Voxygen's Dean Elwood likes to refer to voice as a service. The attorney turned developer and integrator is much akin to pal and client Thomas Howe of Light and Electric as well as my colleague inside In Store Solutions, makers of the FreeTalk brand of products, where Howe serves as CTO and I serve as the Head of Marketing in addition to my CEO role with Comunicano.
The two clearly have their heads in the cloud, as do I, for we all see the following:
1) Voice minutes are at zero. Services like Skype, Gizmo, Truphone, Nimbuzz, Fring and Vonage have all proven that. Calls to peers are free.
2) Carriers be they wired or wireless are nothing but dumb pipes. Other than enterprise customers who buys more than basic class five features and voice mail from their carrier?
3) Data providers are the next generation. They are ignorant pipes. They have the ability and they know, but they do nothing much to cultivate and keep the customers business. How so? How many companies HOST with their cable or DSL provider? How many use their data provider to host their domain, even for mail? How many data carriers even offer that?
So when I look at companies that "get it" beyond Howe and Elwood's I see a few that you should watch out for:
1. IfByPhone (yes I'm a shareholder and their agency of record) but what this company is doing from the suburbs of Chicago is what voice as a service is all about. The IfByPhone playform lets anyone use their platform to deploy fully function voice services. A must know about for web services and interactive developers of all kinds.
2. Voxeo have a conversation about IVR or voice services and it almost always turns to Voxeo. They have built up one heck of a platform that provides developers all kinds of underpinnings that they need.
3. Twillio the upstart from Texas, these guys are all about providing the toolkits for developers to build applications.
4. VoiceSage out of Ireland, these folks are in the business of what they call voice logistics. In a nutshell, VoiceSage's platform is built around messaging and message delivery.
When you look at what all four offer, it become's easy to see why those of us, with our head in the clouds, all know where to go for services that understand service.