Do you tell her you'll give her a call back when you get to a safe place? Or do you do the unsafe action of looking at your calendar on your phone?
What if there was a different way?
What if you could say something like "Let me check my calendar for tomorrow at 3pm" and then suddenly have a voice whisper back to you - on your call, but only heard by you - "your calendar is free at 3pm. You have meetings at 2 and 5."
You could then reply to your customer after just this brief pause letting her know that you could meet with her.
Sound like science fiction?
Perhaps... but that is the type of functionality that the team over at Voxeo Labs is looking to bring to calls with the launch of their new cloud service offering called Ameche. They are using the tagline "Apps in your Calls™" and produced this brief video to talk about what can be done:
I admit that I find their overview page and their introductory blog post a little bit over-the-top in terms of marketing-speak, but it starts to get interesting to me when you look at the page about apps in your calls. I'm not sure that I personally would get too excited about the "Social Calls Status Updates" example but it is extremely cool and valuable that they have this capability to connect with social networks. I find the other use cases such as Salesforce.com integration and context-based routing, and including the case I described at the beginning, far more compelling. It's also very important to note, as they do farther down that page, that Ameche is a platform and so can be used to build many different types of applications:
That platform itself, described on the Ameche technology page, sounds quite intriguing. As I understand it, they are essentially deploying a virtual machine running Node.js into a carriers network and then deploying applications inside that VM. They provide this network diagram showing how the pieces can fit together:
The outstanding part here is that they are using common web programming languages and fitting directly into existing carrier networks. This platform will let telcos create new services that can work with existing phone connections and existing phone numbers. No need for the customer to do anything except order the new service. No apps to download, no numbers to configure.
Obviously the primary market for this service is really the telecommunications service providers / carriers who are looking to offer additional services to their customers. At a time when those telcos are so threatened by the rise of various VoIP services and are looking for ways to build customer loyalty and keep the customers from leaving, Voxeo Labs' Ameche may just be the type of platform those carriers need right now.
Congrats to the team at Voxeo Labs on this launch - and I look forward to seeing what telcos will build with this new platform!
Full disclosure: I worked at Voxeo for 4 years and as a result am a small shareholder in the company. However, I would not write about the company or its products unless I thought they were worth writing about.
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