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Ericsson, Motorola, and Nokia today launched Wireless Village, an initiative designed to tie the protocols of chat and instant-messaging platforms under a single umbrella.
Imagine a director of sales being able to send his entire field-sales team important messages regardless of the handheld wireless devices they use. He could let them know an important account has just been acquired or the number of widgets they need to sell by day's end to make their goal, all on the fly, and assured those messages had been received.
Wireless Village is a Mobile Internet Messaging and Presence initiative designed to promote the interoperability of the plethora of messaging platforms currently available. The idea of a wireless village, where messages can be sent back and forth between users, regardless of whether their carrier is Sprint PCS or Verizon Wireless, or if they're using AOL's Instant Messenger or Microsoft's Messenger service, might sound a bit far-fetched in the United States. But in Europe, it's cheaper for cell-phone users to send messages to colleagues and friends via cell phones and Web-based instant messaging sites than for them to pick up the cell phone and make the call, according to Peter Firstbrook, senior analyst at Meta Group.
Ericsson, Motorola, and Nokia are pushing to bring that level of communication efficiency to the United States, where at the moment it's cheaper to use a cell phone to make a call. The standards will incorporate user authentication, secure message transfer, and access control for secure transmission of data. The new specifications will apply to existing second-generation, GPRS and third-generation wireless network technologies, and will support multimedia content.
"It would look a lot more optimistic if there were more players involved in the initiative," Firstbrook says. "You have to be concerned about how proprietary these standards will be." For any standard to take off, all carriers and phone manufacturers have to be involved, he says.
The new instant-messaging specifications developed under the initiative will be based on short messaging services, Multimedia Messaging Services, Session Initiation Protocol, Wireless Application Protocol, and XML. They will leverage existing 2G, 2.5G, and emerging 3G networks. The specifications will be published by year's end.
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