innovation.

I’ve heard it called multi-channel or omni-channel, but, to paraphrase The Matrix, “there IS no channel.”Channels

It’s channel-less communication.

There was a time where every communications channel had a dedicated device/medium/venue: we made phone calls on a telephone, listened to broadcast voice on a radio, watched broadcast video on a TV, read news in a newspaper or magazine. Today we have convergence. I can read the newspaper on my tablet, make a phone call from my laptop, and have video conference calls on my smartphone. For all intents and purposes I can consume any content and communicate on any channel from any digital device.  In the palm of my hand I have access to ALL channels.

In many respects, pervasive communications is order, not chaos.


This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit  IBM’s Midsize Insider. Dedicated to providing businesses with expertise, solutions and tools that are specific to small and midsized companies, the Midsize Business program provides businesses with the materials and knowledge they need to become engines of a smarter planet.