Skype Partners Answer Jeff’s Call for Innovation in Voice Services

Business solutions from Skype partners demonstrate innovation and disruption built around Skype’s unique infrastructure.

This past Monday a very frustrated Jeff Pulver put out a Call for More Innovation in Voice Services. A widely acclaimed VoIP industry pioneer, Jeff has long recognized that VoIP and associated IP-based services provide a platform for offering value-add to facilitate both business services and build social networks through voice-enhanced applications. At a panel discussion last Friday called :"Where are the VoIP Services?" Jeff reports:

"… From my perspective, I didn’t want to hear about a service that was simply a variation on Call Forwarding and/or Voicemail. What I what I was looking for was something different. Something cool. Something that truly helped to redefine communications. But I didn’t hear about anything remotely interesting. So, I answered the question by suggesting to my fellow panelists and to the delegates in attendance that "they had no guts". That they failed in taking advantage of the IP based platform presented to them to deliver innovative services and instead chose to take the easy way out and simply use their platform to replicate the same services that TDM based systems gave us. That they decided to build equipment for the telcos where the money was and in the process sacrificed empowering the communications revolution and our ability to deliver services never before possible without the advent of IP. [my italics, underliine and typo edits].

I say that the outcome of this panel discussion that Jeff decries happened because nobody looked at the Skype ecosystem for examples of VoIP Services . In the Skype ecosystem we can see the recipe for a foundation for innovative IP-based services:

  • Start with a full real time conversation platform that combines voice, presence and text messaging.
  • Start with a real time conversation platform that is enhanced with conferencing, video, call transfer, call forwarding, voice messaging and file transfer.
  • Start with an IP-based ecosystem that has a set of API’s to facilitate application development and mashups
  • Start with a platform for which hardware has been developed to take advantage of many features of the platform.
  • Start with a platform that can be accessed via not only Windows, Mac and Linux PC’s but also USB phones, PC-free phone sets, mobile phones, Blackberries (here and here) and the Nokia N800 Internet tablets.

Alec Saunders, in his Voice 2.0 Manifesto, points out that the value-add in voice will be the applications that embed voice. And we are seeing the outcome of this Manifesto in the Skype partner applications that are evolving based on the Skype platform:

About Jim Courtney

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