Omar Leeman

 
 
By eweek  |  Posted 2001-02-26 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

After 20 years in the MCI-WorldCom nest, Omar Leeman decided to fly.

After 20 years in the MCI-WorldCom nest, Omar Leeman decided to fly. He left his safe, lofty job as president of the special markets group at WorldCom to head up a new kind of telecommunications carrier — Talk2 Technology — which is building out a next-gen applications infrastructure that will service telephone and wireless providers with all kinds of apps. As he was getting adjusted, he spoke with Senior Writer Brian Ploskina.

How important is voice to the future of the Internet?

I think voice will actually be the next level of the Internet, as more and more people become comfortable with the voice applications that are being validated and rolled out today. People are mobile. People want information now and I think there
After 20 years in the MCI-WorldCom nest, Omar Leeman decided to fly. He left his safe, lofty job as president of the special markets group at WorldCom to head up a new kind of telecommunications carrier -- Talk2 Technology -- which is building out a next-gen applications infrastructure that will service telephone and wireless providers with all kinds of apps. As he was getting adjusted, he spoke with Senior Writer Brian Ploskina.

How important is voice to the future of the Internet?

I think voice will actually be the next level of the Internet, as more and more people become comfortable with the voice applications that are being validated and rolled out today. People are mobile. People want information now and I think therell be a very interesting combination of voice and key-based access onto the Internet and all kinds of other information databases, whether its behind the corporate firewall, or information thats available on the public net today.

Besides the obvious messaging applications, what types of data are people going to be accessing using the phone?

Ive got at least four voice-mail boxes. Wouldnt it be great if you could get access to all of those voice-mail boxes with one call? I think what will evolve is anything you can get on the keyboard today, whether its your PDA [personal digital assistant], your laptop, your desktop, or whatever. I think there will be apps in the future, where youll access that via voice.

Why Talk2 Technology?

I was attracted to Talk2 because theres a very exciting, network infrastructure. So we are very, very confident that our infrastructure will scale and is available for carriers whether they be wired or wireless. We know we can offer those carriers a whole host of applications. We are application agnostic. We dont create applications. Well host them. Well enable those applications to be created at a carrier level.

Whats the experience like when calling in for these services?

You dial in and you put in your account number and password and then you go to the main menu. Our menu is unique in that you can use voice command to select a particular item on the menu, or press a button on your device.

Whats your experience been like as a user?

Ive been pleasantly surprised and very impressed and I always heard that voice recognition wasnt good, it was cumbersome, and you had to memorize a bunch of keywords. I dont find that at all. I find that you can speak normally. The system is very user-friendly. It doesnt treat you like youre an idiot.

Whos your market?

Were targeting carriers, wireless and wired. There are also very large enterprises, anyone deploying a virtual private network today. Anyone thats looking for a way to manage and distribute information thats critical to their functioning, whether thats an individual or whether its a member of a large enterprise.

What needs to happen in the mobile phone industry to make it friendlier to the Internet and what Talk2 is developing?

The device is a facilitator. It becomes immaterial because you can either use your voice or your keypad. As the wireless industry comes under more pressure to do something with their users as theyre driving in their car, these voice-activated commands at least allow people to keep their hands on the wheel.

ll be a very interesting combination of voice and key-based access onto the Internet and all kinds of other information databases, whether its behind the corporate firewall, or information thats available on the public net today.

Besides the obvious messaging applications, what types of data are people going to be accessing using the phone?

Ive got at least four voice-mail boxes. Wouldnt it be great if you could get access to all of those voice-mail boxes with one call? I think what will evolve is anything you can get on the keyboard today, whether its your PDA [personal digital assistant], your laptop, your desktop, or whatever. I think there will be apps in the future, where youll access that via voice.

Why Talk2 Technology?

I was attracted to Talk2 because theres a very exciting, network infrastructure. So we are very, very confident that our infrastructure will scale and is available for carriers whether they be wired or wireless. We know we can offer those carriers a whole host of applications. We are application agnostic. We dont create applications. Well host them. Well enable those applications to be created at a carrier level.

Whats the experience like when calling in for these services?

You dial in and you put in your account number and password and then you go to the main menu. Our menu is unique in that you can use voice command to select a particular item on the menu, or press a button on your device.

Whats your experience been like as a user?

Ive been pleasantly surprised and very impressed and I always heard that voice recognition wasnt good, it was cumbersome, and you had to memorize a bunch of keywords. I dont find that at all. I find that you can speak normally. The system is very user-friendly. It doesnt treat you like youre an idiot.

Whos your market?

Were targeting carriers, wireless and wired. There are also very large enterprises, anyone deploying a virtual private network today. Anyone thats looking for a way to manage and distribute information thats critical to their functioning, whether thats an individual or whether its a member of a large enterprise.

What needs to happen in the mobile phone industry to make it friendlier to the Internet and what Talk2 is developing?

The device is a facilitator. It becomes immaterial because you can either use your voice or your keypad. As the wireless industry comes under more pressure to do something with their users as theyre driving in their car, these voice-activated commands at least allow people to keep their hands on the wheel.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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