This article originally appeared in the Feb. 2011 issue of Unified Communications Magazine
Unified communications, like many other technologies, originally was created for enterprises. It has been just recently that consumers are showing interest in unifying their communication services. This shift in the market is due to improvements in mobile devices and technologies, availability of affordable data plans, introduction of powerful computers in different forms, and new trends in social networking.
Users can now choose the most appropriate messaging technology, device and platform for a given time and place, which usually necessitates switching devices, running various apps and visiting different websites.
Based on a survey conducted by TELTUB Inc., 73 percent of participants would like to share photos, videos, links, documents and comments while on a call with the person they are talking to. Eighty three percent of them would also share the attachments and comments with persons other than the one on the call. Eighty seven percent would like to have threaded access to all their messages (calls, SMS, MMS, IM, etc.) in one place. More than 80 percent of users would try a new service only if it costs less than $5 per month (for a complete workable solution). The survey was conducted on 125 participants in the U.S. age 20 to 40.
The survey clearly demonstrates a strong interest among consumers to consolidate their communications in one place while having more social features at their fingertips. Giants like Facebook (News - Alert) and Google also have invested in this market. They try to keep their users on their own domain by providing various communication services through different technologies (web, phone call, SMS, e-mail, etc.) on almost any device.
Facebook recently has announced its new messaging platform that unifies its inbox, chat, SMS and e-mail into one threaded environment, entering areas previously dominated by Google’s (News - Alert) Gmail and Gtalk services. On the other hand, Google is acquiring companies that are providing social networking capabilities (Slide.com, Jambool, Angstro and SocialDeck). The two giants undoubtedly are going head-to-head in messaging technologies. Google also tried Google Wave to expand its UC capabilities. Despite its failure, mainly due to ambiguity of features and market, it announced that it would leverage Google Wave’s capabilities for other services where appropriate.
Google marked its distinction by acquiring GrandCentral. The move later paid off with numerous users who were anxiously waiting to get an invitation for the beta service. Users could use GrandCentral, now Google Voice, to consolidate their phone numbers into one and have web access to their voicemail. Google also has put all of its messaging technologies together and is now adding social messaging to become the leader in the UC market. Facebook is closely following Google, but it is missing the voice/phone capabilities. It is likely that Facebook will address this gap through acquisitions similar to Google a few years ago: Marratech (later Gtalk), GrandCentral (later Google Voice), and just recently Gizmo5 (News - Alert) (VoIP).
Based on the current trends and consumer demands, there is a gap in how telephony services integrate with other messaging technologies and devices in today’s market. To address this gap, TELTUB is offering the next generation of phone services that can interact with different messaging technologies in real time. New phone services can publish public and private feeds, communicate with major social networking sites, and interact with offline and online services (e.g. e-mail and IM). Users can view their call records on the web while still on a call and can control their calls from the web (not that they have to). They can attach pictures, links and written messages to their call records (from the web or their mobile device) and share them, real-time, with the persons that they are talking to or those not on the call.
gHome is one of the services that was included in the first release of TELTUB. It combines Google Voice with standard VoIP connectivity to create an unprecedented stand-alone full-featured phone service. gHome does not require a computer, but its users can login to teltub.com (while talking) and see their active and archived call records. They can attach pictures, links and documents to their call.
TELTUB is the home to new phone services that natively interact with social networks and other messaging technologies and devices.
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi