Two former Nextel Communications executives are at it again, this time with a product that enables mobile workers to wirelessly dictate, document and share time-sensitive information from any phone via e-mail.
Brian McAuley, who co-founded Nextel and served as its president from 1987 to 1995, and John Pescatore, who held various senior-level positions at Nextel, are chairman and CEO, respectively, of Pacific DataVision (PDV), which is the steward of the SkyMail solution that currently targets enterprises but also could find applications among pro-sumers or consumers.
Earlier this week, PDV announced that its Locator for SkyMail service was selected as a runner-up in the 2008 Navteq Global LBS Challenge, Asia-Pacific Region. SkyMail is a voice-to-e-mail tool that allows users to dictate, document and share information. Sprint Nextel offers a walkie-talkie version that it calls NextMail, and Nextel de Mexico offers a version called PushtoMail. PDV is in talks with other carriers as well, and it has reseller agreements with Motorola and Nokia for push-to-talk (PTT) over cellular.
With Locator for SkyMail, enterprises can set it up so they see a map of where someone is making a call; for example, if a waste truck driver tries to pick up someone’s trash at a certain time and the dumpster is blocked by a car, the driver can tell dispatch about the situation and the company has a record that the driver was there at a given time.
Enterprises quickly see how much time they can save when employees use the service, according to Pescatore. Service is priced per unit. “It’s a quick ROI,” he said.
The SkyMail solution marks the first real enhancement to PTT since it was first deployed many years ago, according to McAuley. PDV has found that the best way to sell the service is to show customers how it works and the ROI, as opposed to advertising. Similar to the early days of Nextel’s PTT, the idea is to make the service so sticky that people wonder how they lived without it.
This isn’t the first business McAuley and Pescatore have been involved in since Nextel. McAuley was president and CEO of NeoWorld Communications, which was sold to Nextel in 2003. Pescatore was COO of NeoWorld, and before that, he was executive vice president of operations at Expanets, a voice and data communications solutions and services company.
PDV will receive $157,500 in cash and licenses in conjunction with the Navteq contest award.