Mobile Conferencing Should Not Boggle the Mind

Opinion: Why aren't smart phones smart enough to make mobile conference calls? A simple text message is all it should take.

The only thing that could make you look smarter than being able to operate a VCR is being able to set up a mobile conference call.

Conference calls, of course, are the application nobody thinks is worth having. Theres a reason for that: Theyre wretchedly difficult to organize.

Lets say youre at a football game with a few friends. The original plan was to meet afterward, around whatever oclock, and go for a beer or two, but the game went into overtime. There werent any groups of empty seats that allowed you and your friends to sit together, so everybody is scattered around the stadium. Also, Jim was late. Matt forgot about it until the last minute and is now on his way. And nobody has seen Carol all week.

The smart thing to do would be to set up a conference call among friends and discuss where to go and what time to meet. But setting up a conference call is not easy, so nobody thinks of doing it.

That may change, though, thanks to a company called Mobix, which lets you set up a conference call by sending a text message.

The trick is to have a smart phone, of course. Oh, and it also helps if your favorite phone was built by someone who understands texting, which, it turns out, means someone other than Palm licensee Group Sense PDA, who makes the Xplore smart phone.

Heres how the texting approach works. You download a little application called 2buzz, provided by Mobix, onto your phone. You may not even have to go to the Mobix Web site; some phone providers resell the software.

The normal ritual in setting up a conference call requires concentration, skill, and above all, that prize quality of a good comedian: timing. I dont know who designed the system, but the person was obviously working in the distant past, before the advent of text tags. The trouble is, there are still people who are working in the distant past.

Next page: The texting solution.