When Nextel Communications introduced cellular-based, walkie-talkie communications with its Direct Connect service, it revolutionized consumer telephony. Now the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) is standardizing that same technology for enterprise telephony with PoC (Push-to-Talk over Cellular), a specification providing Direct Connect's always-on service across SIP-based, wireless platforms.
With PoC deployed, field personnel and mobile teams will have a more efficient medium for short interactions. It provides the same sort of benefit beyond conventional voice conversation that IM offers compared with e-mail. However, while iDEN (the Motorola-developed technology on which Direct Connect is based) uses bandwidth normally allocated to telephone calls, causing capacity and cost problems for carriers, PoC will be more efficient by using the data side of the wireless network.
The OMA has the backing of big telecom players, as well as some cell carriers, and it's reasonable to believe that enterprise adoption of PoC isn't too far away. Still, PoC must gain industry traction, which would be accomplished most quickly with greater cooperation from carriers.