Newcomer InVox Takes on Skype, Cisco in Telecom Space

There’s a new player in the business communications service domain, with the debut of Push2Call, an innovative, cloud-based voice widget which enables businesses to receive calls from web visitors around the globe for free. InVox, or the Intelligent Voice,  offers business clients a series of  advanced features such as speech recognition, multiple extensions for departments and employees, call recording, CRM integration with Salesforce, surveys/polls, call reminders and automated scheduling.

“Push2Call transforms the field of business communications by giving companies the valuable credibility of a local number (or numbers) in an individual country. This free benefit offers a sense of intimacy – a presence within a region’s specific calling code – that resonates with consumers and other businesses that want to partner with companies locally. (…)

“For small businesses, Push2Call immediately balances the competitive landscape, changing the way entrepreneurs reach potential vendors and the public in general. This distinctive service represents a shift – a celebrated change – in the use of business telephony as both a source of new technology and a means of global – and local – outreach” says Manohar Chapalamadugu, CEO of InVox.

In order to keep up with newcomers such as InVox that brings a fresh feel at reasonable costs (or free, as in Skype’s case), Cisco decided to lower the price for the video chatting service to $100/year or $10/month. The company also made public that during the summer of 2011 will launch a PC version of their ūmi Connect video software, as Cisco used its clients to for the price of $400.

Instead of relying on sound experience and portfolios of renowned clients as Cisco does, competitor Skype seizes opportunity in Apple’s mobile devices and launched live video calls to iPhones and iPads. Even the timing for the app launch was perfect, given  that Skype made efforts to deliver it by the New Year’s Eve, the biggest day of the year for video calls. Two days ago, Skype revealed its display ads initiatives, to appear on the user’s home  tabs in selected countries, the USA, UK and Germany  among the first.

“The majority of people who will see ads are our non-paying users. We’ll test and evaluate what is appropriate for both our paying and non-paying users. Advertising will help us continue to develop our business and provide value to our users, as we invest in an ever-improving Skype user experience, and more features and products across more platforms,” a Skype spokesman told InformationWeek.

Going back to internet-calling services, it is important to note the trend adopted not only by Skype that approached the mobile devices from Apple, but also by Google Voices that is set to release an app for the Xoom tablet.  While InVox is focused on the business sector, we can see that the digital era for telecommunications is developing broadly across the enterprise and consumer sector.  With Skype and Google Voice in particular, we’ll see emerging monetization trends around telecommunications as well.