Over the past ten years Orlando, FL-based Voxeo Corporation has grown to become one of the largest hosts of enterprise Interactive Voice Response (“IVR”) applications, building not only tools for developing and hosting these applications but also a track record of twenty profitable quarters as a self-financed private company.
Historically Voxeo has provided, at no charge, resources for C++/Java and Web Developers to produce customized IVR applications that are then hosted at their network operations center. Their developer community has grown to over 31,000 participants. As their expertise has grown they have also developed their licensable Prophecy SIP platform for those enterprises that wish to host their own services using Voxeo’s tools.
Today Voxeo announced an expansion their development expertise, technology base and user community through the acquisition of Germany-based Voice Objects.
While acquiring ownership of Voice Objects’ technology assets, Voxeo CEO Jonathan Taylor emphasized in an interview with me yesterday that Voxeo’s first reason for making an acquisition is to acquire the expertise and professionalism of the employees. Contrary to the popular perception of making an acquisition and focusing on the technology assets, Voxeo looks for team players who can fit into Voxeo’s culture and then look at the technology synergies.
As a bonus the Voice Objects acquisition brings to the table as customers a new layer of developers; namely those who routinely develop “self-service” applications for service providers and enterprises as a full time occupation. Jonathan described Voxeo’s current developer resources as having two layers: API-based telephony libraries favored by C++/Java “low level” developers and XML-based telephony languages using Voxeo’s proprietary but simplified VoiceXML as well as other XML standards for web developers. The acquisition of Voice Ojbects introduces a higher level of object-based telephony tools, employing drag-and-drop and visual rapid development techniques.
Whereas Voxeo’s legacy tools facilitated people-to-people connections, Voice Ojbects’ toolkits facilitate the development of “self-service” applications where no human is involved in delivering or provisioning enterprise or carrier-based services. It is multimodal in that not only is voice involved but also SMS messaging and video can be brought into the application where appropriate. For example, T-Mobile Czech can easily program changes into their self-service applications reducing development times by an order of magnitude while dynamically addressing market needs.
Taylor described Voice Objects’ toolkits as having three major components: a rich development environment, unified self-service middleware – that connects customer information within an enterprise with customers who desire access to this information via voice, SMS or other modes – and, finally, extensive analytics. The analytics component gathers real customer usage data and provides justification for making application modifications based on user experiences as well as changing local market conditions. To quote Jonathan: “Business owners don’t want to build a bad experience; however, it is challenging and difficult to build applications that work well for customers.”
In closing our interview, Taylor mentioned that Voxeo, recognizing that the best way to recruit talent is through acquisitions of this nature, will be looking at three or four similar acquisitions in 2009 building up a team of “great people who understand the industry well”.
The acquisition of Voice Objects will not change Voxeo’s business model of making their developer resources available at no charge while charging either for hosting of applications or for platform licenses sold to enterprises that wish to host their own applications.
It appears that Voxeo continues to set a benchmark for operating a sustainably profitable business in the Voice 2.0 world. On a broader scale Jonathan has provided an overview of the various levels of developer segmentation and classes of tools available on the market today for creating Voice 2.0 applications.
Other posts on this acquistion:
- Vox Populi “Best Freaking Voice Platform on the Market”.
- Dan York at Voxeo: What the Voice Objects Acquistion by Voxeo means for voice applications developers.
- Michael Dinan, TMCNet: Voxeo Acquires VoiceObjects, Expands Cost-Saving IVR Solutions
- Andy Abramson, VoIP Watch: What’s New In VoIP? Lots with Gizmo, Voxeo and Fonality
Tags: Voxeo, Voice Objects. Jonathan Taylor, acquisitions