As thousands of people stroll through the aisles of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week, those stopping by the AT&T booth will get a glimpse of what to expect from their wireless company in the near future - that is, if their wireless company is Cingular!
Cingular will be the first wireless carrier in the United States to demonstrate a service that allows wireless phone users to easily make a "live" video share call. The service allows users to send a live video stream to a recipient during a standard voice call. Beginning with a normal phone call, customers can hit one button to add a live video stream, allowing the called party to see what the caller is seeing while they're talking. The service also allows customers to switch the direction of the video stream during the same phone call.
"In the case of this technology demonstration, seeing is believing," said Kris Rinne, senior vice president of architecture and planning for AT&T. "Consumers can get a real feel for what 3G wireless can do and what to expect in the future."
For example, a couple in San Antonio would place a regular voice call to their parents in Miami, and once the call is connected, hit the camera button on the phone to start the video session. The parents receive an invitation asking if they want to view the live video stream, and once accepted, they begin seeing the video shot by the kids in San Antonio. The speakerphone turns on and the proud new grandparents in Miami can see a live video of their granddaughter taking her first steps or saying her first words.
Cingular is showcasing its 3G UMTS/HSDPA (Universal Mobile Telephone System/High Speed Downlink Packet Access) network and recently deployed IMS (Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem) platform to provide the video service. Other companies participating in the demo are Alcatel/Lucent (Las Vegas 3G network and IMS platform) and LG Electronics (LG CU500v phone).
Cingular said it expects to make the video service commercially available in 2007.