Nextel offers messaging peace of mind

Nextel offers messaging peace of mind – NEXTEL Communications Inc

Annie Lindstrom

Nextel Communications Inc. recently introduced the first acknowledgement messaging capability for an integrated digital wireless telephone.

The feature informs users who have sent messages via Nextel’s Message Mail service whether a message has been delivered to a handset or is awaiting delivery on the network, said John Caner, director of wireless data development at Nextel.

The capability is provided as an upgrade to the company’s existing NexNote software product or as part of a new enhanced messaging software package called NexNote Plus.

An on-line acknowledgement feature lets users send a message from a PC equipped with the software and hold for about 10 seconds for acknowledgement of a message’s receipt, Caner explained. If acknowledgement is not received, the message is stored on the network for future delivery.

In addition to on-line acknowledgement, NexNote Plus lets users ask about the status of a message and delete or replace messages that have previously been delivered to the network but have not yet been received by a handset.

Additional features of the upgrade include a message log, group messaging and an unlimited number address book. The service also lets users split or shorten messages that are more than 140 characters long, create and store frequently used canned messages and send messages to other paging networks.

Because today’s paging networks are very reliable, the acknowledgment messaging capability is likely to be of interest only to selected users such as emergency personnel, doctors or people in charge of maintaining crucial systems, said Ira Brodsky, president of Datacomm Research Co., Wilmette, Ill. But some creative applications could emerge, he added.

Another analyst said the offering will help Nextel position itself in the marketplace.

“Acknowledgement messaging is a differentiator. Nextel is trying to stake out mobile work forces and mobile fleets, and this is a service that makes them different than cellular and traditional analog dispatch providers,” said Mark Lowenstein, director of wireless and mobile communications at The Yankee Group, Boston. “However, it works similarly to short message service, which is going to be available on [time division multiple access] networks some time this year and is part of the GSM platform.”

NexNote and NexNote Plus, which were developed for Nextel by ExMachina Inc., New York, cost $25 and $125, respectively. The software incorporates an enhanced version of the Telocator Alphanumeric Protocol.

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