Networking: E-mail is the 'new telephone'

Oct 17, 2005

Ten years ago Mark J. Grossman's office was alive with the sound of ringing phones and chatter from account executives placing sales calls. "The prevailing sound today is 'click, click, click,'" said Grossman, who heads Grossman Strategies in Bohemia, N.Y.

E-mail is the new telephone -- the dominant communications medium for many businesses today -- as employees labor away, typing on PCs rather than dialing for dollars, experts tell UPI's Networking.

"Not only is e-mail the preferred choice of communications in business, it will soon become the driver of revenue for telcos," said Brian Bogosian, chief executive officer of Visto Corp. "If we listen to the warnings from analysts and industry pundits, the telecommunications industry is not going to make any money from what it was originally designed for -- voice services. The future of telecommunications services across the board is data services, of which e-mail is a critical element."

That is putting a strain on computer networks -- never conceived initially to handle the kind of traffic that is prevalent today. Companies have to spend money on anti-virus technologies, IT personnel and other defensive measures to ensure that the networks remain online.

The cost of communications is not really going down -- though productivity appears to be going up substantially. That needs to change in the long term in order for the networking boom to continue. "Ultimately, e-mail access needs to be cost-effective," said Bogosian, based in Redwood City, Calif. "Installation of proprietary e-mail systems, such as Blackberry e-mail, can incur significant costs outside usage, which include additional hardware, additional network configuration, the cost of buying mobile proprietary devices, and an expensive monthly support bill."

Other costs that are increased are paper-and-ink costs in the office, as well as the wear and tear on office equipment, like PCs and printers.

There may also be a cost to human relationships, experts said. "We spent 3 million years in groups of 25-45 people, and our ability to react to nonverbal and paralinguistic communication of others is central to our ability to receive and send accurately," Douglas Raybeck, a professor of psychological anthropology at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., told Networking. "A phone is a poor substitute for another's presence, and with e-mail you lose even voice tone."

That, of course, has led to the development of emoticons, those smiley faces and other signs that "designate the message intent," said Raybeck. Still, there are studies that suggest that e-mail significantly enhances the likelihood of a message being misinterpreted, he added.

There is, however, an upside to e-mail communication that may ease any fear of misinterpretation of one's message. "E-mail provides a soothing sense of completion," Rita Gunther McGrath, co-author of "MarketBusters: 40 Strategic Moves that Drive Exceptional Business Growth," told Networking. "With today's hectic office lifestyles, the chance of reaching someone on the telephone the first time around are minimal. With e-mail, one just hits the 'send' button and feels that the message has been delivered."

E-mail is best used to convey factual information, rather than emotional stories, said Gunther McGrath, who is a professor at Columbia Business School at Columbia University in New York City. This may be a huge improvement over trying to leave a message with a confused secretary. "Anyone who has ever had to try to leave a message with a human being knows that the chance of information being incorrect is pretty high," said Gunther McGrath.

One thing that networks are going to do more of in the future -- and are starting to do now -- is provide information on the location of the person to whom an e-mail is being sent. This is known as their network "presence," experts said. "By providing precious context information, such as availability to communicate location, and what device a person is using, presence has filled the void as a means to synchronize people and information all in real-time," said Kevin McLaughlin, managing partner at Public I Partners, a marketing communications firm based in Princeton, N.J., in an e-mail message to Networking.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: US seeks China's help after cyberattack

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sony emails show a studio ripe for hacking

Dec 18, 2014

In the weeks before hackers broke into Sony Pictures Entertainment, the studio suffered significant technology outages it blamed on software flaws and incompetent technical staffers who weren't paying attention, ...

Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

Dec 18, 2014

The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned. The dramatic conclusion of a Korean role is based on subtle ...

Timeline of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack

Dec 18, 2014

It's been four weeks since hackers calling themselves Guardians of Peace began their cyberterrorism campaign against Sony Pictures Entertainment. In that time thousands of executive emails and other documents ...

Sony hacking fallout puts all companies on alert

Dec 18, 2014

Companies across the globe are on high alert to tighten up network security to avoid being the next company brought to its knees by hackers like those that executed the dramatic cyberattack against Sony Pictures ...

Hacked emails slice spam fast

Nov 26, 2014

Spam spreads much faster and to more people when it is being propagated by hacked, or otherwise compromised, email accounts rather than legitimate accounts, according to research published in the International Journal of ...

Recommended for you

US seeks China's help after cyberattack

4 hours ago

The United States is asking China for help as it weighs potential responses to a cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment that the U.S. has blamed on North Korea.

Why the Sony hack isn't big news in Japan

21 hours ago

Japan's biggest newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, featured a story about Sony Corp. on its website Friday. It wasn't about hacking. It was about the company's struggling tablet business.

Off-world manufacturing is a go with space printer

Dec 20, 2014

On Friday, the BBC reported on a NASA email exchange with a space station which involved astronauts on the International Space Station using their 3-D printer to make a wrench from instructions sent up in ...

Cadillac CT6 will get streaming video mirror

Dec 20, 2014

Cadillac said Thursday it will add high resolution streaming video to the function of a rearview mirror, so that the driver's vision and safety can be enhanced. The technology will debut on the 2016 Cadillac ...

Sony faces 4th ex-employee lawsuit over hack

Dec 20, 2014

A former director of technology for Sony Pictures Entertainment has sued the company over the data breach that resulted in the online posting of his private financial and personal information.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.