Web 2 Voice

Voice 2.0, VOIP, Social Media

Voice 2.0 and the long tail

There are two very good posts today from people at the forefront of Voice 2.0.  Alec Saunders (Jajah change is in the wind) talks intelligently on how carriers are finally taking notice that they need to embrace the next wave – which is Voice 2.0.  In order to fight declining revenue and smaller margins, they need to find ways to increase traffic.  Thomas Howe adds his thoughts here.

I highly recommend that you read both pieces.  The heart of the argument really makes sense to me.  The bottom line is that one way or another the cost of calling is going towards zero.  The future of the market is not in simply driving more calls.  It’s in the intelligence that can be provided.  Or, another way to say it is that it’s the apps, baby.  The long tail is the part of the graph that shows the volume that can be generated by the Voice 2.0 applications.

All this sounds great.  There are a number of Telephony Application Providers (TAPs) that are trying to capitalize in this space, my employer IfByPhone being one of them.  There is momentum – even in the last few months, I have personally seen that things that seemed foreign to non-voice 2.0 people have become more accepted (like click-to-call for example).  However, I can’t see big carriers jumping in with both feet.  That’s just not something they do.  Their modus operandi is to avoid risk, so they want to see the success first.  For them, success=$.  And as of today, the market is not yet fully developed.

Big companies like airlines, prescription providers, travel companies, and the financial industry have been doing voice 2.0 ish things for years.  United Airlines has integrated voice into several of their line of business applications (even though they haven’t really promoted it as much as they should).

Sure, while there is still an opportunity for big companies to take advantage of CEBP (Communications Enabled Business Procresses), the real sweet spot is going to be in the mobile & SMB markets.  Once rich and interesting applications really engage those markets, that’s when the carriers are going to take notice.

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