iotum had a pretty big day yesterday. We announced that we're teaming up with JAJAH to deliver Talk-Now to JAJAH customers, and to JAJAH enable users of the Talk-Now application on BlackBerry handsets. For iotum, this means access to a substantial and large audience of potential Talk-Now users. And for JAJAH, it's an opportunity to satisfy growing enterprise demand for their services. According to JAJAH's Frederik Hermann:
For JAJAH, this brings added value and functionality to our Enterprise Mobile customers. Companies have been coming to JAJAH and asking us to help them lower their telephone bills – some of which are in the millions of dollars. Now with the iotum / JAJAH solution, workgroups using Blackberry's save two important ways. First, they can tell who is available to talk just by looking at their BlackBerry screen, thus eliminating phone tag – and second their calls will only cost pennies a minute.
Frederik's comments about the benefits of the iotum / JAJAH partnership are dead-on. With Talk-Now, adoption happens at the work-group level. One person brings the application into their environment, and invites their circle of business colleagues to participate, setting off a wave of adoption within a specific business or social network. Now, those workgroups have one more reason to adopt Talk-Now, which is inexpensive JAJAH calling!
Some customers will save a substantial amount of money; especially those in places like Europe where the incoming call isn't charged, and those who are able to purchase calling plans that provide unlimited incoming calls for a monthly flat fee, such as the Rogers unlimited incoming calls plans here in Canada.
For now, what this will mean is that later this week we will push an update to Talk-Now users that contains a simple user interface modification; when you determine that someone is available to talk, you will be able to call with JAJAH instead of the cellular network. Then your phone will ring, and the other parties phone will ring (just the way JAJAH works today on the web), except that you will have initiated the call from your mobile handset. Talk-Now users who aren't JAJAH customers already will have the option to sign up from within the Talk-Now application too.
When I first chatted with Roman Scharf and Don Thorson in the spring of 2006, they were just launching their new service. At the time, Roman was tossing out the label Voice 2.0 in his conversations, and we discovered that we had mutually arrived at a very similar vision, but from different paths.
I had the good fortune to meet up with Frederik at the Etel conference this past February. In conversations during the subsequent weeks, our teams discussed many more presence enabled applications, including a wishlist item for many Talk-Now users, which are presence enabled conference calls. Yesterday's announcement is just a first small step.
Writing yesterday, GigaOM's Paul Kapustka has called this announcement a "peanut-butter-and-chocolate" matchup, which is what we both see too. It's a win for us, a win for JAJAH, and most importantly a win for our mutual customers. Hope you all like it!