If you're a fan of HBO's "Game of Thrones" - and, in all likelihood, you are - then you know that the show's fictional world of Westeros is not an easy place to live. It's actually pretty challenging just to stay alive. From tyrant rulers to rampaging raiders to undead wights, death comes in many forms to the peasant and noble alike in the world of ice and fire.
The "Game of Thrones" world is pre-industrial - message-carrying ravens are the most cutting-edge telecommunications technology. This is a shame, because more advanced solutions could be a lifesaver - literally.
With that in mind, here are three ways that unified communications tools could help keep you alive in the world of "Game of Thrones."
1. Are you available? Are you alive?
One seemingly minor, but potentially transformative, feature offered by most UC solutions is presence. With presence tools, you can easily see whether your co-workers are available, and let them know your own status in turn. There's no need to send an instant message to a colleague, wait an hour, annoyed, for a response, then head up three flights of stairs only to find his desk vacant. Instead, you can see at a glance that that your co-worker's left for a lunch meeting with clients.
Now imagine that instead of asking Frank from Sales about last quarter's numbers, you need to see if the Lord of Harrenhal is willing to join your alliance. You send a raven, but weeks pass with no response. You send another. Finally, you find out that he's not going to join your rebellion, as he was assassinated two months ago. And now you find yourself under siege. If you could have just used presence tools and seen that his status was "Unavailable - Deceased," then maybe you could have made alternative arrangements. Too late now.
2. A royal roundtable, instantly.
It's time for a company meeting. Your company has grown, though, and you now have offices in three different countries, not to mention remote personnel and traveling sales personnel. The cost of getting everyone together under one roof is exorbitant, but a conference call is so impersonal.
UC has the answer, thanks to advanced video conferencing capabilities. With these solutions, you can deliver what is essentially a face-to-face presentation without spending thousands on airfare.
But in Westeros, the only option for air-travel is to ride a dragon, and that's not really feasible for most. Instead, you'll need all of your lords, knights, and bannermen to travel hundreds of miles via horse, wagon, and foot along the Kingsroad in order to convene for a council of war. This will amount to days or weeks of travel, not to mention the constant risk of falling victim to a Lannister ambush or sudden northern blizzard. If you could just conduct your war council through a video conferencing solution, you could be the one setting up traps for your enemies to fall into.
3. I think I'll work from the stronghold today.
With a UC solution in place, employees gain the ability to communicate and collaborate with one another effectively regardless of their physical locations. This means that your company can offer workers the opportunity to work remotely from their homes either partially or full-time. This has major benefits, as many workers - particularly younger employees - put a huge premium on the ability to work from home, so offering this perk makes it easier to attract and retain talented professionals.
Now imagine how your life expectancy would increase if you could work from home in Westeros. Instead of braving pirate-filled seas, wildling-filled forests, and bandit-beset pathways, you could do all of your work from a sturdy holdfast, safe and sound and totally productive.
There are no guarantees in "Game of Thrones," but it's fair to say that UC would go a long way toward keeping you alive. And UC can be a lifesaver for your business, too, although perhaps not so literally.