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Telco 2.0's 8 ingredient recipe to fix telephony

In the context of Vonage's woes, Telco 2.0 offers the following 8 part recipe for "better telephony", arguing that if Vonage wanted to differentiate themselves in the market, they would build a better communications experience.  Hear hear!

  • Available everywhere, for everyone, in any situation. You might think that mobile telephony is the last word in spreading talk into every corner of our lives, but it’s not. Vonage need to make their experience:
    • Reach new outlets. You should be able to initiate a Vonage click-to-call from any web site, do callback from any phone (as with Jajah, for example) and avoid bill international calls to your Vonage account.
    • Reach new users. Vonage could have offered high-margin devices for kids, who are today excluded from telephony because you’re afraid what will happen when your three year old starts pressing the buttons. Why can’t my kids call their grandparents whenever the latter are online?
  • Socially aware. This means allowing users to have roles and multiple personas — the “business” me, the “personal” me and the “private” me. The last may offer anonymous calling, for example, with disposable time-limited numbers for dating or auction site use. Another example might be iotum’s smart routing that understands the difference between a client calling you and a colleague.
  • The ultimate directory. Use caller name databases, automatically fill in my address book, let me search my social network as well as “friends of friends”.
  • Presence-enhanced to help users time their calls. If you knew someone was on a call already, would you have called? If you knew they were on a business trip to China and it’s 3am there, would you have called? If you knew they were in a meeting… you get the idea.
  • Enhanced privacy and security. Encrypt on-net calls. Gather data on rejected calls, unreturned voicemails, and work out who needs to be excluded from bothering users and when.
  • Improved media experience. We’re seeing BT position themselves here as the “premium audio” player with their hi-ds branding. Other examples might include audio tones (whacky noises to play during calls), ringback tones, and enhanced conference calling where you can tell who is speaking (Skype does this). Build cameras into every Vonage phone, and make “see what I see” a core feature. Press the shutter button briefly, it shares the snapshot; hold it down, we’ve got shared video. Just don’t call it a video call — let the users add or subtract pictures and video as appropriate during the conversation.
  • Integrated payment and data transfer. Partner with merchants to make the “Vonage-enhanced” calling experience a truly wonderful one, free from annoying IVRs and dictation of personal profile and payment details. (eBay might be able to execute on this with Skype and Paypal, Vonage alone would need partners). It’s like Adobe’s acrobat and your tax return: you can print it out and manually fill it in, or you can enter the details electonically into the form. Make Vonage telephony multi-modal from the start, keep the devices with a common, simple UI that avoids the fragmentation of Java mobile handsets.
  • Perfect the user interface. Make voicemail as easy to use as the iPod is. Make conference calling simple and intuitive.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • MGU April 21, 2007, 3:26 pm

    Alec, Dear boy, you must google, “hear hear”.

    Dad.

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