Octave Receives F&S' 2002 Conferencing Technology of the Year Award
Date Published: 19 Apr 2002

The Frost & Sullivan 2001 Technology of the Year is Octave Communications Improv. Octave Communications introduced a new mobility application called Improv in 2002. This product enables wireless carriers and service providers to offer enterprises and consumers a host of new subscription services for instant group communications.
Frost & Sullivan believes that the wireless sector can create great opportunity for conferencing vendors. Wireless device users have become accustomed to a set of features (such as voice mail, voice activated dialing, browsing capabilities, caller ID and missed calls), which they cannot obtain from their wired phone without paying for additional service. This is driving consumers to use their wireless phones much more frequently than their wired ones. The conferencing feature is very likely to increase consumer addiction to their wireless phones. This in and of itself will be attractive to wireless carriers since churn continues to be a challenge, and first-to-market with this feature can enable them to gain some traction on keeping customers.
Adding conferencing to the mix will not only add to the convenience for consumers in using their wireless phones over wired ones. It will also enable wireless service providers to gain more traffic, and eventually more upgrades to monthly minute plans. Wireless carriers continue to seek ways to increase airtime, and adding conferencing capabilities to the above set of features can do just that if priced optimally. If provided for free, it will encourage consumers to move to the next level of minutes (i.e., move from 300 minutes to 3,000 minutes) so they can conference in friends for social events. Each minute on the call can be multiplied by the number of people on the call, causing available minutes to disappear quickly, of course to the benefit of the wireless service provider.
Another factor about Improv that differentiates it from other conferencing applications is its speech interface, enabling users to begin conference calls using simple speech in addition to a Web browser or feature code access. We feel that this is an important capability in meeting mobile workers' needs. Wireless devices are too small for using a keyboard or writing instrument to begin a conference, and will deter consumers from regularly using the feature, even if it is available for free. The speech interface will make the activation of the conference call much easier, especially when they are on the road, when they become accustomed to talking to an automated device.
Being first-to-market with this technology will certainly be an advantage for Octave once penetration begins. When more wireless and wireline carriers join the bandwagon, Octave will have the experience of implementing this solution behind it, and will be able to more quickly bring new service providers on board.