Femtocells know you're home again - but so what?
Hi honey, I'm... curiously disenchanted
Intrinsyc has been demonstrating a handset app that changes the user's interface when they get home, though no one is mentioning the most obvious application.
Intrinsyc demonstrated its application, UX-Zone, along with Airvane, ip.access and Ubiquisys to prove cross-manufacturer compatibility. The app runs on Windows Phone or Android devices and can detect if a femtocell is being used, changing the interface when it is. Which is all very pretty, but only useful if operators start giving discounts on femtocell-routed traffic: something they've been remarkably reluctant to do.
Changing the interface dependent on location and/or time is nothing new. Companies such as Surf Kitchen have been creating time-and-location specific interfaces for years, but neither operators nor customers have shown any great interest in the idea.
The only popular dynamic interfaces are those that show when cheaper calls are available: O2's Home Zone product was revolutionary when it was launched in Germany, a small icon (a house) popped onto the screen when the user was near their own home, and calls immediately became half price. At the time such functionality required lengthy negotiations with Nokia, but users loved it.
These days that would be technically trivial, and the use of a femtocell provides a legitimate reason for cheaper services, but the companies involved in UX-Zone won't even admit that indication of cheaper calls and data is the obvious application. Such an idea would risk upsetting the network operators who see no reason to discount services just because they're being carried on the customer's infrastructure.
For the moment punters will pay twice - once to the network operator, and again to their broadband provider - just to get coverage, and operators have no reason to deny them that opportunity, but perhaps one day that will change and then we'll want an application that tells us when we've arrived home. ®
The obvious interim solution.......
The obvious interim solutions is to buy wifi capable handsets and use VOIP when on your home network......
I can VOIP anywhere in the world via my mobile from home- for less than the best local rate package my mobile phone service supplier can offer me.......
Why the hell should I pay EUR100 for a femtocell, and then pay to use it too, twice????? I mean- its a unique business model- if you allow me to give you money, I'll pay someone else to enable me to give you money.........
Re: Been thinking of this for a long time....
It's called UMA. When at home it routes calls over VoIP over WiFi, and when out of range of your WiFi it uses cell phone newtork. Orange market it as Unik phone, not sure how many of the other operators offer it.
The one downside is you need an UMA capable phone, and there aren't that many around.
"the most obvious application"
Point taken about cheaper calls and all that, but I for one would love a phone that blocks calls from the girlfriend while I'm at home with the wife.
(cowardly note to Moderatrix: just kidding)