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Brad Porter: Web + Voice + AJAX

Brad Porter, CTO of Tellme is excited about the separation of presentation from data.  I mentioned the need for this in the Voice 2.0 manifesto a few months ago.

TellMe has been doing this since 1999.  Brad asks the question: "Why now", and follows up with a whack of examples of seismic events are changing the world today.  He talks about Skype, the iPod, and so on.

One of the biggest changes is AJAX, the separation of presentation from the underlying data.  Note to self: isn’t this just client server computing from 20 years ago? TellMe is very excited about AJAX, and has been building applications using this model for years.  They already do this with their customers:  American Airlines, for instance, just sends them an XML blob for a reservation. 

He’s showing us a new app they’ve build — a viral growth, group messaging product they’ve built called Jazz.  It’s pretty compelling.  He’s using the same XML to power a phone experience and a web experience.  It’s a little app that can send a phone blast to a bunch of people with a recorded message.  Phones are ringing all over the audience.  Everyone’s got the same messages.  It’s quite clever.  I’m not sure how compelling the application is, but the fact that the logic is separated from presentation so neatly is very cool. 

Communications shouldn’t be limited to one modality is the message.  What’s the most efficient way to do it?  Brad says that it was actually pretty easy to build.  It’s AJAX, Apache, MySQL and the TellMe browser.  The hard part is the business model, integration with the handset, platforms, etc.  The network stuff is the hard part. 

One of the biggest challenges is simply perception — the perception that the phone is an applications platform.

Good talk.  Very thought provoking.

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