Presence and Availability: Coming to a Mobile Phone Near You: Page 2

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P2T: the first step

Driven by their aim to unseat Nextel as the sole provider of Push-to-Talk in the U.S., it's likely that the other national carriers will be the agents for bringing presence to mobile phones. That, Venkatesh said, could be the spark that propels presence information into a range of other mobile-phone applications.

"Presence and availability are common to a number of applications, including IM," he said. "And they become more useful when doing something on a mobile phone -- voice applications, IM applications, gaming applications, downloads and things like that."

In advance of such applications, Venkatesh said Parlay's newly formed PAM Working Group is aiming to continue the PAM Forum's goal of creating network-independent standards for mapping between PAM's specifications and specific protocols -- like SIP/SIMPLE, which has become popular among enterprise messaging and VoIP vendors, and the Wireless Village/Open Mobile Alliance protocol, more popular with handset manufacturers.

The objective is interoperability between protocols and networks for the detection and syndication of a mobile user's presence and availability -- a plan that industry insiders expect to increase demand for the services, similar to how Short Messaging Service grew to become staggeringly popular only after carriers supported cross-network messaging.

"Both [SIMPLE and Wireless Village] have presence requirements, and we're doing the mapping," Venkatesh said. "So ultimately, presence information can come from what looks like a Wireless Village presence server to a Wireless Village client, and a SIMPLE server to SIMPLE clients. We're working to support all the functionalities of these protocols."

Christopher Saunders is managing editor of

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