Concilio Networks is a Finnish startup offering a solution that allows users of normal existing handsets to import their internet contacts from social networks.
In effect, Concilio Networks’ Community Connect Solution (CCS) extends Internet communities, social networks and Internet voice- and chat services to any existing mobile handset.
CCS is designed to work with every mobile handset with no need to install any application software to the handset. Instead, normal mobile phone functionalities are used as such to access the services.
In an interview with Social Networking Watch, Concilio Networks CEO, Kristian Järnefelt, informed that the company is currently beta testing with a solution for Google Talk and that they have Facebook and Microsoft Windows Live Messenger support coming out in late 2008. After that it’s MySpace’s and Bebo’s turn. He also added that they are keenly looking at OpenSocial due to the significant upside of bringing many social networks within one.
According to Mr. Järnefelf the company is build on the idea that Internet services could be connected with mobile handsets. A great idea, except that increasingly the handset can already do this with a decent user experience without a need for a third party. For example when talking about iPhone apps I am not sure if receiving status messages via SMS add value or whether it’s just easier to tap the app icon and see all of the updated status messages with a glance and a flick of a finger.
I understand that this might sound like a very lucrative opportunity on paper for the mobile service providers to increase ARPU when they are struggling to differentiate themselves from being just a fat pipe for the data. But now when the iPhone started the ‘arms race’ for a satisfactory user experience I am not sure how thrilled the consumers are for paying extra fees in the form of higher phone bills just to add a middle man between the social networks and the carriers.
I am not suggesting that everyone will inevitable have an iPhone, but that is the direction the browsing experience is heading whether we are talking about iPhone, Nokia, Android, and so on. This does not happen over night, but nor does Concilio Networks have their software running on carrier routers any time soon as they are currently running their first pilot running with Telefónica Móviles in Spain.
When it comes to chatting, sending messages and calling over the Internet there is already Fring, even though admittedly the user needs to download a client to use it.
If Concilio Networks aims to beat the already existing solutions such as Fring and add something extra to the experience the sole handsets will soon offer their solution needs to be dead simple and unbelievably easy to use.
Concilio Networks is one of the companies which has been chosen to attend the Nordic Venture Forum taking place today in Copenhagen, Denmark. I will be also there talking to startups and investors. If you’re attending, don’t hesitate to come and talk to me.