epiphany (as defined by Dicitonary.com): a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
I was writing this post on IfByPhone’s blog today (JumpForward and IfByPhone in partnership), and immediately after that I found Garrett Smtih’s (Who is Voice 2.0 enabling?) and iLocus (Emerging merging with the ordinary). The three posts all deal with Voice 2.0 and the services that companies are providing.
A sample from Garrett:
“For a few years now, we have all been touting the promise of Voice 2.0, the death of the PSTN and the revolution that is upon us, yet to date, this new wave has not come crashing down on the traditional voice world with the might that one might think. It isn’t for a lack of trying, but mainly from a lack of a focused vision.”
and from iLocus:
“But the value of your network is proportional to the number of people that are inside that network, not outside that network. Look at the most successful IM clients.”
I think it’s a little sad that the Voice 2.0 sector hasn’t had more success in monetizing their services. But Garrett is right. The focus isn’t there. Providing low cost phone calls is the WalMart approach to this problem. We need to add real value – true innovation. Right now, companies are fighting a battle between creating this market and monetizing it. That’s why you see the WalMart approach. Revenue needs to be there.
But what we really need to be focused on is adding voice to the places where it needs to be and really isn’t. Where does voice have an advantage that Email, IM, wall postings don’t? There are some conversations that need to happen by voice. Voice 2.0 companies can bring that to a wide audience.
So the question is: Where is that audience? It’s in social media. The audience is on Facebook, on Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, even Plaxo. Allowing people to have conversations that interest both parties is monetizable. Be it a company wanting to know if you’ll be there to accept a package and using Twitter to ask for a real time response (assuming the fail whale goes away permanently), or be it a college coach wanting to connect to potential recruits that meet specific criteria via JumpForward. Those are conversations that people will pay to have.
The real challenge is in finding people that want to talk to each other, and providing them the ability to do that.