Wireless Wonders

No news, just comment about mobile phones and services, from a veteran practitioner...3G, GPRS, WAP, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc...

Monday, May 16, 2005

Using SIP to give my details to a form...

In a previous post, I mentioned how convenient it might be to send personal details from the phone in a way that would allow someone to avoid entering them into a form on their PC screen. For example, when checking into a hotel or conference and the desk clerk asks for name, address etc.

There are already many ways to store the information on our phones or online, such as vCards, but how can we make that information available in a consistent manner?

In the earlier posting I mentioned that simply giving the clerk my mobile phone number ought to be enough to allow the process to be completed. I said that the desktop screen would be able to find the mobile, but didn't say how and that I would return to the topic.

With SIP-based telephony, the phone network works in a way that sessions can be established from the caller to the callee using the SIP URI or telephone number. Therefore, if the PC-based application can use SIP and has an IP connection, then it can find my SIP-capable phone via its number (or URI).

Thereafter, it is a straightforward matter to exchange details. Within the initial SIP exchange (SIP Invite) to my phone, my SIP client (or a proxy on my behalf) can embed a reference (e.g. URL) to my personal details. Provided I acknowledge (accept) the call and my settings are set to reveal my identity in this manner, then the caller gets immediate access to my personal contact details.

Revealing identity could be controlled on a per-call basis. It is easy to imagine that when a call is received, the options on the device screen are "Accept, hide your identity" and "Accept, reveal your identity".

To summarise, let me describe the process.

1. The clerk asks for my number
2. Clerk enters number into the form and hits button, something like "collect rest of details"
3. An alert appears on my phone
4. I hit "Answer & reveal identity"
5. Call immediately hangs up and moments later the form on the PC is populated with all my details

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