Email 1.0, we salute you

good bye to email 1.0In the last couple of years I’ve said goodbye to ‘institutions’ I thought would be around forever. Borders, for instance. Many an evening did I spend sifting through the shelves of my favorite bookstore till I found a book I appreciated enough to pay for and take home with me. Those evenings at Borders are gone. And whilst some traditional brick and mortar stores have fallen through the recession and others are still staggering, the cloud-based tech industry is emerging triumphant.

Take traditional email technology. Email as we knew it is on its last legs. Remember the days when you’d say goodbye to your company inbox on a Friday evening, only to check it again when back at work on Monday morning? Thanks to cloud-based solutions, we can be accessible anywhere, anytime, without assistance from IT to sync our inbox or calendar to our smartphone.  According to a Litmus study, 38% of email is opened on a mobile device, with another 29% opened from a webmail client. That leaves just 33% residing on the traditional desktop email client.

Not only is cloud technology making email more accessible and productive, it’s making email cheaper to. According to Forrester Research, cloud-based email is one-third of the cost to businesses than an on-premise solution.  Cloud technology minimizes or removes software, hardware and maintenance costs.

And the way we’re using email is changing too. We’re not just forwarding emails; we’re sharing email content all over our social networks. In the case of Google, we’re combining our email workspace – Gmail – with our social network space: Google+. And as these realms merge, so does our behaviour. At work we email if it’s serious, otherwise we collaborate with Yammer. Where email was once the go-to medium for all correspondence, it’s now the medium of choice for selected scenarios. We’re subconsciously considering expediency and productivity when deciding whether to email or live chat.

And so, in time, we’ll say goodbye to the poor old isolated desktop email client we’ve known for so long. Business tools like Casengo, that enable you to switch seamlessly between email, live chat and social media mode will become the norm. The contact lists we keep on our personal email accounts will grow out-of-date as we acquire social and professional contacts via Facebook and LinkedIn.

Sometimes I reflect on Borders as I order online at Amazon.com. And, from time to time, I’m sure I will think back to my first Outlook account as I send hybrid messages from social and business tools. Email 1.0, we salute you.

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