Mobix has launched a mobile conference call service that allows mobile users to arrange conference calls on demand for up to 10 people. The service, called 2buzz, is available now, and Mobile Europe had a go.
Users can either send a text to the service listing the numbers they want to conference with (each number separated by a space), or can download the application if they have a smartphone.
Mobile Europe had a go at the smartphone version. First, we sent a text from a Palm OS device to 07797898689. We received a text back that had a link to a WAP site in it which we clicked on. Once we connected via GPRS the site informed us the application was suitable and offered a Palm OS compatible application for download. We accepted and the app, very light, installed itself within the phones application folder.
A tap on the 2buzz icon and we were asked if we wanted to create a new group. Tap , and up automatically comes our contacts list each name with a tick box next to the name. Tap, tap, tap we had three people selected for a conference call. Application then sends each of those people a message asking them to dial in to a conference call, as it does to the originator of the conference.
So, full of hope, we called in, only to be left alone as none of the requested conferees phoned in. Oops! Only partial success then, but nothing to do with the applications, probably more the inclination of Mobile Europes selected participants to take part!
So, a few conclusions based on this very limited trial. One, the downloading of the app and useability couldn't be easier. Two, until such applications are allied with presence applications then it seems arranging a conference will not be quite as ad hoc as Mobix would like to make out.
But if you and a couple of colleagues wanted to arrange a conference at reasonably short notice, and at least one of you is out and about, it would be a quick and efficient way of doing so.
As for cost, normal text, GPRS and call charges apply. A good effort, Mobix, and one operators will be keeping a close eye one, we imagine.
Mobix itself says there is pent-up demand for a quick and easy conference services.
In a survey of mobile workers, carried out on behalf of Mobix by research firm Vanson Bourne in November 2004, 88% of respondents stated that they needed to communicate with two or more colleagues at the same time whilst on the move at least once a week, and more than half (59 percent) said they would take advantage of a quick and easy conference call service.