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Carriers adopt Intercasting's Anthem mobile social app

Mobile social connectivity company Intercasting Corp. has released an upgrade to its Anthem platform, a mobile social application on-deck with most U.S. carriers.

Carriers currently using the Anthem platform include 3, Alltel, AT&T, Bell Mobility, Boost Mobile, Centennial PR, Cellular South, Claro, Cricket, CSL Hong Kong, IUSACELL, MetroPCS, Midwest Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and Virgin Mobile USA. In addition to powering mobile social networking, Anthem will now support various communication services including email, instant messaging and other social applications.

"We have taken the concept of enabling social networking and have expanded it to social connectivity as an increasing number of tools that make a lot of sense in the mobile space fall under the description of social like Twitter and even Texas Hold 'Em poker,"said Shawn Conahan, founder/CEO of Intercasting, San Diego.

"Our platform is now an application server with an emphasis on social connectivity,"he said. "While you could distribute a graphing calculator with our platform, the real value is in communication services like IM, email and social networking, because all integration is on our server, which means we can enable apps to interact with each other, which wasn't possible before this release of Anthem.

For example, consumers can play a game with their friends on Facebook or share MTV content on MySpace.

To the extent operator partners want to monetize the platform by advertising, Intercasting can support it. The company is integrated with the major ad networks such as Millennial Media, AdMob, Google AdSense, Nokia Interactive and Quattro Wireless.

The entire platform is cloud hosted and includes unified messaging, device integration and an application portal, enabling a smartphone-like experience for the billion-plus feature phones on the market today.

The unique hosted architecture of the Anthem platform allows applications to be developed and maintained on the server side.

This hosted approach enables applications to be rendered on mobile devices either via a preloaded player or integrated directly into the device UI.

Future applications and features can therefore be plugged in with no client upgrade required.
For mobile consumers, the new tiled user interface is a tool that can be personalized to manage various types of social communication.

New features such as cross-partner media publication and unified messaging provide one-click access to phone contacts, social networking sites, IM and email, enabling interaction across the consumer's entire personal network from one central place.

For carriers and mobile device manufacturers, Intercasting provides a social connectivity API suite.
Intercasting brings Web development to traditional mobile environments such as J2ME, BREW, RIM, Windows Mobile, Symbian and other mobile operating systems.

The Anthem platform enables the creation, delivery and management of applications using common Web technologies such as XML, CSS and Javascript.

Rounding out Anthem's product suite is an app store that simplifies the discovery and management of application services.

"The Wall Street Journal has reported that Apple's App Store is turning wireless carriers into dump pipes because consumers are changing the way they think about their devices, and there is an emphasis on software and services over reception or design,"said Mr. Conahan said.

"We give carriers and device manufacturers a way to give consumers a similarly easy way to find and use applications, but on whatever device they happen to have,"he said. "Anthem raises the bar for the other 3 billion consumers worldwide with different devices while enabling carriers to offer a consistent user experience across all their devices.

"Basically, we offer an application distribution mechanism plus a cloud server strategy that enables distribution to lower-power devices while enabling derivative back-end products like Network Address Book, Recommendation Engine, Content Locker, etcetera.

Additionally, this cloud-based solution enables partners to create, deploy and add other value-added derivative products such as a network address book, content vault, ad server and presence.

This Anthem upgrade is now available to carriers worldwide. Existing Intercasting customers will be upgraded to the new technology starting this quarter.

Intercasting is a mobile social networking company that partners with wireless carriers, social networking companies, major brands and entertainment companies to drive the growth of personalized mobile media through its Anthem platform.

Founded in 2004, Intercasting claims to be the first company to deploy a carrier-grade mobile blogging and social networking application in North America with Rabble.

"Our approach treats an app as a service, which means we offer the discoverability of a preloaded interface and the flexibility to future-proof the functionality of the phone,"Mr. Conahan said. "I believe as carriers consolidate and we are left with fewer larger players worldwide, carriers will differentiate on the basis of software and services, and ease of use for consumers plus insight into user behavior and will be important drivers.

"Rather than enable third parties to own the customer, a better idea is to integrate third parties into carrier and OEM offerings so that they augment core services -- and that is what Anthem now does,"he said.