Marrying Voice With the Mobile Web

Media Morph: DialPlus

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NEW YORK ( -- Every week Ad Age Digital's Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: DialPlus.

What it is: A service that intends to capitalize on the rise of big, colorful mobile-phone displays, Bluetooth headsets and mobile internet. DialPlus aims to marry voice with the mobile web.

The scenario: Your phone rings, and you answer it with your Bluetooth earpiece. At the same time, the browser on your mobile-phone display opens and up pops info about the person calling. "It's a convergence of the mobile world with the internet world -- from an intuitive usability perspective," said CEO Lisa LeVasseur. "Every phone call becomes a data session."

Who's behind it: Ms. LeVasseur has logged 20 years in the mobile-marketing industry at companies such as Motorola and Kyocera. DialPlus, which is soft launching at CTIA this week, is in early talks with carriers and seeking funding.

How it works: DialPlus makes an assumption about who you're calling and creates a "smart page" on your mobile browser. If you're calling a restaurant, the smart page that comes up will supply you with a map or information about that restaurant. If you're calling a person DialPlus presumes to be a colleague, it'll supply information from a networking site such as Plaxo or LinkedIn. If you're calling a friend, the information may be culled from a site such as MySpace or Facebook.

Ideally, DialPlus continues to learn about you and your relationships and the phone numbers you call so it can serve up content relevant to your calls. And, of course, part of the content it serves up will be advertising.

The compatibility factor: DialPlus works only with phones that employ certain operating systems -- the BlackBerry Curve, for example -- and several Windows smartphones. But the advance of open operating systems such as Android and the iPhone should help expand its compatibility, Ms. LeVasseur said.
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