Voice SMS
Merging VoIP & Mobile to Create A Compelling Service
Brough Turner, SVP & CTO, NMS Communications
Why should I care?
• Voice short message service (SMS) is a
highly successful new service
• Leading solutions built on NMS technology
• Broad lessons for any new mobile service
3
What is Voice SMS?
• Similar to SMS text messages, except with
voice
– Sender records a short voice message
– Recipient gets a text alert: “You have a Voice
SMS from … ”
– Recipient clicks and hears the voice message
*0*
ERIC LEE
28/08/05
23:30
Hi, I Have sent U a
BUBBLE dial *0* to
hear it (FREE)
*0*
Source: Bubble Motion Pte Ltd
4
Not “Multi-Media Messaging”
• MMS a fully specified 3G service
– Includes voice messaging
• Ovum forecasts US$3.8B in 2005; $13.8B in 2010
– $2.9B to $9.5B picture mail (all kinds – MMS & otherwise)
– $0.8B to $3.8B video messages
– $94M to $496M audio messages
• But MMS slow to take off
– Awaiting ubiquitous handset support and interoperability
• MMS-based “Voice SMS” also starting slowly
– Example: Sprint’s “Voice SMS” in US – only MMS
handsets can send messages, few deployed, few
messages sent
5
Voice SMS Unique Advantages
• Over text messages
– Easier to use
– Voice conveys more emotion
– Don’t have to be literate
• Versus Push-to-Talk
– Works when recipient is unavailable
– Good when you just want a message, not live conversation
• Compared with voice mail
– Easier, more immediate; not a live conversation
• Compared with MMS
– Works with any handset, any network (2G, 2.5G, 3G)
6
Subscriber Benefits
• New, highly personal way to communicate
• Costs less than a voice call
• Easy to use
– Overcomes text usability issues
– Available in all languages
– Does not require literacy
• Works with current handset
• Send messages to any handset
7
Operator Benefits
• No handset software — target entire subscriber
base
• Application overlay — no changes to existing
infrastructure, works on 2G, 2.5G, and 3G
• No capital investment; extremely rapid deployment
• Little customer education
• Popular — rapidly adopted
• Commands 50 to 100 percent premium over SMS
• Proven money maker
8
New Voice SMS Revenues
• Advertising
• Voice Reply to Text
• Jokes
• Voice Blogs
• Premium content:
• Dating
– Celebrity messages
– Audio clips
• Ask an expert
• Voice alerts:
– Sports
– News
– Weather
9
• Voice information
services
• Ringtones
– Ringback tones
• Contests
• International Voice SMS
Voice SMS History
• Ideas date back at least a decade
• Jan. 2005: Digi (Malaysia) launches
“BubbleTalk” by Bubble Motion
• Sept. 2005: GrameenPhone (Bangladesh)
launches “Voice SMS” by Kirusa
• Widely adopted today:
– Over a dozen vendors with announced platforms
– 15+ networks offer Voice SMS service
– >300 million mobile subs have access
10
Digi (Malaysia) Case Study
• GSM network with 5.6 M subscribers (9/2006)
• Bubble Talk launched late January 2005
– Two month promotion: subscribers offered 10 free
messages per day
– 50 percent premium over text messages
• Greater than 35% penetration in six months
• Over 200,000 messages per day by 8/2005
• All other operators in Malaysia forced to react
within first year
11
• #1 mobile operator in Bangladesh
– 5 M subscribers (9/05) to 10 M subs (11/06)
• Voice SMS launched September 2005
– Based on Kirusa platform
– Supported with newspaper & TV advertising
– Priced 25%-66% over text messages
• Rapid adoption
– 6% first week; 16% first month
– Over 40% (3.6 million users) by August 2006
12
How does it work?
• Dial short code & then normal mobile number
– Typical handsets support prefixing numbers in
your contacts directory
• Prefix causes call to be routed to IVR system
• IVR receives call with caller & called numbers
– Beep, record message (& optionally other options)
– Bill caller
– Send SMS to called party saying
“You have a Voice SMS from <calling party>.
Press green “send” key to hear your message.
<IVR system phone number embedded here>
”
13
Receiving a Voice SMS
• Called party receives text message
• Presses green or “send” key
• Phone dials IVR system
• IVR system sees caller ID, looks up
messages for that party
• IVR plays message(s) immediately
– No prompts or dialog required
• At end, offer options
– “To listen again press one, to reply press two,
otherwise just hang up”
14
Billing System Issues
• One Voice SMS needs two voice calls!
• Price point needs to be more than text SMS
but less than a voice call
– “Cost” not an issue except during busy hour
– Focus is maximizing revenue!
• All billing systems support special billing
numbers (premium rate and free numbers)
– IVR assigned short code or other special number
15
Not Restricted to Operators
• Mobile network integration
– Facilitates recruiting and enrolling subscribers
– Dial codes facilitate sending messages
• Not essential
– Only need PSTN voice and SMS connectivity
• US example: Pinger
– PSTN & SMS connectivity purchased wholesale
– Speech technology overcomes lack of dial codes
• Import friends names/numbers to Pinger
• Dial Pinger
• Speak name of person to receive Voice SMS
16
Voice SMS Integration
Voice SMS
Platform
Mobile Network
Event based billing
prepaid
Billing & Mediation
postpaid
Billing
Administrator
Admin
SMSC
MMSC
Operator
OA&M
MSC
Firewall
Message
Processing
Help Desk
Voice
Platform
Subscriber
Source: Kirusa Inc.
17
Voice SMS Platform
IP Connectivity
Content Server
Application Server
PSTN Alternative
HTTP
VoiceXML
Vision
VoiceXML Server
Vision
Signaling Server
MRCP, RTP
SMS
Voice
SMSC
MSC
SS7
Mobile
Network
Speech Resource Servers
18
Any Handset, Any Network
• A prime application success model
– Worth consideration by any application developer
• Don’t need critical mass for service to take off
– No wait for “network effects”
• Other services with comparable
characteristics:
– Voice mail — takes messages from any caller
– Ringback — ringback tones heard by all callers
19
Conclusions
• Winning Applications
– Ideal: work with any handset, any network
– If not: provide bridge – partial functionality with
any handset
• NMS Vision VoiceXML Server
– Complete deployment platform for Voice and
Video applications (VoIP or PSTN)
– Carrier grade Signaling Services
(SIP, SS7, ISUP, ISDN)
– VoiceXML extension APIs for
outbound dialing, authorization,
and SMS voice messaging
20
Questions?
Brough Turner
rbt @ nmss.com
Blog: http://blogs/nmss.com/communications/
PDF version to be posted today
Recorded version to be posted tomorrow
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Voice SMS