Europe Ireland : Privately-funded Irish company PLIBA announced the launch of the world's first generic booking system for mobile internet users. PLIBA.mobi is designed to allow anyone with a GPRS or 3G phone to book anything simply and quickly on any mobile phone and on any wireless network worldwide.
PLIBA.mobi, also the first Irish-based 'dotMob'i site, launched officially after showing positive feedback during a 3 month trials in US, Europe, and Asia, leading to strategic discussions with a major Internet search provider and a major print and online directory group.
PLIBA stands for 'Please Let It Be Available', referring to anything that people are looking to book or reserve, and has been in development for the past year in Dublin and Galway, Ireland.
Frank Cavanagh, Head of Communications for PLIBA said, "It's an attention-grabbing idea - companies in 12 countries agreed to trial PLIBA.mobi to see if making their services available for mobile web booking would increase business, and in each case enabling customers to book from a cellphone without having to make a call was effective. In just a few minutes they could register as a Service and simply tell some of their customers to start using PLIBA.mobi to book them instead of calling them or having to go to a PC to get online. "
It is expected that companies taking part in the trial will move fully to PLIBA.mobi as more of their existing customers become familiar with the mobile web. They receive bookings via email or SMS text, and 'Accept' or 'Decline' as they wish. Cavanagh continued, "This is a natural idea that came about not just because the technology arrived but because an educated user has evolved, and it's arriving at a time when local Search and social networking trends in the mobile arena are taking off. The biggest bookers so far appear to be teenagers booking haircuts and taxis, but we expect both the user base and the kinds of services booked to grow vastly and quickly since PLIBA is currently free to everyone. We're aware of the first-mover advantage and are exploiting it fully."
The long-term strategy involves building in a small per booking fee on the service owner, probably a fixed fee well below that taken for bookings currently made via sites such as travel portals.
The mobile internet is still niche but predicted by analysts to be 4 times bigger than the current PC web. With 2 billion cellphones already in use, being at the forefront is an interesting place for the team behind PLIBA to be. It has helped that PLIBA.mobi is being showcased by the MTLD - the global registry for the .mobi top level domain - and that there is positive buzz around PLIBA for making PLIBA specifically for the mobile web. Most of the companies who have created mobile websites have put out cut-down versions of their PC sites instead of starting out with a mobile-centric approach. The PLIBA founders hope that this mobile-first approach will set them apart, and expect the next 18 months to be very interesting.