As a technology news writer, you get pretty good at sizing up the potential of a new project or product pretty quickly. It is easy to get a little jaded, quickly cubby-holing something new just because it acts like something already out there. I admit to doing just that when I first visited the 3deep web site.
Luckily, I was invited to talk with CEO, Gary Griffiths, of LiteScape Technologies, and Director of Product Marketing, Henry ‘Hank’ Nothhaft Jr. (Twitter), developers of the 3deep product. For the next hour, I was able to get a really good idea about their innovative new product. And although it isn’t out in beta to play with yet, it is definitely worth learning about.
LiteScape has its roots in building software infrastructure for programmable digital PBX and VoIP telephones. If you have ever worked in a call center, you know that a lot of power has been imbued into these innocuous little devices, from keeping track of the activity of the phone’s user, providing detailed metrics on every aspect of a call, to intelligently assisting the user with call routing and and conferencing. If you think of a call center as a living being, the PBX would be its nervous system, informing every other part of the organization with instant knowledge on how the business is doing. That sort of deep, real-time knowledge is valuable.
The idea with 3deep started simply. What if the beneficial aspects of this PBX technology could be applied to the fast-growing ecosystem of smart mobile phones? In a business environment, you might want your team to know vital information – like where you are, if you are busy, who you are meeting with this afternoon – and be able to share that without having to constantly be updating info in your Smartphone all the time. It’s already there anyway, whether on a call, calendar, contact list or GPS. It is almost like your phone is waiting for an application to tie that information together and share it (or as much of it as you care to) with your team.
The platform is based on two key technologies, what they call a presence platform (essentially a technology to passively ascertain status, availability, and location) together with a mobile address book which sends and receives that information with other team members. The mobile phone platforms that will be supported at launch are Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Android and, of course, the iPhone.
Features of the 3deep platform will include active sharing of location, calendar (either free/busy or full), and phone state (on the phone or idle). Groups will control how much information is shared with group members. Also, the ‘active sharing’ hours can be set so that, say after work, you are not disturbed or giving your location away.
An example of how this synergistic platform can be utilized comes from Gary in which he describes a recent situation where he had to contact the companies VP of advertising with a high-priority issue. The VP was on the phone when Gary looked him up in 3deep, so he told the software to let him know the moment the VP was off the phone. Within minutes, the two were in contact and the issue was handled. Such alerts can be set not only for free status, but also for GPS location, for example, if you wanted to meet a coworker on a work site and wanted to be alerted when they arrived.
What really gives this technology huge potential, though, is that it is being developed for deployment on all the major Smartphone platforms simultaneously. Gary and Henry said all their key foundational technologies are working on each of the supported phones, with some exceptions on the iPhone which places strict limits on what can be running in the background. However, using the software on an iPhone works the same way as on other Smartphones.
3deep is still in private alpha, so unfortunately we can’t give you a beta code or technical preview yet. But, we were assured we would be contacted once the beta began so that we can invite people to help test it. In the meantime, there is a contact form you can fill out for more information.