VoIP + Content = Revenue Generating Possibilities

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Tom Keating
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VoIP + Content = Revenue Generating Possibilities

I received a press release from Viseon titled "New VisiFone with Multimedia Capabilities and New Revenue Sources for VoIP Carrier Partners" which discusses a VoIP phone with a large 10.4" color TFT/LCD screen including full motion video, and the ability for "content partners" to push personalized content and information such as news, weather, sports and stock quotes to these VoIP phones.

I couldn't help but flash back to Communications Solutions Expo or maybe it was CTI Expo where Pingtel was singing that same mantra with their Java-based xpressa phones. The media was enamored with the xpressa phone saying it could spark many revenue opportunities for service providers. Now if I recall, several years ago at this tradeshow, Pingtel demoed their phones with a Pizza Hut coupon "pushed out" to the phone's display showing the possibilities for selling ad space. So having content delivered to a phone is nothing new, but as many of us know, Pingtel's xpressa phone did not spark new revenue models for phones. In fact, Pingtel sold its hardware phone business to focus exclusively on software solutions (i.e. open-source SIP PBX). Part of the problem was these phones were just too damn expensive.

So the question is, was Pingtel just ahead of its time? Is the time now ripe for interesting revenue opportunities leveraging VoIP phones' LCD displays? I can't say I know for sure the answer to that but I do have my opinion on it. We have seen how strong competition in the broadband residential VoIP marketplace has brought prices way down. It has also forced the traditional carriers to offer unlimited plans and lower their rates. Soon, prices will reach a point where it just doesn't make sense to cut them any further or companies will put themselves out of business. So certainly any kind of other revenue opportunities besides cheap "dumb voice" that can add to the bottom line will give VoIP service providers a key advantage. So in my opinion, the answer to my hypothetical question if the time is right is "Yes, now is the time to offer content to VoIP phones" Now is the time to grab market share.

Of course, the service providers will need to offset part or all of the costs of the IP phone if anyone is going to use it. That's a risky proposition since no one wants to be stuck with thousands of fancy VoIP phones with large LCD displays and spend millions of dollars if the revenue generating possibilities don't pan out. Since the telecom bust, telecom companies play it much more "safe". In my opinion, the winners in this game will continue to be those that take high risk chances. The telecom market has changed drastically and those that try and stay with the "tried and true" methods of the past will be surpassed - plain and simple. Now is the time to get a jump before someone else does.

Here's the release to help put what I wrote in context:

Viseon, Inc. (OTCBB: VSNI), a global developer of broadband personal communications solutions for VoIP, today announced the multimedia version (MM) of its VisiFone Digital Home Telephone for VoIP. The VisiFone MM enables users to view personalized content and information automatically at any time they choose, on the large 10.4 inch color
TFT/LCD screen in full motion video.

The new VisiFone is the first fully digital home telephone for VoIP services. It provides new features unique to VoIP, including digital wideband audio in the handset and speakerphone as well as TV-quality two-way video calling and on-screen VoIP feature management control. The VisiFone MM also empowers consumers to view new personalized content and information such as news, weather, sports and stock quotes. Consumers will be able to instantly view a variety of content from partners, including broadcast and cable TV networks and prominent web portals.

With the VisiFone MM, consumers will be able to view "what they want, when they want it" and even instantly interact with the content provider or sponsor on their VisiFone by audio or video call. Consumers can customize the content to be displayed on the VisiFone at chosen intervals throughout the day. For example, have the VisiFone display the local traffic report and live traffic cam feeds on demand every morning prior to their morning commute.

To aggregate content and sponsors for the VisiFone, Viseon previously announced the formation of ViseonMedia (VMN, LLC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Viseon, Inc. ViseonMedia has entered into agreements with various sponsors and marketing partners to deliver selected programming to VisiFone users throughout the globe. ViseonMedia will work directly with the VoIP carriers to develop content and information services for access by their VisiFone MM equipped subscribers.

"The VisiFone MM and ViseonMedia's exclusive programming provides VoIP carriers with a compelling tool to attract new subscribers to the rich world of digital telephony," said John Harris, Viseon CEO and president.
"The VisiFone provides the best "telephony" ever experienced. Its multimedia features and two-way videophone capabilities will show consumers that VoIP is clearly better than plain old circuit switched telephone service."

The new VisiFone MM complements the initial 5.6 inch screen version of the VisiFone announced in January, which begins shipping to carriers in June. The VisiFone MM will be available to carriers later in 2005.

For further information, please see the company websites at www.viseon.com and www.viseonmedia.com, or visit Viseon's booth # 5287 at The 2005 National Show, April 3-5 in San Francisco, Moscone Center.

About Viseon, Inc.
Founded in 1993 with headquarters in Dallas, TX Viseon, Inc. (OTCBB:
VSNI) is a leading developer and manufacturer of patented personal broadband communications solutions. Viseon products have been sold under various brand names around the world including Philips, VTEL, and Gentner. Viseon's mission is to work with carriers to enhance the consumer telephone experience by positioning VoIP as a premium service versus Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS), and ultimately replacing the analog telephone by bringing digital telephony quality to the broader public. The target market for Viseon's VisiFone is the 150 million global consumers which are projected to switch to VoIP in the next five years. Other markets for the VisiFone include corporations, universities, and government agencies. Viseon holds broadband communication related patents in the U.S. and 18 European and Asian countries and has additional patents pending. For more information on the Company, including investor presentation, please visit the Company's Website, http://www.viseon.com.

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