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October 03, 2007

Bringing VoIP to Social Networking with IVR Technologies' Talking SIP

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Senior Editor


Social networking Web sites have become very popular in the past few years. For the most part, these sites are geared toward consumers rather than business users. And, while most let people stay in touch using text-based communications, voice capabilities to date has not been a major focus in the social networking market. But, this is changing.
 
In relatively recent research, The Yankee Group (News - Alert) predicted that subscribers to pure-play VoIP services will reach 6.4 million by the end of 2011 (up from about 2.8 million at year-end 2006). Meanwhile, Nielsen/Netratings estimated that use of social networking sites is experiencing almost 50 percent growth annually. Tie these two together, and it seems obvious that voice integrated with social networking is a huge market opportunity.
 
For next-generation service providers, adding voice to a social networking system is a new and potentially very lucrative revenue stream opportunity. How to take advantage of the opportunity, though? This is where IVR Technologies comes in. The company specializes in RADIUS billing replacement and SIP server technologies, and its Talking SIP platform can be used by service providers to integrate voice with social networking.
 
Talking SIP is a turnkey platform that can be integrated into a social networking portal, bringing voice capabilities to that setting. Once integrated in this way, a variety of methods can be used to initiate voice conversations.
 
Some of the network configurations that could be used to provide voice services to social networking users include Web page-enabled softphones, mobile phones, IP phones, WiFi phones and traditional phones. One advantage of Talking SIP for this type of application is that it can be set up to protect the privacy of users. Embedded links for initiating voice conversations can disclose as little or as much connection info as the user prefers.
 
For example, let’s say a social networking site subscriber is contacted by a visitor who wants to initiate a voice conversation. That visitor can click on a link to start a call, and the two parties can be connected, without either disclosing their identifying information (real name, phone number, etc.) to one another. This type of setup could be used in a variety of settings, such as on a dating Web site where protecting the privacy of users is paramount.
 
With Talking SIP, service providers also get a flexible set of billing tools. These capabilities can be used to create a variety of different billing models, such as packages, fee-based, flat rate and unlimited. Such models can be custom-tailored for specific portals and specific subscriber bases.
 
For next-generation service providers, Talking SIP offers an opportunity to drive higher margin revenues by offering differentiated applications to subscribers. Using Talking SIP to integrate VoIP with social networking is a way to attract new subscribers and retain existing ones. It also affords the opportunity to cut network operating expenses and administrative costs by consolidating and streamlining network management.
 
To learn more about Talking SIP, please visit the RADIUS Billing and SIP Server channels on TMCnet.com, brought to you by IVR Technologies.
 

To learn even more about VoIP, check TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents free to registered users.

 
Mae Kowalke previously wrote for Cleveland Magazine in Ohio and The Burlington Free Press in Vermont. To see more of her articles, please visit Mae Kowalke’s columnist page. Also check out her Wireless Mobility blog.


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"As Canada's leading wholesale provider of VoIP infrastructure to tier 1 telecommunications companies throughout the world, we continue to make investments in IVR Technologies and their products based not only on the product's growing value proposition with each new release but most importantly their outstanding customer service."
- Stephen Mundy, President, KBT Systems Corp.

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