Push-2-Talk (P2T) mobile technology firm Mobile Tornado is to create 30 new jobs for software engineers across three locations in Ireland. The company plans to locate an international headquarters in Dublin’s Digital Hub, followed by two R&D centres, one in Dublin and one in Waterford.
The new software company came into being after its investors bought out an Israeli firm and recently raised €10m in funding. The company is aiming to be one of the first companies in the world to deploy a P2T application later this year in Asia.
Private investors in the new Irish software company include the multi-millionaire founder of Freeserve, Planet Online and Sports Internet, Peter Wilkinson and the company will be chaired by the former head of new media at Sky, John Swingewood.
P2T technology allows users to connect directly to other mobile phone users by simply pressing a button on their phone. It is akin to a walkie-talkie, but without the boundaries. There is no need to dial a number. Users can be make calls to both individuals and talk groups with just a push of a key. It is unique since it uses existing infrastructure to deliver a new user experience.
“Push-2-talk is likely to be the biggest development to hit the wireless industry in recent years,” said Mark Horne, CEO of Mobile Tornado. “It further expands the utility of the mobile phone and opens up a new channel of communication.
“It benefits the value-conscious consumer as much as the corporate user. Mobile Operators are interested in the technology as it will boost average revenue per user,” Horne said.
According to the Yankee Group, P2T revenue will reach €1.6bn per year by 2008 in Western Europe. It predicts healthy growth in adoption and revenue in 2005 and 2006 and believes that consumers will overtake business users as the most significant customer group.
“Professional environments that depend heavily on group communication such as construction sites, medical teams, dispatchers, police and military personnel, stand to benefit hugely from this technology,” Horne added.
The concept is gaining widespread popularity in the US and today some 20 operators worldwide are offering services. The service is being championed in the US by Verizon, Sprint and Nextel. Nextel, in particular, has made significant strides in selling push-to-talk services to blue-collar enterprise sectors such as construction.
Orange recently became the first European operator to announce the launch of push-to-talk services, with the launch of its Talk Now service. Orange’s service is the first such service to be launched on a GSM service through the Handspring Treo 600 and the Windows-based SPV smart phone. Unlike push-to-talk services in the US which are being snapped up by messengers, delivery employees and other mobile workers, Orange’s Talk Now service will be targeted initially at large enterprises with sophisticated services such as the ability to manage group lists and to set up and record group calls.
However, according to Ovum analyst John Delaney, Orange’s take on push-to-talk focusing on premium corporate services instead of appealing to the cost concerns of mobile users may not live up to the hype generated on the other side of the Atlantic.
By John Kennedy