Web 2 Voice

Voice 2.0, VOIP, Social Media

Voice APIs and Revenue

Today was a slightly confusing. Phone Boy wrote a post on GigaOM about Voice APIs, asking “is there money in Voice APIs?” His premise:

But is simply providing an API to your telephony infrastructure enough to prompt the world to beat a path to your door? Don’t count on it.

Before I get to his post, a personal nit to pick. Every Voice 2.0 post outside of this blog (and possibly Thomas Howe’s) mention VOIP. VOIP <> Voice 2.0. So it doesn’t need to be brought up as if Voice 2.0 and everything associated with it (namely Voice APIs and CEBPs) is the same thing as or inevitably intertwined with VOIP.

Moving on…I think I get what Phone Boy is saying here. Just having an API is not enough, there have to be applications that will drive volume. And simply providing an API isn’t a business model for growth. Fair enough. But I think it’s not fair to pick on APIs.

When you get right down to it, call centers run on APIs. Outbound notification programs run on APIs. What the revolution that is going on right now is based on is that the APIs are now exposed. Yesterday, if you wanted an intelligent call program, you had two choices. You could do it yourself, which would carry with it a very high cost of entry as well as a high cost of maintenance.

Your other choice is to go to a company that does this type of thing, and have them build it for you. There are several downsides to this as well. For example, if you want to change the program, you have to have your partner do it for you.

Today, companies can have complete control over the behavior of their programs. At least with IfByPhone, developers can add intelligent phone calls into their applications and business processes using whatever programming language that they already know. And that is why this is just taking off.

In summary, I don’t think I can say it better than Thomas Howe:

Here’s the thing (and you imply it in your comment): the question isn’t about the existence of money in Voice APIs. All the money is in APIs. The real question is who gets it and why, and how your company can get its share of it.

Also, I highly recommend you check out Thomas’ post on the subject.

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