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Unified Communications
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UC Mag
Paula Bernier
Executive Editor,

IP Communications Magazines

A Note on Mobile Unified Communications

For an increasing number of people, more business transacts outside of one's office than in it. Thus, dependence on mobile devices is considerably increasing. But how does one deal with the dangers of simultaneous activities such as driving, which severely restricts people from getting the most out of our PDA or cell phone?


Of all the media, voice is still the most familiar and powerful. Ditech Networks, a global leader in mobile voice processing solutions, has developed what they call mStage, a voice-activated mobile media platform designed to enable wireless service providers to offer their subscribers voice access to Web 2.0 applications.


Ditech CEO Todd Simpson explains: "For many years we've been selling platforms for both wireless and wireline carriers that do a lot of voice processing. Traditionally, that voice processing has centered on improving and managing the quality on the network, managing noise and echo and levels and impairments that arise from compression, from codecs, and translating between codecs and what-not. Those platforms are deployed worldwide."


"Searching about for what to do next as a company, we thought we should leverage the platforms we have in the network that process media," says Simpson. "So what we have regarding mStage is an evolution from where we've been, but, that said, it's taken up a fairly new direction in that we are looking to enable revenue for the carriers via the mStage platform as opposed to just doing the kinds of voice quality processing that we've done in the past."


"We've brought to bear all of our former expertise to the mStage platform, along with some additional capabilities beyond just managing the voice quality," says Simpson, "but in some ways quite related, given that mStage now has some 'hooks' into voice recognition systems and things that behave a lot better when the input to them is nice and clean."


Dr. Hossein Eslambolchi, former AT&T CTO and technical advisor for Ditech Networks, says, "The Web has become a competing communications channel. The convergence of telecommunications and the Web is now bringing the benefit of Web technology to the telephone itself, which will ultimately enable Web developers to create applications that can be accessed via any phone or any smart device, and allow people to interact with these apps with the aid of things such as speech. There's quite a bit of work going on in that space, but this is definitely a convergence that has been going on in the industry over the past 12 to 18 months. Ditech is definitely onto something that is driving what I view to be an overall convergence in the industry."


"Now if you take a step backward and ask what this convergence really means," says Eslambolchi, "In the telecom world, which is wireline and wireless, this is pretty much defined by IMS, the IP Multimedia Subsystem. However, even within IMS, integration to people - which is speech - and applications such as XML, will drive further convergence."


Do You Toktok?


One example of a Ditech's mStage platform application designed for carriers is Ditech's announced Toktok, an interesting voice-enabled service that connects people to popular Web productivity tools through one word spoken during a phone call. Toktok will easily integrate Web applications, social networks, Google calendar and Gmail contacts enabling people to schedule appointments, create new tasks, conference in others, and more - all mid-conversation. The service will instantly activate when you say 'toktok' during a phone call, eliminating the hassle and/or worry of dropping a call while manually checking availability or fumbling through a contact list.


The limitations of mobile keyboards and touch screens can be bypassed as you will be able to perform organizational tasks online with your voice, thanks to Toktok.



"Using advanced word recognition technology, Ditech is redefining what it means to be truly hands-free," says Eslambolchi. "This is the beginning of a new era where people can use mobile applications in just about every situation."


Toktok is also being designed to include a Facebook application, "Voice Poke", which will show which members of a person's online social network are on the phone, and allow "whisper" messages to be sent directly into phone calls. These audio messages could be a request to join the conversation, a funny comment, or an important reminder. Future evolutions of the application could include the ability to deliver messages in celebrity voices, short music or movie clips, and more.


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