Voxeo Becomes a Conversation Platform Company: Announcing Developer Support for IM Applications

Voxeo Logo Voxeo has as its tagline “the fastest growing voice platform company”; however, with today’s acquisition of IMified, “the world’s largest hosted instant messaging application development and deployment platform”, Voxeo has become a more encompassing, “fastest growing” conversation platform company. Complementing Voxeo’s widely respected provisioning and support of hosted voice applications, this acquisition recognizes the increasing importance of Instant Messaging as both a personal and business conversation medium, especially when it comes to issues such as presence and asynchronous conversations where the conversing parties may not simultaneously be available.

Certainly Instant Messaging’s ability to combine presence and text chat has become not simply a more useful tool for personal conversations but is a more “immediate” productivity tool for informal business conversations with its ability to:

  • carry on asynchronous conversations – all participants are not always available but messages are persistent
  • deliver real time presence information
  • in many cases, archive conversations for later reference (especially useful for URL’s, email addresses and contact information)
  • eliminate the etiquette need for a courtesy “how are you?”, “how’s the weather” overhead that usually accompanies the start of any voice conversation

From the press release:

The acquisition of IMified is part of Voxeo’s strategy to enable Unified Self-Service and live Unified Communications applications that work across voice, video, SMS, USSD, IM and the mobile web. As consumer preferences drive interaction trends, IM has become a preferred communication mode, moving outside the personal realm to include business interactions. Businesses have found IM to be a low-cost, in-demand method to facilitate both customer-facing and internal communications. On average, an IM interaction is 1/10 the cost of Interactive Voice Response (IVR), and 1/100 the cost of a live agent phone calls.

I asked Voxeo’s Director of Conversations, Dan York, about whether IMified was analogous to Voxeo’s recent Tropo announcement for voice application development. He pointed out that, whereas Tropo applications are hosted on Voxeo servers, IMified applications need to be hosted on “premise-based” servers. Otherwise, with respect to issues such as programming languages supported, yes, IMified does for IM what Tropo provides for voice. Note that anyone can develop applications for free using Voxeo’s developer platforms.

Bottom Line: Combining IMified’s platform with Voxeo’s experience in supporting voice application development opens new opportunities for innovation in self-service applications. Will we see IIMR (or ICR) as an acronym parallel to IVR, for which Voxeo has built its reputation?

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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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2 Responses to Voxeo Becomes a Conversation Platform Company: Announcing Developer Support for IM Applications

  1. Dan York May 27, 2009 at 1:24 pm #

    Jim,

    Thanks for your kind words, and indeed we are building a "conversation platform" where those conversations can occur within and across whatever conversation channels are most appropriate.

    One point of clarification – the difference between the Tropo platform and the IMified platform is a bit more subtle. With Tropo, you write your app in one of the supported programming languages and that file is stored either on your web server or up in Voxeo's hosted environment. However, the application is executed in our hosted infrastructure. We retrieve your Ruby program, for instance, from a web server (yours or ours) and execute it on our server cloud. It's really the same model as Google App Engine.

    With IMified, the platform communicates with your application via HTTP. The execution of your application happens on your webserver (which could be on your premise or in some hosting environment). The IM connection comes into IMified, which connects to your application via HTTP and passes along what was received in IM, your application sends back via HTTP what should be passed back to the user via IM – and the exchange continues in that way.

    So the subtlety is in where the execution of the application occurs.

    Thanks again for your kind words,

    Dan

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