AT&T Launches Enhanced Push-To-Talk Smartphone Trial For Businesses

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Though it may not always seem like it, big wireless carriers are still stuck on the concept of push-to-talk communication. It’s easy to see why — instantaneous communication between multiple people can be a huge benefit in certain lines of work, and and catering to those groups often leads to some hefty service contracts. To that end, AT&T has announced that they have launched a new charter program geared toward getting push-to-talk smartphones in front of business customers.

Now the idea of implementing push-to-talk on smartphones isn’t exactly new — there are a whole host of apps available for the major mobile platforms that allow users to send voice notes, messages and media over their data connections. The immensely popular Voxer app comes to mind — it boasts a pretty robust feature set, not to mention about 200,000 average daily downloads. So what’s different about AT&T’s approach?

Their ace in the hole here seems to be their use of partner Kodiak Networks’ InstaPoC technology. While the name may conjure images of a real stinker, InstaPoC reportedly allows for sub-second voice connections between compatible devices, as well as better voice quality than a standard phone call.

InstaPoC was created in compliance with the imaginatively-named PoC (Push to Talk over Cellular) 2.0 standard, which lays out in excruciating detail the criteria necessary for a reliable, business-grade push-to-talk system. Throw in the ability for developers to fold PTT support into other applications via an API, and all of a sudden we’re looking at a potential ecosystem centered around instant communication.

AT&T promises that entrants into their charter program will be able to test the PTT service on “powerful, state of the art smartphones,” though they don’t offer any specifics. Considering the types of phones that tend to get saddled with PTT functionality, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see users testing the service given something like the forthcoming Rugby Smart to mess around with.