Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Innovative mobile communication services

Innovation is coming to the mobile communications sector. Voice and SMS are not dead yet. This way, data revenues (other than SMS) will never make it past the 20% or so share of mobile service revenues ;-).

Virtual + real calling
Vodafone ('InsideOut') enables voice calling on and off Second Life. Telecom Italia's Second Life service is limited to on-net calling (between avatars). This functionality may spread, as Linden Lab is working on interoperability with IBM, in order to allow avatars to move into other virtual worlds.

Internet + mobile IM
Billed as micro-blogging service or as a Twitter look-alike, Jaiku is the newest Google annex. It extends into the mobile realm.

Email to SMS/IM
The latest Yahoo! Mail version added the possibility of sending messages to mobile phones (as an SMS) or to an IM service (Yahoo! or Live).

KPN launched olllo (with Heineken and MTV for advertising), a flirting service. It uses both SMS (for communication) and the callers' positions on the network (to find a victim) and obviously goes a little bit further than Sprint's 'friend finding' service, which uses GPS (so the pin-pointing is better, but it takes a GPS-enabled handset).

UPDATE (Oct. 11):
Of course I could have included SMS services from Google:
  • In September, it applied for a patent related to paying by SMS (Safaricom of Kenya apparently also has a payment system based on SMS, as does KPN-subsidiary Base).
  • Yesterday it launched Google SMS (queries by SMS for local info) in India.

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