Alec Saunders has just published an excellent article on the future of presence. If you follow VoIP, this is the Saunders who brought us the Voice 2.0 Manifesto (October 2005). I highly recommend Alec's current essay on the "new presence," but I have some thoughts, of course :-)
Can't we change the name? With my mobile phone on my person I am always "present" but I may not be available. Alec's essay covers these concepts, but why not suggest a new name? something around the word "availability" would be good.
I want a communications interface that helps me capture my preferences. When I receive a call on my mobile, there's a one-click way to capture the caller ID into a phone book entry. I need comparable (and better) help in creating and maintaining profiles. If, in a particular circumstance, I decline a call from a specific caller, the phone should recognize this behavior and ask me "Do you always want to send this caller to voice mail when your phone is in vibrate mode?" and so on.
And there's one place where I disagree with Alec. I'm not worried about the proliferation of standards and semi-closed networks. Just as Skype came on the scene with a proprietary system that "just worked" I expect someone to solve the "availability" problem without waiting for standards or heterogeneous networks. I already run four instant messaging clients on my laptop. A single client would be nice, but it's not that important. Once we finally learn how availability should work from an existing player like Skype or from an entirely new overlay network (as Skype was a few years ago), then we can worry about consolidation.