Microsoft Embedded project manager sings "UI, UI"

At the Consumer VoIP Summit in Las Vegas,Microsoft's Balz Wyssreferred thenon-original but trueaxiom that VoIP service providers will compete for your business via "differentiation of services."While that statement is kind of close to "well, duh" territory,Wyss laid out a differentiator template based on (gasp!

At the Consumer VoIP Summit in Las Vegas,Microsoft's Balz Wyssreferred thenon-original but trueaxiom that VoIP service providers will compete for your business via "differentiation of services."

While that statement is kind of close to "well, duh" territory,Wyss laid out a differentiator template based on (gasp!) Windows CE. OK, we are still in "well, duh" territory here, but then Wyss elevated the discussion by detailing a SOIP (Smart Integration of Voice and DataServices) referencedesign for VoIP enabled mobile devices.

Which is Wyss' field - he's product manager of Microsoft's Mobile & Embedded division.

Wyss' wish list may have been aimed at developers, especially those steeped inthe Microsoft.NET Framework.More importantly, though, hisfeature-set recommendations can serve you as a type of buyer's guide when you evaluate the UIs (User Interfaces)of VoIP-enabled mobile devices such as PDAs and cell phones.

The point is not only whether your VoIP phone offers these services or not, but whether the menus that point to these services are logically organized.

Wyss suggests the following capabilities, duly reflected in the ideal VoIP-enabled mobile device UI:

Directories-white and yellow pages.

Calendar, e-mail, and unified message management. Readers, do I hear a "hey, sounds like Outlook?" Well yea, and maybe not just that, but Microsoft Exchange.

Video conferencing.

Photo management. I think this is a big one. Let's just say you are a Realtor, using a VoIP phone. You want to take photos of a house for sale and have your snapshots available for redistribution. CE, Wyss believes, makes management of such digital files that much easier.

Ringtones. He didn't get into exquisite detail here, the point being that since ringtone management is something that will matter to some users, well, by golly, then have a CE menu taxonomy that gets you there.

Location services, and IM.

Yes, I know, a given, but on any device you use, you and your users should be able to get there from here. Breathes there anyone reading this page who has never had a problem with a feature menu structure that made no sense?

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