Tuesday, January 9, 2007

TalkPlus Grand-Slam

by alec on January 9, 2007

TalkPlus announced a grand-slam selection of new features yesterday at CES.   These features are packaged up into a Basic and a Pro offering, as follows:

TalkPlus Basic Plan

The TalkPlus Basic Plan consists of the following features:

  • TalkPlus Number – Get a new, separate number on an existing mobile phone. Subscribers can both send and receive calls with it, so it works just like a regular mobile number.
  • Call Screening – Subscribers can easily screen calls by setting up rules like automatically sending callers to voicemail, to a busy signal, or to another phone number.
  • Advanced Voicemail – Every TalkPlus Number has a unique voicemail box, with special features that make it easy to find and manage voicemail.
  • Contact Center – The web-based TalkPlus Contact Center allows subscribers to easily manage their phonebook, review voicemail, and set up call screens.

TalkPlus Basic Plans start at less than $9 per month.

TalkPlus Pro Plan

TalkPlus Pro takes into account the complex lives and communications needs of busy professionals by providing multiple numbers and advanced features.

TalkPlus Pro subscribers receive the following additional features:

  • Multiple TalkPlus Numbers –Subscribers can get up to ten new numbers on their mobile phone, from area codes throughout the United States. All numbers will have their own voicemail and call history, and are easily accessible from a single mobile phone or web browser. Incoming calls through the TalkPlus service are announced and caller ID displayed, so subscribers can answer the phone appropriately or route the call to voicemail, a busy signal, or other responses depending on circumstances.
  • Mirror Numbers –Subscribers can clone a home or office number onto their mobile phone. This feature allows users to present an alternative caller ID when making calls. Up to ten Mirror Numbers can be added to one mobile phone.
  • Conference Calling – Subscribers can make up to 10-way conference calls directly from their mobile phone at low cost.

A good portion of their focus continues to be on using phone numbers creatively.  With their new mirror numbers (present any caller-ID you wish when making a call), and disposable numbers, they appear to be setting themselves up to compete with services like CraigsNumber and Jangl.  With VoiceMail, the Contact Center, and Conference Calling, though, perhaps their target is really the unified communications services like GrandCentral, or even bigger fish like the carriers who pay lip service to advanced services, but never deliver.

Makes you pause, doesn’t it?

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Virtual web hosting companies have been a feature of the Internet landscape for quite a while.  The model is a pretty simple one – company A sets up a big web hoster, and then for a few hundred dollars a year, sells the right to rebrand that web hoster to hordes of web hosting wannabes.  The resellers do the heavy lifting on the marketing, and the hoster reaps the benefits of multitudes of customers, albeit at wholesale rates.

The Flat Planet Phone Company (disclosure: an iotum partner) is going to do exactly the same, but for VoIP.   Chief Flattening Officer (lovely title) Moshe Maeir has recently thrown the doors open on his beta, inviting anyone who wants to become a VoIP service provider to use his switch and infrastructure for free.  That’s right, for a limited period of time, while they’re testing, you can be a VoIP service provider, gratis.

Moshe’s pitch is pretty seductive.  For $199/year (when they’re out of test), and less than an hour of your time, you can become a VoIP service provider.  For that, you get:

  • Your own Partition on their advanced Soft Switch
  • Your own Branded Web site
  • Integrated Billing system
  • Sell Hosted PBX extensions
  • Sell Disposable Numbers
  • Sell Hosted Recording Services
  • Sell phone numbers from 30+ countries
  •  Integrated with the iotum Relevance Engine
  • … a bunch of other services too…
  • Hmmm… you go out there and sell to your hearts content.  They handle all the back office.  Sounds like a sweet deal to me.   Moshe should do well.

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    How to exploit the power of your network: LinkedIn Answers

    January 9, 2007

    How often in your business day have you picked up the phone and asked a half dozen people for advice?  If you’re like most of us, it’s a pretty regular occurrence. The good folks at LinkedIn have finally incorporated a feature which likely should have been part of the original design — the ability to […]

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