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November 01, 2007

Free Calls on Facebook, Courtesy IVR Technologies

By Tom Keating, Chief Technology Officer and Executive Editor


Originally posted on Tom Keating’s (News - Alert) VoIP & Gadgets Blog.
 
Are you looking for a way to make free phone calls on Facebook (News - Alert)? Well, IVR Technologies has what you're looking for. Rich Tehrani (News - Alert) wrote an excellent overview of IVR Technologies that is worth reading for background on the technology used. He spoke with Barry Sher (News - Alert) at IVR Technologies last year and discussed how the company developes SIP applications.
 
“One of their products is called Talking SIP which is a software only service that calls anywhere -- any time via SIP,” Tehrani wrote. “As Barry describes it, customers bolt up to Level3 or Teleglobe and they peer via SIP."

Sher explained how the company’s standards-based, back-end technology, which includes a real-time media server, billing server and application server, can create some interesting applications. And now, because of this standards-based approach (including SIP), the company has integrated Talking SIP into Facebook. The integration with Facebook is achieved through a voice services application dubbed “callme” that allows free voice calling between friends using Global Telelink’s voice termination network.

At the click of the mouse within Facebook users can talk with each other anywhere in the world for free—it’s on IVR Technologies' dime! (or Global Telelink’s dime). I find it interesting that the free calls are global and not limited to specific countries. That's going to quickly create an expensive for IVR Technologies to foot. The service leveraging VoIP, no doubt, but it still has potential for abuse. Perhaps the company will initially offer it free anywhere in the world and then limit the countries. Although, Jajah has been offering free global calling for quite some time now.

The callme application does not require any special hardware or software since it uses regular landline or mobile telephones. Users simply load the callme application onto their Facebook profile page either by invitation, referencing a friend's instance of the application, or from the application directory (http://apps.facebook.com/ivr_callme).

After you've entered your contact phone number the first time, you are configured and able to start instantly receiving calls from your Facebook friends. Importantly, whenever calls are initiated from the profile page both parties are joined in conversation without disclosing either party's actual telephone number. The callme application also provides several access control modes to allow it to run in invite-only mode or in open mode with the option to silently block specified users.

Finally, for advertisers and marketers, the callme application offers an extensible platform for targeted advertisements that includes the following features:
 
User Targeted Advertisements. Play advertisements based on the calling party's profile information (e.g., age, gender, education, network affiliations, and geographic location) for targeted, user-relevant advertisements.
 
Voice Ad Placement. Play advertisements during the ring phase and/or at the end of the call.
Immediate or Postponed Call Transfers. Should the calling party desire more product/service information, the call can be transferred immediately to a call center or after the call with the friend ends.
 
Additional Web-based Advertisements. A sponsor link is placed on the user's call page, once the call is initiated, for another branding opportunity.
 
Call History Detail. Historical logs of placed calls are available on the user's history page, providing call detail information and a link to the sponsor of the call.
 

Want to learn more about the topic covered in this article? Check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, a collection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP communications industry. This information is free to registered users.

 
Tom Keating is Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Technology Marketing Corporation, and Executive Technology Editor/SEO Director for TMCnet.com. He also blogs for TMCnet here.


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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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