Voxeo has as its tagline “the fastest growing voice platform company”; however, with today’s acquisition of IMified, “the world’s largest hosted instant messaging application development and deployment platform”, Voxeo has become a more encompassing, “fastest growing” conversation platform company. Complementing Voxeo’s widely respected provisioning and support of hosted voice applications, this acquisition recognizes the increasing importance of Instant Messaging as both a personal and business conversation medium, especially when it comes to issues such as presence and asynchronous conversations where the conversing parties may not simultaneously be available.
Certainly Instant Messaging’s ability to combine presence and text chat has become not simply a more useful tool for personal conversations but is a more “immediate” productivity tool for informal business conversations with its ability to:
- carry on asynchronous conversations – all participants are not always available but messages are persistent
- deliver real time presence information
- in many cases, archive conversations for later reference (especially useful for URL’s, email addresses and contact information)
- eliminate the etiquette need for a courtesy “how are you?”, “how’s the weather” overhead that usually accompanies the start of any voice conversation
The acquisition of IMified is part of Voxeo’s strategy to enable Unified Self-Service and live Unified Communications applications that work across voice, video, SMS, USSD, IM and the mobile web. As consumer preferences drive interaction trends, IM has become a preferred communication mode, moving outside the personal realm to include business interactions. Businesses have found IM to be a low-cost, in-demand method to facilitate both customer-facing and internal communications. On average, an IM interaction is 1/10 the cost of Interactive Voice Response (IVR), and 1/100 the cost of a live agent phone calls.
I asked Voxeo’s Director of Conversations, Dan York, about whether IMified was analogous to Voxeo’s recent Tropo announcement for voice application development. He pointed out that, whereas Tropo applications are hosted on Voxeo servers, IMified applications need to be hosted on “premise-based” servers. Otherwise, with respect to issues such as programming languages supported, yes, IMified does for IM what Tropo provides for voice. Note that anyone can develop applications for free using Voxeo’s developer platforms.
Bottom Line: Combining IMified’s platform with Voxeo’s experience in supporting voice application development opens new opportunities for innovation in self-service applications. Will we see IIMR (or ICR) as an acronym parallel to IVR, for which Voxeo has built its reputation?
- IMified Blog Post: Voxeo Acquires IMified
- Voxilla: Voxeo Buys IMified, Opening New Channels for Self-Service Interactivity