ROK, best known for video streaming over 2G networks, is trialling "ROK Talk", a phone conferencing system which uses a Symbian application to set up and manage conference calls without recourse to PINs or passwords, and has invited 50 Reg readers to take part in the closed beta.
Instead of relying on a central management system to set up a conference call, ROK Talk uses a Symbian application that allows the user to select participants from their address book, or just enter their phone numbers. This information is then sent over a data link to the ROK server which dials out to every participant and places them in conference.
Obviously the participants don't need to be registered with ROK or have Symbian handsets, but if they are using a mobile and don't answer the phone, they'll get an SMS message alerting them to the conference. Participants who get disconnected for any reason can just dial into the ROK server, which recognises their phone number and reconnects them to the conference.
Obviously there is a charge involved in dialling out to all the participants, but compared to the hassle of sending out call details and trying to get everyone together at the same time, it seems a small price to pay - though the details of that price will have to wait until the commercial launch of the system in a few weeks.
Right now the service is in closed beta, with 500 participants, but ROK is reserving 50 places for El Reg readers who just need to put the word "register" into the comments section of the registration page.
When Symbian first came along there was a great deal of discussion about what kinds of application it would enable: What kinds of things did users want to do on their phone? While the vast majority of Symbian applications are still games, followed by the kind of productivity apps which were popular on PDAs, we are now seeing a new generation of applications aimed at improving the telephony experience.
VoIP apps are an obvious example, but this product from ROK also demonstrates the kind of functionality possible on a reprogrammable handset - it improves the voice experience on what is, ultimately, a mobile telephone. ®