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Radio Handi, Now On The Air

The beta of Radio Handi, billing itself as the Party Line for Planet Earth, went live this evening.  In a nutshell, Radio Handi is an open-line conferencing+BBS+Email notification system+SMS notification system, married to a social network. 

Wrap your head around that for a minute. 

You can do things like:

  • quickly relay voice messages about news or events to people in your family, or a club, or the neighborhood
  • relay text and email messages to everyone in the group
  • conduct live conference calls with up to 20 people calling in from almost anywhere in the world
  • broadcast live audio to any phone or MP3 player
  • create a party line for your neighborhood
  • create message boards and chat lines for any subject
  • create a sponsored voice community to promote your business (for example, a scuba shop could create a message board and conference line for local divers)
  • create a message board and conference line for your alumni organization
  • exchange messages with fellow hobbyists
  • broadcast audio and commentary from any live event, such as a high school sporting event
  • broadcast classes, lectures and presentations
  • broadcast live from any location where you have mobile phone service or a broadband internet connection

Oh, and by the way, they’ve built a phone directory to global radio stations too, so you can listen in.

Radio Handi is accesible in over 30 countries via a local telephone call, or toll free via SIP.  They recommend Gizmo.  Strangely enough, they’ve got numbers for places like Latvia and Luxembourg listed, but not Canada.  It must be a hangover from the bad relationship Jean Chretien’s Liberals built with George Bush…

At this point, the social networking piece of Radio Handi is limited.  The profiles are weak, and there doesn’t seem to be an effective way to search them.  Rather, you can search for a community to join, and find people that way.  There’s room for improvement for sure.

This is a hugely exciting development.  Just recently, a few of us have been musing on why social networks hadn’t been combined with voice, and then along comes this.  You can find out more on the website, or you can go read the Radio Handi blog as well. 

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Brian McConnell May 16, 2006, 11:27 pm

    Hi Alec,

    Thanks for posting this.

    What we're doing with Radio Handi is really pretty simple from a user's standpoint. The service enables people to create meeting places for groups of friends, their club, or affinity group, and then to communicate via whatever mix of media work for them (email, SMS, live voice). At first, it may seem muddled, but different modes of communication work best for different things.

    If I want to blast out this week's practice schedule for a swim team, email probably works best for that, so I'll fire a message to xyzswimteam@radiohandi.com. If I am stuck in traffic, and need to tell everyone I'll be delayed an hour, a voice mail broadcast is a good option. If I need to get everyone on the line for a meeting, then a conference call is a good idea. These are all different versions of group communication, it's just that different media work better depending on whether you need immediate feedback, or are sending a fire-and-forget message. incidentally, and importantly, we're leveraging services that are already built in to most mobile phones (live voice, SMS, email).

    The best way to look at this is that it creates something akin to a plaza where people can meet and talk live (conference call), or tack a note on a message board (voice mail, email or text)

    So thanks again for pointing people our way. We're just getting started with this, so this should be humming along pretty nicely later this summer.

    Brian McConnell, Open Communication Systems

    PS – points about the the profiles, etc are well-taken. VoIP systems are still pretty bleeding edge. our main priority now is making sure the phone/sms systems don't break. we did this on a pretty tight budget, so we couldn't get everything done perfectly on the first pass.

  • Ruslan May 17, 2006, 7:45 am

    I have tested this and it works with our GTalk2VoIP gateway very well. So, Google Talk users can access it too :-). They just type CALL @radiohandi.com

  • Alec May 17, 2006, 7:59 am

    You’re welcome Brian. It looks very cool.

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