Ericsson has showcased a developing set of converged 3G and broadband services for carrier customers and other service providers, including SMS-based security monitoring, and mobile-to-PC video calling.
Anthony Petts, market development manager at Ericsson in Australia, said many service providers sought ways to benefit from increased broadband uptake and the drive to mobility. One way was to link mobile and fixed services, he said.
For example, Melbourne-based partner SureLabs had invented an IP-based security system for closed circuit TV that could send SMS and MMS to users about its status. That product was moving through the retail and PC channel, Petts said.
“If you want to watch it and have the system set up at home, or from home or office, you can do that over broadband,” he said. “SureLabs has multiple packages, from one to four to 10-person companies and upwards.”
SureLabs' Windows-based software could be loaded on to user laptops. Ericsson was contributing to the development of the MMS functionality, Petts said.
SureLabs was a member of Ericsson's MobilityWorld program, which had signed on 3000 partners here since the initiative's Australian launch four years ago.
Ericsson used MobilityWorld to build a global network of partners to work with and create applications making use of 3G mobility and high-speed internet in useful ways, Petts said.
“These are new to some of the markets but what we're talking about is potential here and now,” Petts said. “Ericsson can't develop all the applications and services itself.”
Many new applications aimed at taking advantage of 'digital home' trends, such as home automation, using technologies such as streaming media, he said.
Ericsson itself had released what it called a Video Interactive Gateway (VIG), currently available in Australia via Hutchison and 3 dealers, early this year.
“It provides mobile-to-PC and PC-to-mobile video telephony,” Petts said. “A mobile 3G user can make a telephone call to a PC user.”
He said the technology was vendor-neutral and could also be used wirelessly. Users simply needed a PC with NetMeetings or XP Messenger enabled. Both applications came with Windows, he said.
“I love it. I use it when I stay away. I call my wife and my daughter is very familiar with the service – it's very easy to use,” Petts said.
Ericsson's VIG had been used in multimedia hook-ups for the TV 'reality show' Big Brother, he added.
Ericsson had also launched home 'mobile base stations' that enabled mobile phones to select broadband, instead of more expensive mobile networks, to save users money and let them use their mobiles in the home, he said.
“This is like having your own home base station in your house, where your calls come from BT to the base station and then over broadband,” Petts said. “From an end-user's perspective, that should work out cheaper.”
The system, dubbed Mobile@Home, would also enable users to maintain a single phone number for all their telephony needs, making them more contactable no matter where they were, he said.
“[Also] multiple people can talk at the same time. They're not all competing for the home telephone,” Petts said.
Meanwhile, another Ericsson partner, Swedish developer TerraPlay, had recently released a multi-player gaming platform. It enabled players using different devices, such as Xbox, to compete against players using different consoles, mobile phones or PCs, he said.
The latter two examples were not yet available in Australia, Petts said.
All carriers were looking for ways to drive greater value from mobile and 3G services that would prove attractive to customers, he said. “There are lots of [upcoming] opportunities [for partners],” Petts said.