SayWhat goes beyond caller ID. It also goes beyond ditchmail services like YouMail, or forward-to-voicemail-and-listen services offered by Google. My Personal Secretary is a mobile app available in the Google Play store today that offers ditchmail and auto-reply SMS to phone calls. But SayWhat goes a step further by allowing callers to explain the urgency, mood and subject of a call before the phone is even answered — much like the subject line of an email.
The downside? It’s currently only available on Android. Noam Wolf, co-founder and CEO of SayWhat Labs Ltd, says he plans to make it iPhone and Windows’ phone compatible in the near future.
As you could probably guess from the infomercial above, the app is geared at consumers. But the company plans to target enterprises down the road provided enterprises show enough interest in the app.
“There’s nothing bad about this app from the enterprise perspective. I know my buddies over in sales would love it if it could interact with Google Chat statuses, CRM and automated marketing tools — which Noam seems capable of doing if the demand is high enough,” Mobiquity Marketing Associate Ben Bell said.
He noted companies looking to deploy SayWhat would probably own an enterprise app store. One hurdle to enterprise adoption would be finding a way for IT groups to “wrap the app … to do what they need to [do] security-wise,” he said.
While SayWhat may enjoy consumer adoption to start, enterprises looking for similar programs may be more interested in apps like Mosec, Mobile Secretary, which sorts through emails, instant messages and voice calls and interfaces with a company’s CRM,” Bell said.
Still, SayWhat is the only mobile application that can tell you what a call is about before you recieve it.]]>
There is a growing percentage of employees opting for softphone clients or smart mobile devices over the desk phone. Alaa Saayed, industry analyst for unified communications at Frost & Sullivan, says there are indications that softphone clients are actually gaining traction, but says IP desk phones will not be leaving the desktop anytime soon.
Though many end users prefer their smart or dual-mode mobile devices and softphones, Saayed says end users are actually holding up the shift to softphones. “We’ve heard one enterprise say that while 70% of managers wanted to consolidate devices, 70% of end users didn’t,” according to Saayed.
Given that many enterprises have phone systems nearing the end of their lifecycles and that employees are increasingly using smart mobile devices and soft clients/PCs over traditional desk phones, should enterprises continue to invest in these standalone end points?
What do you think? For more information on the future or lack thereof of desk phones, check out Jon Arnold’s post on five reasons why the desk phone will disappear and Jack Gold’s The office phone is dead!]]>
I wrote a case study a few months ago about Hertford Regional College in England, which deployed a fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) platform to combat the cell signal blackout in its newest buildings. It wasn’t that the local wireless carrier’s coverage area or services were lacking — the rest of the campus was covered just fine. According to the director of network services at the college, some aspects of the energy-efficient building designs to improve insulation (specifically, metal in the window materials) made it nearly impossible for cellular signals to penetrate the building.
The story got our editors wondering how widespread this problem was, especially as many organizations (particularly in the public sector) are trying or required to cut energy costs with greener building designs. At the time, Google didn’t return much in terms of research or evidence — a short discussion on a wireless networking forum and another anecdote that was two years old by that point.
I tried reaching out to two well-regarded telecom analysts who track the wireless industry. One shrugged it off as a non-issue. The other said he had never heard of the problem before. Without much to go on, the story fizzled.
Then I spoke with Mark Zuber, telecommunications specialist at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, last week about his recent distributed antenna system (DAS) deployment with ADC, a network infrastructure and professional services vendor. The college recently built a conference center and a small hotel to support its hospitality programs and provide students with experience in real-life settings. The buildings were constructed to meet energy-efficiency guidelines and, sure enough, the “low e” (or low emissivity) glass in the windows blocked cell signal. ADC designed and deployed the DAS, leaving Zuber to negotiate contracts with six wireless carriers over the next five months (ouch).
Whether or not green buildings are actually going to cause these problems on a widespread basis, it’s interesting that this has become an IT problem — namely for telephony pros, many of whom already have their hands full trying to understand how Internet Protocol (IP) and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) are turning their traditional telephony training on its head.
But as the expectation for constant mobility becomes ubiquitous (and end users rely more on cell phones for more than just phone calls), are more enterprise telephony and unified communications (UC) pros going to be running into (and expected to solve) this problem? Have you had to engineer a solution to poor cellular coverage in your buildings, green or not? Let’s hear it — and hopefully get more than two or three anecdotes on record.
(Image courtesy of shutterstock.com)]]>
They say things happen in threes, so let’s try the Hewlett-Packard edition of this association game: Colubris, 3Com… Palm?
Those three letters probably sum up most of the IT world’s reaction to HP’s announcement it will buy the flailing Palm Inc. for $1 billion in cash. Although there’s been plenty of pontificating about what the Palm merger means for the smartphone market, I’m not seeing much of a forest through the trees.
Where does this piece fit in the puzzle? What does it mean for everyone who’s not a mobile device manager, mobile app developer or garden variety Palm customer? What about telephony, collaboration and networking professionals? I’m not going to pretend I have the answer, but here’s some food for thought:
Remember when Cisco bought the makers of the Flip camera around this time last year? Everyone sneered at it as a distraction from Cisco’s networking heritage or as a sleazy play into the consumer market (not even Jack Bauer can escape the Cisco marketing machine). But then we started hearing about visual networking from Cisco. A few months later at their partner summit in Boston, Cisco CEO John Chambers demonstrated how the Flip could be used to transmit video via Telepresence. Ta-da — collaboration.
Can HP tap a similar vein with Palm smartphones and its webOS? We see them as standalone devices today, but how will it all work in concert with its networking gear? Or its Halo telepresence systems? Is this a step forward for mobile UC? Or am I making a blog out of a molehill? I called HP’s press office to find someone who could shed some insight, but they’re mum on the details about how these devices and platforms will fit into a broader communications strategy (assuming there is one).
There were a few hints in the webcast HP execs gave investors about the Palm buyout earlier this week.
From Jim Burns, vice president of investor relations:
“We are going to leverage our scale to improve certainly the cost structure of the products,
given the procurement leverage that we have, etc., and the scale advantages we have. We also see growth synergies with the business, too. At the same time, we are going to be, as Todd mentioned earlier, putting more investments into the business, too.”
Then from Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP’s Personal Systems Group (emphasis added):
“This market presents a significant opportunity for profitable growth. The smartphone market
alone is over $100 billion and growing over 20%. We see further opportunities beyond smart phones into additional connected mobile form factors. We anticipate that with the webOS we will be able to aggressively deploy an integrated platform that will allow HP to own the entire customer experience, to effectively nurture and grow the developer community, and to provide a rich, valued experience for our customers.”
Finally, Forrester’s Tim Sheedy spells out what the HP/Palm buyout means for CIOs, but it’s a message that’s still relevant to other parts of IT and communications teams, too:
HP already provides a fair chunk of many companies’ ICT hardware and IT services requirements (and a growing % of their IT management software). This move means that HP will be better positioned to become a “one stop shop” for more of your ICT requirements. It also may finally convince many organizations to take their enterprise mobility strategies more seriously, as you will be able to acquire and manage the solutions in the same way as you do your PCs, servers, printers and other hardware. Having complete control of the product lifecycle, and a single point of support will be appealing to many firms, although there are still large pieces missing from the enterprise story (how the devices are managed, monitored etc?).
In June we reported that Agito finally managed to add BlackBerry suppoprt, expanding beyond the 40 or so Nokia Symbian and Windows Mobile devices it had already been supporting.
DiVitas, on the other hand had been quiet for awhile on the BlackBerry front, limited to Windows Mobile and Nokia E series and N series phones.
Today DiVitas announced a huge expansion of the mobile platforms it supports. It has developed a native client and a web-based client that extends its FMC technology to the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android operating systems.
Check out this PDF data sheet on the new Divitas offerings. You’ll see snapshots of what DiVitas’ FMC client looks like on each mobile platform.]]>