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March 28, 2007

Personalize With Video Ringback Tones

By Erik Linask, Associate Editor,
Internet Telephony magazine

It seems so dull to pick up a phone, dial a number, and always hear the same boring ringing sound… but that’s what prompted the creation of ringback tones. And, with all the attention paid to video applications and with video capture enabled on many mobile devices, video mail was also only matter of time. Telenity, however, took it all to a new level, combining the ringback tones and video with its video ringback tone service for 3G networks. Users can now define music videos, news clips, or personal video messages as their ringback tones.

Mobile operator Geocell has announced that it has opted to deploy Telenity’s video-enabled Canvas CoolRings solution— as the personalized video ringback tone application is called— in its 3G wireless network, having witnessed a successful demonstration, and having also previously deployed Telenity’s VideoMail application. 
“We will continue to offer our subscribers best-in-class 3G services that improve their every day communications and allow them to personalize their mobile experience with video-rich content,” said Osman Turan, General Manager at Geocell. “Telenity has always been one partner we can trust on to provide us with such next generation value added services.”
Canvas CoolRings allows subscribers to combine customizable video and audio content in new way, allowing users to personalize their ringbacks with video, even identifying distinct video RBTs for different callers or groups. In addition, users can select video RBTs based on time of day, date, or time, allowing for different video content morning, noon, and night. (For users daring enough to video themselves sleeping, it’s a neat way to let callers know they’ve gone to bed.)
The Canvas CoolRings platform supports various interfaces and content types and can also be integrated with Telenity’s content management platform (or other third-party solutions) to enable secure, independent management of various sources of content. While audio RBTs continue to grow in popularity, Telenity is already well ahead of the curve adding video to the process and providing additional revenue streams for operators.
“Video RBT allows operators to offer a medium for self-expression while increasing revenues and maintaining their customer base,” said Dilip Singh, CEO at Telenity.
The applications are virtually limitless when you think about it for a while. If you are entering a conference, but want to let your spouse know you can meet him or her at 7:30 for dinner, you can leave a personalized video RBT. Or you can let colleagues know you’re one a flight and cannot answer the phone. Or you can leave directions to the office for a visiting client. Or you can introduce your friends to the latest music video by your favorite singer. Or you can leave a list of movie times for a group of friends. The list can go on, but you get the picture (or the video, as it were). 
At the end of the day, ringback tones are hardly necessary, but they are a new way to personalize our devices and to disseminate important or interesting information to friend, colleagues, or family members. And for network operators and content providers, it offers a new and recurring revenue stream, so both sides win. After all, for the end user, it’s all about personalization, and for the provider, it’s about the user experience because that’s what generates revenue.
Want more wireless news? Check out TMCnet’s complete coverage of the CTIA Wireless (News - Alert) show (March 27-29, 2007) here.
Erik Linask is Associate Editor of INTERNET TELEPHONY, IMS Magazine, and SIP Magazine. Prior to joining TMC (News - Alert), he was Managing Editor at Global Custodian, an international securities services publication. To see more of his articles, please visit Erik Linask’s columnist page.

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