As telephony opens up, many companies are looking to take advantage of the new possibilities communications offers. One example is Ribbit, an organization which bills itself as Silicon Valley’s first phone company. According to Crick Waters (pictured) one of the company’s founders, this tongue-in-cheek description is basically a way of saying they look at telecom from a new angle.
To facilitate this new way of looking at telecom, they have developed APIs which let you interface telephony into applications. For example, their service is interconnected to SalesForce.com and subsequently you can make calls from within SalesForce.com which go out through Ribbit’s network.
The company also has an agreement with PhoneTag meaning your voicemails can be transcribed and sent to you in email/SMS and in the above example you can even have the text of the voicemails show up in the SalesForce.com com database.
There is also a nifty application written by Joe Johnston an independent programmer which consists of a virtual Apple iPhone on your desktop written in Adobe Air with voice calling powered by the Ribbit Network.
The company will also be launching a prosumer/consumer service which is very interesting as it has hooks into Skype, GoogleTalk, MSN with AOL and Yahoo in the works. One thing you can do for example is set Skype to IM you when a call comes in. This is a great way to see if your cell phone is working well by the way.
The service is very flexible meaning you can do things like receive an IM when you have a voicemail or even recover a call out of voicemail as the message is being left. It should be mentioned you can listen to the message as it is being recorded This is on top of the typical find-me, follow-me functions of sending calls to office and/or home phones.
There is also tight Plaxo integration meaning you can keep your contacts organized via this third-party social networking service. There is also a Caller-ID “2.0”service which brings up a person’s contacts info, blog information, and other information shared through OpenSocial/standard web searches.
So when a person calls, you can immediately see their latest company information, title and other pertinent information about them… Basically all of their social networking information (YouTube, Flickr, blog, LinkedIn, Google News, etc.)
I admit my eyes rolled when I heard a company calling itself Silicon Valley’s first phone company but it is actually a good description of what the company is up to.
What can we expect next from Ribbit? It is tough to predict the future Waters says but certainly there will be more CRM implementations and the company’s multi-tiered revenue model coupled with its store concept which is similar to the SalesForce.com AppExchange meaning we can potentially expect Ribbit to be at the center of telecom/internet enablement space for some time to come.