Mobile VoIP Services — The Ergonomics of Making a Call Counts…

Luca Filigheddu, CEO of Abbeynet, has put up a guest post on IPCovergence.TV: Mobile VoIP Services – Conusmers Seek Usability and Real Cost Savings. His whole thesis is summed up by the statement:

…. it’s very difficult for me to see another major disruption coming in the short term to impact mobile communications. I’m referring to changing the way people use their mobile phone to communicate. In a nutshell, people are used to performing two simple actions: dial a number on their mobile phone’s keypad and click the green button.

Alternatively, they look for a contact in their address book and, again, they press the green button. How can anyone be so brave as to try to convince customers that they have to change their habits and offer them a different way to do this?

This is what I like about Truphone on the Nokia N95 (aside from the call quality itself); you simply look up a contact in your address book, select which phone number, press the green button and my connection to the contact is completed over a VoIP service. Of course the one drawback is that I can only do this currently from a WiFi connection but I have had non-technical people use Truphone this way.

iSkoot is almost there. On the Skypephone simply look up a Skype contact, press the green button and a call is started (even when calling a Skype contact). Using iSkoot on my Blackberry is just as easy for reaching Skype and SkypeOut contacts in your Skype contact list – select the contact, press the green button and the call is completed. The secret here is that, even though there is a “call back” in the iSkoot algorithm, you do not have to answer the call back … the connection is handled automatically. One improvement for iSkoot would be to access my Blackberry address book and be able to call any number directly from the Blackberry address book. The advantage of iSkoot is that I can effectively make the call from any location with GSM wireless voice and data access for the cost of a “local” wireless call when I am in my “Home” territory. Hopefully, multi-country SIM cards, such as Truphone’s recently acquired Sim4Travel or Cubic Telecom’s MaxRoam services will resolve the roaming charges issue in the near future. To return to Luca’s post:

The promise behind mobile VoIP is surely challenging. There are many innovations and valuable services brought by different players like Rebtel, Truphone, Mobivox or Jajah, just to name a few, but I don’t believe consumers will embrace every new functionality they make available to users.

Bottom line: as Luca so eloquently points out, users are familiar with the legacy process for placing a call; changing behavior patterns — such as required by call back services such as Jajah, Rebtel or even Mobivox will take second priority in broad user adoption. Mobile VoIP calling does not need to be a “disruptive innovation” from the user perspective.

Tags: Luca Filigheddu, Abbeynet, IPConvergence.TV, Mobile VoIP, Truphone, Skype, iSkoot, SIM4Travel, MaxRoam, Cubic Telecom, Jajah, Mobivox, Rebtel, Skypephone, Nokia N95, Blackberry

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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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