Orange today launched a unique international service, offering instant voice communication and easy-to-access group calling and messaging with the added benefit of a real-time availability icon, so you can see who is available and who's not. The service is initially being trialled by business customers.
Talk Now similar to the US Push-To-Talk service but with a more advanced feature-set and richer functionality - will give Orange customers a new way of communicating alongside their existing voice and messaging services. Talk Now will be launched in 10 countries this year, starting with the UK and France in Q2 2004.
Building on the Orange Experience, which promises to be simple, compelling and personal, Talk Now creates an immediate connection between two or more mobile phones so minimal time is spent searching for or dialling individual telephone numbers. You can see who is available to speak or receive single or group messages instantly. Talk Now will also allow Orange customers to:
- create buddy lists that can be used to facilitate instant conference calling
- know when contacts are available to talk and when they are busy
- speak to or message a contact who has selected themselves as available
- record a conference call and send it to others if they are not available
- send a voice message to other Talk Now users at the touch of a button
Talk Now will be available internationally allowing customers easy, instant access to colleagues, friends and family in a different country who use the service. Orange expects to attract one million users to the new service in the 12 months following rollout.
Speaking at the launch in London this morning, Sol Trujillo, CEO, Orange Group, said: "As we are the first to launch in the world we are offering something no other company can offer. Talk Now provides the business community with an immediate and reliable way to better manage teams of people within an organisation. It addresses a real need amongst businesses to disseminate or communicate time critical information quickly and efficiently. The service also provides consumers with an ideal way to keep in touch with friends and family by making it easy to instantly communicate with each other as a group at the touch of a button."
The launch follows Orange research into customer needs, and successful customer trials by companies including IBM and the RAC. The RAC is already actively exploring the value of instant messaging and is looking to see if this can be extended into the wireless arena. The RAC is investigating the Orange Talk Now(tm) service as a possible wireless Instant Messaging solution.
The service is scalable and will benefit from added functionality throughout the year. Talk Now will initially be available on the Orange Treo 600 -- an Orange Signature phone - with further handsets announced later in Q2, including rugged devices for field-workers and consumer-style handsets.
With the added functionality that it offers, Talk Now will be offered as a premium service. Full pricing details will be available nearer commercial availability, with pricing bundles geared toward specific customer markets.
Trujillo added: "Talk Now offers a level of functionality and a feature-set that is relevant to every single one of our 47 million customers -- instant access to each and every one of their family, friends and colleagues."