Chair: It's Stuart Henshall. Please welcome him.
Stuart: Thanks Lee. Yesterday, I was pretty excited when the first presenter of the day, Martin Geddes, said "Today we've got missed calls. Tomorrow, the phone will tell you why you should call back." I thought that was great. I've sat and listened, and I've listened today to a number of comments about messaging. I thought, "Hmmm, maybe I'm on the right track." I want to find out from you, today, whether or not I've got a really interesting solution that I can take on the right track.
I'm going to try to push Martin's solution a bit forward. I'm going to use Twitter, but Twitter is not really the only way we could handle this solution. If you search Twitter, you'll find out for "call me" that all sorts of people are using Twitter to talk, all the time. Everybody talks; it's natural on a social network. At the same time, they're also saying "Skype me" so what happens? They jump out of the Twitter network. They jump onto another network. They find another ID and they expose themselves in another way. There are a whole bunch of things wrong with that.
So, she says "call me, text me" but I'm not even sure who it's directed to. One thing that is different about Twitter in comparison to all the IM networks is that an @ message is similar to a ring. Everybody gets it. It's always delivered. Hmmm, timely delivery - if any of you have played with Twitter, you'll know that unless you've got some special notification app or otherwise, these @ messages might be picked up three days later by the person you're trying to communicate with.
We just saw a great demo from Tim. I think this is a really neat and important element. It says when we put calls in the flow, that's actually where we want them. There are a lot of advantages for that because the calls also become searchable. We still have this problem. DM or Skype user name, there are too many extra steps here to actually escalate this conversation. All this person just wants to do is have a quick conversation. It's a one-off event. We also know that Twitter can be public or private and some of these things should be private. It's great that they've got a notification system that actually accelerates things through DM and in some cases SMS messaging, which actually arrive on time and very quickly.
Here is another message. It looks like he's having a Skype call on Sunday. Isn't this something you do all the time on Twitter, you pile in on a conversation. Wouldn't it be nice if you could pile in on this Skype conversation? Think about it; Twitter provides a pretty neat sort of caller ID. It's my profile. I've chosen how to name it. I've chosen how to declare it and share it. I've also got some reputation elements to it, the number of followers, people I'm following, and how many tweets I've done. But it's also got this added advantage that says here is the context; this is what I want to talk about. This poor guy obviously failed to send his direct message correctly, but he was just learning. Let's fix it for him.
Let's talk about the next generation, Twitter talk. What I want to talk about is a potential consumer code, if you will, adding it to Twitter so we can talk. Where this is really important is for calls that are outside our current buddy list, for people that you want to rapidly escalate with. It will be increasingly important in relation to location-based communications. If you're following Twitter, you'll realize that soon every URL on every tweet has the potential to have a location-based location next to it.
The second thing you need to be worried about is control over interruptions, access; who has access to me and how are you actually going to get the notifications? The other thing we're all dealing with is this proliferation of channels and networks that we belong to.
In Pweet alpha which we launched in July 2008, we came up with a system that said let's dump the URL into the Twitter stream, and when somebody clicks on that URL, we'll be talking. We thought that was pretty sweet. You click on the URL, it launches in the browser, and gives you the opportunity as to whether or not you accept or decline. If you accept, you're talking. At the same time, because it's to a bridge, you can manage whichever channel you want to connect on, or even change to a different channel during the call.
But there were some real problems with it. The biggest single problem with it was the latency. I sent an @ message, somebody got it three days later. I never got the call back, and all sort of missed things. There is an expectation that it will actually happen quickly. Usually, when we hit the ringer, it happens almost immediately. The second problem was you had to go off Twitter to set up another URL to create the tweet. The third problem was we set up an API and said come on twitterverse; add Phweet buttons to all your apps. Despite trying to push that along, that didn't happen either.
Here is a simplified Phweet beta. What have we done - plus, Stuart Henshall, star. What is the context, what is the description, what do you want to talk about? That's it; that's all that's required. We eliminated the URL. We allowed somebody to write it in any client.
Here is an example. Geico "Call me" and at the same time, I can let my friends know I have a problem, crashed the car, and the rest. What do I expect? What happens? Geico gets a notification from Phweet with a URL including the profile and the context, notification to John Smith who says who is going to call from Geico and when. Geico makes the call connecting the parties, and the parties also have a shared URL available. It's a much more transparent transaction.
Here is another example. Guess what? No call tree. I've also made my inquiry public so I could even track the response rates the different companies provide me. Hmmm - Comcast, they're always a problem for me, but perhaps this didn't need a call. What happens? They send me a message back that says there was an outage in your area.
Okay, but it can always be private - "dePhweet", send a message to Mr. Blog, "Let's discuss if we should hire Tom or Steve as the CFO." Or, something more interesting, you're in India and you want to set up a conference call. All you have is SMS in your hand and you're one of the 100 million Airtel users that now have access to Twitter. For one rupee, you simply make this tweet, and a conference call is set up.
Or perhaps this one, more importantly, this is undirected. This is an ad. Phweet, here is my topic; this is what I want to sell. Remember, this is a location-based tweet coming. I proved it. In the original alpha, here is the example. Something for sale, and you can see it already works - approve, reject.
The solution, what we've done differently is all in the notifications. The signaling is outside the control, effectively, of the carrier. Phweet is managing the contextual notifications between the parties. There is no need to share numbers or visit the Phweet site to set up, make, or complete the call. The profile is the caller ID, smart caller ID finally - my choice, my identity. The URL represents the exchange contract and it may be public or private. The solution really doesn't need to be limited to Twitter.
What are we actually trying to do? We're trying to show that we can actually bridge the gap, if you will, between social communications and the people that I want to handle my identity layer, and traditional telephony. In fact, what I'm setting up is a world in which you can push your requests, can control your access, can choose your own identity, and you can select your own channels, without being dictated to by anyone else.
The way I look at it is; this is telephony my way. It's my name and I'm no longer a number. You can reach me @stuarthenshall on Twitter. Thank you.
Chair: Any questions from the audience? Maybe people are feeling the same degree of tiredness that I feel. Today has been very intense to say the least. If you have a question -
Audience: Stuart, could you go over one more time what the user experience is? One thing that confuses me is; is this a situation where let's say I'm at Home Depot. Do I have to set up, a priori, a relationship with you and then once that is done I can get these inbound things?
Stuart: Let's just assume that Home Depot doesn't actually even provide the service. You tweet "home depot" and Phweet will immediately send you something back that says, "Sorry, Home Depot doesn't support this yet," and what I would like to do is jack you straight into Fonolo. In other words, I can put that call straight the way through to a 1-800 number. Any time somebody identifies a company that isn't playing ball, we can bring it back.
Chair: It will be interesting to see how this goes the next one or two years. I'm getting this growing sense of fruition coming at some point. Thank you very much Stuart.
Stuart: Thank you.