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8/29/2003
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Spectel Takes Web Conferencing Mobile

Telecom-services equipment provider predicts mobile conferencing will catch on with enterprise customers.

Spectel Inc., best known for providing Web-conferencing capabilities to telecommunications-service providers, next week takes its first steps into the mobile market. The vendor's new application, MobileConneXion, will let users launch and participate in Web conferences from mobile phones, PDA's, and wirelessly connected notebook computers.

By tapping technologies such as instant messaging, short-message services, and speech recognition, MobileConneXion will make it possible for mobile users to invite other collaboration participants, deliver or receive automatic notifications of meeting times, and--for mobile phone users--use voice commands to offset the lack of a keyboard. While in conferences, users will be able to view or share Windows applications and documents just as they do now in desktop-based conferencing.

The technology is a response to the needs of Spectel's service-provider customers, who are looking for ways to slow customer churn of up to 34% a year while also beefing up their revenue-per-customer, says Colm Saunders, general manager of Spectel's U.S. operations and the company's chief marketing officer. "Mobile operators are always looking for new applications and new revenue streams," Saunders says. But service providers will have to pay handsomely for those benefits: the average cost of a MobileConneXion deployment for a mobile-service provider figures to be between $750,000 and $1 million.

Spectel isn't just looking to solve its customers' problems: It's also looking to expand its reach in a burgeoning market. Wainhouse Research predicts that revenue from conferencing services will grow to $4.3 billion by 2006, so getting a piece of the mobile-conferencing business with customers like AT&T and MCI could prove significant. But Spectel is hoping mobile conferencing will catch on with enterprises, too. Saunders says corporate customers account for 30% of the company's current revenue.

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