Yahoo working to bring presence

A Yahoo official recently said the company has new services on tap with major traditional phone carriers that will blend its IP technology with the public switched telephone network.

The company has services in the offing with BT and SBC that employ the unique technologies of Yahoo and the PSTN, Brad Garlinghouse, vice-president of communication products for Yahoo, told Fall VON 2005 Conference & Expo attendees last month.

Garlinghouse said customers could look forward to intelligent presence — smarts in the network that can decide where to try to reach a customer. Rather than a person being accessible or inaccessible, network intelligence could check customers’ calendars, and if the network finds they are in a meeting away from any landline, ring their cell phones, he said.

Service elements could combine resources of more than one provider, Garlinghouse said. For instance, Yahoo plans next year to team with SBC to present SBC voice-mail as audio attachments to Yahoo e-mail.

Similarly, using BT’s softphone, called Communicator, customers could see the identification of who is calling on the screen of a PC or smart phone, then have the option to route the call to another phone or voice mail, for example.

Soon to come are voice-triggered applications such as Yahoo Search. It would seek terms as spoken, so customers can perform hands-free Web searches and search from phones without having to use keystrokes, Garlinghouse said.

This last possibility requires an open VoIP platform, something that doesn’t exist today between all carriers, he noted, so initially such services would have to be arranged carrier by carrier. 052074