Feeds

Wi-Fi Palm finds its voice

Nice niche

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

The Register's Wireless LAN Channel

The laptop has played a significant part in the explosion of interest in Wi-Fi hotspots, writes Rob Bamforth, of Bloor Research. Busy executives can squeeze a few extra cycles of connected productivity as they sit around airports and hotel lobbies or stop for a coffee break between meetings. That's the plan - right?

Well, maybe. But there's a wider untapped audience who might need high bandwidth mobile connectivity. Some see this as a catalyst for increasing the number of laptop sales. Yes, but to a point. Laptops still require you to sit down, and until future concepts become reality they'll have to be booted up and shut down like any PC. Great if you're nomadic and have time and need to set up camp, but not so easy for an ad hoc stand'n'surf.

That's something you might want to do in a wireless workplace as well as a public hotspot.

Especially if you add voice to wireless data - voice over Wi-Fi.

Palm has recently announced an agreement with VLI, who will provide their Gphone voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) application for the Palm personal digital assistant (PDA). This will allow users of Palm's Wi-Fi enabled Tungsten C to make high quality voice communications over a wireless data network.

Gphone for Palm is scheduled to be available in June. VLI's software is compliant with session initiation protocol (SIP). This means that Gphone users can connect to online directory services and call regular phones over the switched public telephone network, in addition to SIP compatible IP devices, like personal computers and Internet phones.

VoIP has grown pretty fast. From a standing start five years ago, there are now over 3.5 million VoIP phones in the US. VoIP over Wi-Fi makes the proposition more interesting.

But wait. Surely VoIP in wireless hotspots is a jump back in time to the ill-fated Rabbit mobile telecoms system once deployed in the UK? And, er, what about GSM mobile phones?

VoIP in a public hotspot is unlikely to be the killer app for PDAs. But there are many vertical market applications where a laptop is too cumbersome or creates a barrier between professional and client - say between a doctor and a patient, and a smartphone just isn't smart enough. To add a free voice channel to a network of wireless data devices around a factory, hospital or shop could be quite compelling. Not having to wield a separate phone might free a hand too.

Fast wireless networks introduces another idea. Remote speech recognition. Mobile telephony may be entering it's third generation, but this is more Next Generation - the Star Trek model "computer, patch me through to someone in engineering, and download me a copy of the warp core schematics."

Not today, but maybe very soon - one company already supplies a wireless VoIP speech recognition application for hospitals.

In the meantime when you loiter in range of a public hotspot, and quickly browse data on your handheld device, maybe you could call the office without bringing another device to hand? Especially if there's already a coffee in that hand. © IT-Analysis.com

Related stories

Palm signs Wi-Fi security, access, VoIP deals
GSM SIMplicity for WLAN sign-on
Vodafone asks for wireless data guinea-pigs
Britannia to issue WiFi PDAs to cabin crew
Leave your Cisco WiFi mobile phone at the door

The Register's Wireless LAN Channel

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
Turnbull gave NBN Co NO RULES to plan blackspot upgrades
NBN Co faces huge future Telstra bills and reduces fibre footprint
NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers
Heading off at the pass operation given same priority as blackspot fixing
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.