Tag Archives: BroadBandWorldForum

InfoVision Awards : The Interview

Last post about Broadband World Forum Infovision Awards, we promise! As part of the awards process, Dial2Do CTO (Sean O Sullivan), did an interview with the Informa folks, and here it is.

Could you briefly describe what the product/service does?

The HandsFreeAssistant from Dial2Do is a phone service that targets drivers who would like to get more done, safely, while driving. From a consumer perspective, the service is simple: dial a local number, and speak to get things done.

Say “Text” to send a text message, “Email” to send an email, “listen to email” to hear your email, and so on. There are over forty services in Dial2Do, including twitter, reminders, google calendar, remember the milk, and more. Users love the fact that it lets them safely get more from their time in the car.

Behind the scenes of course, Dial2Do offers a voice platform that enables partners to rapidly voice-enable whatever they want – in effect to offer “voice as a service”. Our initial focus has been to partner with the manufacturers of Bluetooth / Handsfree hardware: Bluetooth headsets and car kits. They bundle the service directly with the hardware and offer the end user a fully “joined up” experience – out of the box.

To date, Dial2Do has announced partnerships with many of the world’s leading handsfree equipment brands, including Plantronics, Aliph/Jawbone, Jabra, EnusTech, and others. We’re also voice-enabling fantastic online services such as Evernote, enabling them to rapidly offer voice interaction to their 3M+ users. The platform is hosted, multilingual and extensible – so partners can choose the set of services they wish to offer, the branding and style they wish to use, and even the voice style and interface for user interactions.

What wider market trends do you hope to address with this product/service?

There are a few trends that are driving demand for the service.

  • Lots of people spending lots of time in the car: in many countries, including the US where we launched Dial2Do, there are a lot of people who commute regularly for 30-60 minutes per day, and would like to get more from their “driving time” than talk radio and phone calls.
  • Speech with everything: it’s becoming more common to see speech used as a core interface with many things, from iPod Nano’s to cars. People are more open to the idea of talking to your favourite web service now to get things done, whether it’s productivity stuff like email, calendars and reminders, or “fun” stuff like listening to twitter or your favourite news feeds as you drive.
  • Handsfree legislation: we’re seeing legislation roll out worldwide making it illegal to text or hold a phone while driving. As consumers go looking for handsfree solutions that enable them to comply with the new laws, they are looking for “value add. The HandsFreeAssistant from Dial2Do addresses a burgeoning consumer need to stay safely in touch with your favourite services while driving.
  • Everyone’s looking for value-add: in consumer electronics, such as in the Bluetooth headset and hands-free equipment market, many of the players are looking to engage in a deeper way with the end user. One of the great ways to do this is to offer compelling cloud-based services that “wrap around” the consumer electronics offering (think for example of how backup has become a kay value-add service for netbook and laptop providers). The HandsFreeAssistant gives Dial2Do partners a great own-brand way to create longer term engagement with the end user, who is often totally unknown to the manufacturer of these devices.

Why do you think your product/service was shortlisted by the judges?

One of the things that may have stuck out was our route to market. We’ve taken a voice service with a lot of functionality, and simplified it so that anyone can use it, and bundled it with consumer electronics from our headset and hands-free partners. It’s a genuine win-win for us, for the equipment partner and for the consumer, and is a little bit innovative in the market today.

In addition, perhaps they liked our roadmap of where we see things headed with voice: as you get more intelligence in both the phones and even the headsets. there is great potential to really orchestrate all the moving parts end to end to offer the end user a beautiful, Apple-like experience, beyond what they get today.

Finally, we’ve seen great feedback from users with the service to date, and we encouraged the judges to try it for themselves (there’s one month free trial when you register at http://www.dial2do.com). So who knows – maybe they tried it and liked it!

What major developments do you expect to witness in the broadband technology market over the five years?

The most obvious is the continued growth in mobile broadband, whether via dongles, “pucks” such as those announced by Clearwire recently in the US, or even via handsets-as-hotspots such as we’ve seen with Google and Android. Aside form that: bandwidth and increasingly, embedded broadband in everyday devices, including cars.

You can read all the nomination interviews here.

Advertisements

Kudos and Thanks : We won!

So – we won! Against formidable competition – the “SuperTankers of the Telecom World”  – we picked up the “Best New Service” award at the InfoVision Awards last night. And man, are we delighted! 🙂

An initial reaction – three things:

  1. We were honoured to have been nominated, and now are over the moon to have won. We really appreciate the fact that an industry panel judged us worthy. It means a lot to us, our customers and partners.
  2. The crew at Dial2Do have had a hectic year. We launched “for real” at CES in January. We quickly signed partners. We added features, billing, territories, languages. And more. So this award is (cliché alert) very much an acknowledgement of the team effort: massive Pats-on-Backs to all – “top job!”
  3. For anyone here at our Blog for the first time because you saw us at the awards and on the BBWF material, or heard about us on the innernet – welcome! We’re proud of the service – go to http://www.dial2do.com right now and try it out – for free – and let us know what you think! Follow us on twitter here or drop us a line.

The official release is here. The Eiffel Tower even put its sparkly dress on to congratulate us.

Wish Us Luck at InfoVision Awards Tonight!

Oui – c’est vrai! Dial2Do was nominated for a prestigious InfoVision Award at the BroadBand World Forum Conference that kicked off today in beautiful Paris. Well – tonight is awards ceremony night and Dial2Do will be at the event and hoping for the best. Of course, we’re already thrilled to be nominated in the Best New Service category – especially considering the other nominees in that category. And of course, since our nomination, we also announced the launch of Plantronics Savor M1100 with Vocalyst.

The awards take place on a boat – no less! Apparently hors d’oeuvres and a tipple (and much much more by the sounds of it) will be served while we hear the names of the lucky winners announced. A dirty job, but someone’s got to do it 🙂

Anyway – win or lose – the conference looks set to be a great event, and we’ll update here with any interesting news that catches our eye. We’re on not one, but two panels about developers, APIs and ecosystem on Thursday at the show, with Alan Quayle, and will be on the conference floor and at the sessions for the duration. For an example of Alan’s continued excellent work to motivate the telecom Industry – see this recent post from his blog.

Anyway – we’re here all week (longer – depending on the planned industrial action) so do drop a line if you fancy meeting up. Meanwhile: À tout à l’heure !

Broadband World Forum Panel

BWF

We were invited to be on a panel last week at the Broadband World Forum conference, which was held in Paris. I’ve never been at this conference before, and was pleasantly surprised. Very well attended, with plenty of “serious” players in attendance and some pretty interesting sessions, with lots of Q&A and also networking opportunities. Despite the “Broadband” title (which initially put me off) it was really choc-tastic with Telco players both mobile, fixed and converged. Lots of topics of interest and relevance to Dial2Do, including many sessions about Web 2.x and Mobile, and also various sessions on developers and developer communities.

Our panael was called “Stimulating Service Innovation through the Application Developer Community: Open Innovation“. Alan Quayle was chairing the session. Unlike some chairs or facilitators at things like these, Alan is “into” the topics he hosts, and so brings both knowledge, research and his own passion and opinions to bear on the topic. i think this makes for a richer and more engaging panel experience for audience and panel members, as Alan helps really drive the discussion and tease out the core issues. In our case, we ran for an hour and a half and could easily have gone on twice that length!!

At the core of the discussions were the following topics:

  • How should these new App Stores work?
  • What can the mobile industry learn from the TV industry wrt Web 2.x standards and widgets, and vice versa?
  • And of course, fragmentation of platforms, and the overshadowing presence of Apple and iPhone.

Alan has a good lowdown of the whole thing here.

A few thoughts, in no particular order, from the session:

  • It’s hard to underestimate how fundamentally Apple affected the mobile and wireless industry when they launched the iPhone. In every one of these conferences I attend, it typically takes 20 seconds before someone is asking telecom panellists or luminaries to explain how they’re going to “deal” with the Apple App Store, or the iPhone, or the iPhone OS. It has the whole industry spooked (in a good way, imho). It’s taken me a while to realise how profound a kick in the gut it was for Telecom Industry that a Computer/Internet player has really set the agenda and fundamentally shifted expectations for users, developers, and most of the ecosystem.
  • The operators are really struggling to balance competing pressures on them as they roll out their App Stores. Their bosses (the operator) wants revenue and hit apps. Developers want short time to market, loads of revenue share, and promotion in the store. Users want Apple-like simplicity, clear pricing and click-to-download. Guess what – it’s not possible! In Apple’s case, the store is not a revenue-earner, it’s an ecosystem driver that helps Apple sell iPods and iPhones. Operators don’t have an equivalent (maybe the nearest they have is the need to reduce churn and maintain subscriptions?). Anyway these stores look to me like they’re on a hiding to nothing. Everyone’s going to be just a “little bit” disappointed. And in to that disappointment gap will ride Apple, Google and to some extent Nokia if they make Ovi work.
  • Most of the operators have to battle significant internal issues in order to get any new innovation in this area (developer APIs, tools, App Stores) out the door. Among the key issues include how to support apps, and how to authorise them for the usage (quickly). Many would be wise to consider  some form of “wild west” – create a separate brand that runs on the network, and allow a “promiscuous” development of apps to be available on that brand, with zero or only developer-support available there. Use this separate entity or brand to bypass your own internal antibodies that prevent innovation.
  • And lastly – on a separate note; I attended many Web 2.0 meets Telco style presentations at the event. It’s time to stop explaining what Web 2.0 is and get with the programme. Facebook has 65M monthly mobile users now and is a threat to many ingrained services that Telcos think of as being “theirs”. There is a huge potential for operators to embrace and benefit from Web 20 and mobile web 2.0 trends. Right now though there’s very little evidence of understanding how they might tap the potential here. The Social Phone is being developed largely by the internet players.

Anyway – a very interesting conference overall – I’d recommend it to anyone trying to take an industry “temperature” without wanting to slog around MWC for three days 🙂