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May 2008 | Volume 11/ Number 5
The VoIP Authority

CTIA Takeaways

So, I’m still catching up on all the wonderful companies I met with at CTIA (News - Alert) in Las Vegas last month.

For those of you who frequent trade shows, you know the most common question is, “What exciting things have you seen at the show?” Suffice it to say that once you wade through the sexy new-fangled gadgets and mobile devices at a show like CTIA, the term ‘exciting’ has relative merits.

Kodiak Networks (News - Alert)

Well, in this case I walked away from my briefing wondering how I could convince the folks back at the home office to get a hold of this particular solution and try it out.

Headquartered in Dallas, TX, Kodiak enables wireless carriers with a mobile solutions portfolio focusing on voice and messaging applications such as push to talk, conferencing, messaging, and contact management.

As companies increasingly field mobile workforces and enterprises in general move from one-to-one communications to building groups/communities Kodiak feels they have the solution to serve these unbound road warriors.

These days, conferencing — in addition to phone and e-mail — rounds out the list of commonly used communications applications in the enterprise. The phone and e-mail have already gone mobile, so what about conferencing? Kodiak believes there is significant room to grow, making conferencing a better experience.

Kodiak announced several clientless and client-based mobile applications designed to provide end-users with the ability to assign a telephone number to a group of individuals that they can use for conferencing, text messaging, or voice messaging, directly from their mobile contact list.

So in essence, if you want to arrange a meeting with multiple parties (up to 30) you can do so from your mobile phone by dialing a single number from your contact list.

The solution allows recipients to reply to the originator or reply to all message recipients, directly from the message. This is reportedly the first-ever client-based scheduled conferencing application, which allows users to set-up meetings directly from their mobile handset.

Gemini Mobile (News - Alert)

Another company I met with at CTIA was Gemini Mobile Technologies. Gemini Mobile recently made headlines with the release of its HyperScale Software Development Kit, which is designed to enable system integrators and partners worldwide to harness the power of Gemini’s powerful HyperScale technology to create products for a variety of industries.

Gemini’s HyperScale is the core technology behind its two products: a software messaging platform, HyperScale Messaging Center, and a community platform, eXplo.

While at CTIA, I got a thorough demo of S! Town, a 3D mobile community powered by eXplo. Based on Gemini’s HyperScale technology, eXplo unifies media, content and communication into a single platform offering end users a unique 3D mobile experience.

The service went live in Japan 2 years ago, with Softbank (News - Alert) Mobile, and as of November it had 250,000 subscribers.

My first thought was, ok, so this is like Webkinz for mobile phones. Do a quarter of a million Japanese children really have their own mobile phones, with unlimited data plans?

Turns out the target demographic is not kids at all, but rather women from 20–29 years of age, a group that makes up 41% of the user base. And the next largest user group? 30 to 39 year-olds. Go figure.

The application comes bundled with a mobile phone, and helps drive the purchase of unlimited data plans from the carriers. Ok, now it started making more sense. Furthermore, the 3D world is filled with advertising, whereby users click on an ad, to visit an advertiser’s WAP site, as well as stores, where users can preview videos or songs and download them with minimal clicks to purchase. So a key benefit is enabling content discovery; bringing it closer to consumers, and making it easier to close the sale.

So what seemed at first to be a game, is really an innovative way to enable users to more easily purchase items via their mobile phone while driving minutes and supplementary revenue to the carrier.

Webkinz indeed!

Samsung (News - Alert)

At the show, Samsung Mobile announced the Samsung Instinct (which was named best of show, by the way). Hailed by many as the “iPhone (News - Alert) killer” or at least a worthy alternative the device offers full touch screen functionality and promises to accelerate the user experience by enabling access to commonly used applications and contacts with a single finger tap.

The device, available exclusively from Sprint (News - Alert), will run on the carrier’s EV-DO Rev A network, enabling users to browse the Web, access business or personal email, share pictures, listen to commercial-free radio and more at broadband speeds.

There was so much more that I got to see at CTIA, including the latest amazing touch-screen technology from Synaptics (News - Alert), telco gear from Ericsson, Cisco, Genband, Juniper, and much more. To read all about it, head over to TMCnet and check out my blog or my columnist page. IT

– Greg Galitzine is Group Editorial Director for TMC (News - Alert)

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