Vapourware Product Releases
Sunday, February 15, 2004
WTAI - Wireless-telephony application interface.
phoneto: for mobiles - allows you to call a number from a libnk in a WAP page. For example: UP.SDK Developer's Guide: Initiating Voice Calls
So - we can get phoneto: functionality from a web browser on a PC, via a mobile by:
1) sending a phone-number to a mobile from a webpage - eg by wap push (or SMS? does WTAI suipport this?);
2) following the link from the msg received on the mobile.
Saturday, January 31, 2004
Time to catch up with mobile consumer solutions?
At a recent meeting, members of the bored were heard discussing catch-up entry products to the mobile market after the chair stumbled across an appropriate soultion to a consumer dilemma over the weekend:
txtbux.co.uk - online book prices to your mobile phone by SMS
Two immediate dromedaries were identified in the ensuing discussion:
1) Give me a clue: it was pointed out that many UK broadsheet newspaperfs have a teleophone clue line for their daily crossword. A solution that could be easily implemnented with or without co-operation of the publishers (assuming the availability of crack crossword solvers) would be an sms/txt line to request a clue for a particular crossword clue. For example, txt 0898 xxxxxxxx with a broadsheet and clue identifier to obtain by return txt a secondary clue (e.g. txt 0898 xxxxxxxx times 12A to obtian a secondary cryptic clue for 12 across on that day's times crossword. A second request to the same number from the same (mobile) phone would recieve a quick clue and a third request would recieve the answer. Being a preminum rate txt, the commercial benfitsare obvious.
2) What's playing now: one member of the board commented on the frustration caused by listening to pop radio stations that did not necessarily identify each song that had been played. Despite web publication of current playlists (for example Virgin Radio: what's just played there are still only limited opportunities to find out this info in a mobile situation. Song identification through Shazam is one way, but this requres subscription and is prone to uncertainty. A premium rate line tied to an rss feed of currently playing/played tunes offers arevenue stream through website provisions as well as mobile access opportunities through a premium rate sms #.
It was also pointed out that RSS feeds of "what's playing now" content from popular clubs might attract custom to premium rate SMS services from niche markets.
Not for redistribution
phoneto: enhances your intranet by supporting browser based call-placement.
phoneto: automatically places calls between your desktop phone and any other phone, anywhere.
phoneto: is the first step towards integrating your intranet with your internal phone system.
html supported mailto: hyperlink automatically launches an email client with:
a To address specified within the hyperlink
From details recovered from the user preferences file
phoneto: plugin extends web browser functionality to allow automatic call set up between the user’s preferred phone and a hyperlinked telephone number
phoneto: server provides the interface to your organisation’s internal telephone exchange
The phoneto: browser plugin provides:
an additional internal phone extension number preference
browser support for phoneto: hyperlinks
The phoneto: plugin handles hyperlinks of the form:
<a href="phoneto://441908652789">Tel: Tony (w)</a>
The user’s internal telephone number (say x55067) is retrieved from the preferences file a request made to the exchange of the form:
The phoneto: server provides an interface to your company’s internal telephone exchange so that it supports phoneto: requests made to it.
The phoneto: server requires a modem connection to its own internal phone extension.
phoneto: requests instruct the server to place a call to the required number. When the call is connected, a brief ‘hold the line’ message is played as the server redirects the call to your telephone extension.
phoneto: provides a way of integrating browser based services with call placement functionality.
phoneto: presents the first step in integrating internal telephony services with intranet facilities.
phoneto: Home User
The phoneto: Home User plugin adds the phoneto: command to your browser’s functionality and simply autodials the requested number. This service is appropriate for users who have a single telephone line that is used for either speech or internet connections.
The phoneto.cgi script provides a single point of access to phoneto: services. The phoneto.cgi is intended as an intermediate provider of phoneto: services prior to full integration of phoneto: services within a browser using the phoneto: command.
The phoneto.cgi works in one of two modes: autodial and redirect.
autodial: clicking on the hyperlinked command phoneto.cgi?ddddddd instructs the modem connected to the script server to dial the specified number; this correpsonds to the simple Home User service;
redirect: clicking on the hyperlinked command phoneto.cgi?dddddddRdddd instructs the modem connected to the script server to dial the initially specified number and then redirect the call, once completed, to the second number.
If NOT call_in_progress
Dial TO number
Redirect_to REDIRECT number
User clicks on cgi hyperlink
Script server dials TO number
User2 at number dialled picks up
(Script server plays 'hold the line' message)
Script server redirects call to REDIRECT number
Script server clears its call.
For many exchanges used in corporate ennvironments, redirection is providely simply by keying a single redirection command (e.g. 'R') followed by the number to which the call is to be redirected.
The simplicity of the phoneto.cgi lies in the fact that the script server can be connected to the company internal telephone network by an off-the-shelf modem, as long as the modem can be used to generate dialling tones once a call has been connected.
Not for redistribution
Digital television offers many opportunities for interactive advertising and the integration of web based services with programme delivery.
OnScreen Activator addresses several issues that must be borne in mind when discussing the integration of web and digital TV services:
Delivery of the web hyperlink;
On-screen representation of the web hyperlink;
Selection of the web hyperlink.
On-Screen Activator supplements the functionality of digital set-top boxes by allowing regions of digital TV images to be dynamically mapped onto valid web hyperlinks on the basis of image content.
Embedding vs. Overlaying
In order to distinguish between various components of the image that appears on the digital TV screen, we define:
Embedded images or text to be images (or text) that are a part of the filmed event; for example, advertising hoardings at the edge of sports fields carry text messages that are part of the filmed environment;
Overlaid images or text appear ‘on top of’ embedded programme footage; for example, film credits or channel logos.
Logos, Icons and Text
For the purposes of this document, we shall distinguish between:
Logos - distinctive images that represent companies or brands
Icons - distinctive images that provide shortcuts to computer files (e.g. webpages and applications)
In addition, we shall find it convenient to consider the various ways in which text may be presented:
Implicit text is text that is delivered ‘as text’ in the form of ASCII characters
Explicit text is text delivered as an image - although explicitly text in its on-screen appearance, implicitly it is an (overlaid) image
Web addresses are distinctive text strings that detail the location of a particular webpage or email address
Although on-screen text is frequently overlaid on top of screen images, it is still often presented in explicit form as an image.
Logos are embedded in many televisual images: for example, sports events provide advertising hoardings that carry distinctive brand logos and on-pitch adverts; many film releases provide an advertising channel through the use of product placement.
As a way of selecting between interactive television services, overlaid, numbered options may be used as trivial icons. Selection of options may be as simple as using special, numbered menu keys on a remote control handset. This sort of model is the most easily delivered.
Logos as icons
Many brands and companies use distinctive logos to identify themselves in the marketplace. Logos are typically recognisable, small, distinct and unique. Overlaid logos are already evident on analogue TV (e.g. in the form of TV station logos).
Logos provide an ideal image for use as icons that designate hyperlinks to appropriate websites. Logos are well suited for deployment as icons that lead to web homepages for companies and brands.
Icons offer the gateway to enhanced TV services. They readily identify links to web pages and telephone callback facilities.
Typically, web navigation icons are overlaid on televisual images and are separate from those images. Web addresses are increasingly overlaid on TV adverts.
In contrast to the simple selection mechanisms associated with numbered icons, selecting arbitrary icons typically requires positioning a cursor over the icon and then selecting that item. Navigation may be supported through the use of cursor keys and a select button on a remote control handset.
On-Screen Activator provides a way of converting real-time digital TV images to web navigation maps. On-Screen Activator provides:
Html separates the intended target of a hyperlink from the text or image that identifies the hyperlink through the construct:
< a href="http://www.myaddress.com">My Company Name</a>
That is, there is no necessary relation between the text identifying the link ("My Company Name") and the address specified by it ("http://www.myaddress.com").
Using optical character recognition (OCR) technology, On-Screen Activator:
identifies appropriate parts of the screen image as explicit text describing a web address
extracts the textual address string
uses the extracted string as the target of the hyperlink
maps the portion of the screen containing the web address to the extracted hyperlink target
Clicking on that portion of the screen image containing a web address will pop up a browser pointing to the appropriate location.
Web-Address2hyperlink conversion works for both embedded and overlaid logos.
Web navigation maps provided by html require-
a static image map
identification of predefined regions of the image
resolution of map regions to hyperlinks
As with textual hyperlinks, the image is decoupled from hyperlinked regions - hyperlink resolution depends on region definition, not image content.
The Logo2Icon converter:
partitions TV images into a coarse grid
uses sophisticated pattern matching algorithms (Logo-ID) to identify logos within grid squares
resolves logos to appropriate web addresses
Selection of gridsquares containing activated logos (i.e. icons) pops up a web browser window pointing to the appropriate website.
Logo2Icon conversion works for both embedded and overlaid logos.
Logo2Icon Business Model
The Logo2Icon process requires the advertiser to pay for the Logo-ID capability, as well as screentime. Registered logos and associated web addresses are downloaded to set top boxes when required. An additional level of control then enables or disables logo recognition for particular channels, programmes, times etc.
Logo-ID may be provided in a variety of service models:
programme specific availability
On-Screen Activator facilitates the provision of enhanced-TV services within pre-enhanced TV programming. On-Screen Activator automatically enhances registered logos to the status of valid, icon identified hyperlinks.
On-Screen Activator may also be used to automatically convert scanned images to web pages supporting hyperlinked text strings and icons.
On-Screen Activator presents an alternative way of providing enhanced-TV services through its unique use of image content in the derivation of web addresses.
Web-Address2Hyperlink converts text images to ASCII and hence valid web addresses
Logo2Icon resolves registered logos to valid web addresses and activates them as icons.