November 25, 2014

34 Weeks of OHA: 19

So, I’m doing a fracking fantastic job of the alphabetical order thing. In answer to your questions, yes, I did attend grade 3. What’s more, I made use of the power of modern technology to alphabetize the list of OHA members, and I keep the list in a safe place and go back to it once a week to figure out what the next article is. I’m going to blame the fact that I screwed up the order, not once but twice, on the drugs and the terrible war memories. This week I’m doing NMS Communications, which should have been done, like, three weeks ago, or something. I’m catching up. Please bear with me for the future, and I’ll try not to disapoint you again.


Oh, wait, now I see what the problem is. NMS isn’t listed on the OHA site anymore. Google must’ve fired ‘em or something. In their place now is LiveWire Mobile, which should have been even further back in the alphabetical list. How the hell is an alphabetical-order-OHA-member-profile-writer supposed to keep track of this crap?


Company Name:
NMS Communications, or maybe LiveWire Mobile

How the OHA site classifies them: Software Company and Software Company

What the OHA site says about them: The Nuance Communication’s blurb is lost to time. It ain’t showing in the Wayback Machine. The LiveWire Blurb reads: LiveWire Mobile is a global provider of managed personalization services for mobile operators. These services allow subscribers to create their own mobile identity and to define their own mobile experience.

What they do: “NMS Communications, a division of NMS Communications Corp., is a leading provider of communications platforms that make it possible for our customers to rapidly develop and deploy value-added services on mobile and converged networks.” They offer a number of hardware and software solutions to enable mobile and VOIP services. Servers, gateways, IP video, ringback tones. Boring stuff.

LiveWire Mobile is a subsidiary of NMS (which explains the OHA membership mixup), and seems to be where all the exciting stuff happens. I mean, just check out their page, which features an image of a young girl attempting to thief a mobile phone by hiding it in her knitted hat. You can tell she’s cool as hell just by the symmetrical sheen of her pearly white teeth, and ’cause she describes herself as a “hip chic” (sic).

LiveWire offers personalization services and all the accouterments to monetize it. Basically the concept is to customize a subscribers mobile services to their tastes and needs, allow them to make their mobile experience as much their own as possible, and then tie it together with a mobile storefront, billing, and marketing pieces so as to get as much money out of the subscriber as possible.

A major portion of this is customized ringback. You know the sound you hear when you’re calling someone and it’s letting you know that it’s ringing on the other end? Well imagine if you’re calling your buddy and he’s replaced that sound with a snippet of a Nickelback tune. And you thought MP3 ringtones were lame. Imagine, further, if you’re calling a business and they hit you with a promotion right off the bat; you’re not even on hold yet and already they’re marketing to you.

What they bring to OHA and Android:The major thing that NMS/LiveMobile brings to the table is that they offer a package of services to the Mobile Operators, and not to the subscribers directly. As an operator, what you get from LiveWire is your own customized personalization and monetization system, that you then market as services for your customers.
It’s not hard to see the value in this for the OHA. If I’m a Mobile Operator looking to offer Android handsets, the option of getting a ready-to-go personlization system, fully integrated with the OS, as an extra for my customers is hard to resist. The possibilities here are endless.

However, I don’t think the personalization bit is where the real action is. Rather, I think there’s something else NMS has that Google wants. Why do I think that? And what is NMS / LiveWire’s real contribution to the OHA? For the answer, let’s turn to Joel Hughes, NMS’ General Manager of Mobile Applications:

“NMS Communications is pleased to add our industry-leading IMS framework to the Open Handset Alliance initiative. I believe this Alliance will unlock unprecedented innovation in mobile operating systems benefiting operators, consumers and suppliers alike.”

IMS, eh. What’s this IMS, you ask? The IP Multimedia Subsystem. It’s a standard for bringing multimedia to mobile handsets. It’s designed to bring your handset, PC, TV, whatever together across multiple network types, and deliver rich multimedia apps. It’s a 3rd Generation Partnership Project standard, and is probably the direction the entire industry is heading.
Frankly, I don’t have the time or the inclination to decipher much of the Wikipedia page describing IMS, but what’s clear is that this is the next killer app for mobile handsets.

And NMS has their IMS ducks in a row. A couple of years ago they acquired Openera Technologies, an IMS app developer. And, guess who was the CEO of Openera before the acquisition? Good ole Joel Hughes, the quote-monger above who is also listed as the President on LiveWire Mobile’s executive page.

I think LiveWire’s personalization services are going to be taken to the next level with IMS integration. I can’t even begin to speculate where this one is going – video advertising delivered to your phone in place of a Ringback tone? Hopefully not. Video voicemail messages? Nice. The option to stream home media information to your phone as a pre-built service offered by the mobile operator rather than something you have to build and configure yourself? Now we’re talking.

It seems to me that NMS / LiveWire is one of the most interesting additions to the OHA. There are a number of OHA members that are, really, pretty unexciting, no matter how hard I try to dress them up in these weekly gigs. And then there are those smaller, lesser-known companies that are bringing something really cool to the table. Between Audience and their Neuromorphic voice suppression tech, LivingImage and their “editless technology” , Nuance’s voice recognition, and the magical mystery that is Noser’s Symphonie, the OHA is shaping up to be a pretty cutting edge group of companies (and we haven’t even covered PacketVideo or The Astonishing Tribe yet.)

Android is getting more exciting every week.

There are 34 founding members of the Open Handset Alliance and we’re covering them all. Read more profiles here!