SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

Tuesday Feature: Get Inside ProcessOne

Posted by Admin on December 23, 2008

The theme of mass-market messaging is once again the topic of the day for this week’s Tuesday technology feature. We took some time out to speak with Mickaël Rémond, CEO of ProcessOne, after the company got in touch to provide an insight into its mobile instant messaging (IM) service.

processone

Mickaël Rémond

ProcessOne
Best known for its instant messaging client in a fixed line environment, ProcessOne’s bread and butter is fixed-line IM market. CEO Rémond disclosed that the company is responsible for the IM experience of more than 35 million who use various flavours of the company’s white-label products.

More than 50 companies, including ISP SAPO (owned by Portugal Telecom) and MLB.com, the official Major League Baseball website, US broadcaster NBC and management consultancy Atos Origin use ProcessOne solutions. The company’s three distinct product areas are improving communications across e-commerce and business channels, enterprise/workgroup IM and support consumer initiatives.

On Mobile
TeamOne is the company’s fledging mobile offering, which aims to take the fixed line experience and adapt it for the mobile phone. Currently ProcessOne is championing its iPhone application but TeamOne is also available on Symbian-running, Nokia E60 series phones, and the iPod touch (when it rains it pours).

Rémond states that TeamOne is focused on offering a simple IM client for mobile which allows productive

Chat Window

Chat Window

communications through a trusted, secure application. The white-label product is programmed to ensure all user data is processed through the corporate server, managing the privacy issue of customer data being processed by a third party.

As is common these days, the iPhone is the company’s ‘show-off’ device, as Rémond states the handset’s large screen is key to overcoming the limitations of internet-based activity on mobile. The iPhone gives developers the space to overcome a crowded screen with no room for comfort, which so many phones suffer from.

Backing up the mobile application is the PC-based application which can be downloaded onto a Firefox toolbar and used to stay in touch with PC or mobile-based contacts.

The TeamOne mobile application is intuitive and uses a dedicated menu bar to allow easy switching between active

Status Screen

Status Screen

conversations, contact list and the user profile. Status information can be amended manually to allow a user to indicate when busy or unavailable, as is standard with IM.

Differentiation
The mobile IM market is increasingly congested, with a standard range of feature now common applications need a differentiator to survive, TeamOne’s is corporate support.

The application, which is available from iTunes for £4.99, supports Gmail, jabber.org, MSN, ICQ, Yahoo, its own client (oneteam.im) and a number of corporate instant messaging solutions. It is the support for the latter where the company has sought its differentiation as it seeks to provide an IM solution to accommodate business and personals communications.

Whilst the iPhone has enjoyed popular acclaim and success in the consumer market, it is not close to being the corporate device in the same way as BlackBerry smartphones are. Rémond confirmed that the company is working on a version of team one for the BlackBerry range, aimed squarely at the corporate user.

Future Innovation
Alongside a BlackBerry application, Rémond has an extensive list of features that the company is working on with the aim of providing a communications directory on the handset.

Video IM: Rémond was particularly buoyant about the potential of video IM, popular with fixed-line user but yet to take off on mobile.

RSS feeds: in Rémond’s words this is “incredibly difficult” but would provide a function which is fast-becoming staple to the corporate (and personal) user’s internet experience.

Push-messaging: from a white label standpoint, this feature could allow a company (or perhaps advertiser) to distribute a message across a specific band of users, through the IM client.

Twitter
In addition to these areas of research the company already offers support for Twitter in the shape of tweet.im. Once just a new feature for the service, tweet.im has become a popular product in its own right which has been licensed to customers looking to include the micro-blogging site (named as one of the Guardian’s top 100 for 2009) in IM offerings.

Further Reading
ProcessOne is currently finalising a study into IM trends which will address security, corporate use and user numbers amongst other issues. We will, of course, publish further information once the findings are released next month.

Just In
Fresh from ProcessOne, via Twitter, we can confirm that the company’s iPhone application is “about to go gold” (as of yesterday), so check it out at the company website for more details.

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