If there’s one thing that winds me up, it’s the teleconference marketplace.
It is abysmal. Ridiculous. Ever tried organising a sodding teleconference on the fly? You can’t. It’s just impossible.
You have to arse around with pin numbers, access numbers, and 0870 take-the-piss-rate numbers.
It only works properly if you’ve got an office decked out in mahogany paneling and a very nice lady called Gemma at your beck and call to sort out all the crap in-between.
Sorry..are.. you… on… is… Is Keith?
Are you on Keith?
Right. Is Hetty on?
Oh you’re there?
Hi can anyone hear me?
Yes. Geez that’s loud. Sorry HI?
Keith, are you on?
God, it is just DIRE. Absolutely DIRE. The worst of it is, you’re often doing this with some of the most important telephone meetings in your business careers. At least, in my experience, anyway. I hardly ever do conference calls for normal business stuff.
The amount of times I have *GENUINELY* been sat for 30 minutes trying to get into a conference call or wait for very important people to get ON to a conference call…. it’s just terrible. It winds everyone up. It takes up a lot of time. And worst of all, it’s stupidly expensive.
It makes everyone look like school children with tin cans and bits of string.
It’s a market ripe for a bit of disruption.
And thankfully, the disruption has arrived. This morning. Today! In the form of Voible. I will be posting a lot on them — I have tombes of stuff on them and what they’re doing. It’s hugely exciting! I’ve been NDA’d up to the hilt for quite a while but now they’re coming out of stealth mode, I’ve been given permission to start rocking with some information.
Chief Executive is Ed Hodges and the two technical geniuses behind it are Dan Lane and Jay Fenton. I’m talking seriously technical. Past the Uber Geek and into the realms of proper double-hard-bastard seriously technical. Dan has a RFID chip in his arm that enables him to open his house front door just by walking up to it. I mean seriously tech!
I know Ed very well and as a result I’ve been able to act as voyeur as their service has evolved and taken shape (strange, watching — as an entrepreneur, I’m used to getting stuck into things not sitting back staring). It’s been quite a trial not being able to talk about them up until now.
If you’re wondering where Voible came from, the background is here on this post from November last year. I was raving about them then. I still am!
They’ve taken the unique voice platform that they’ve been working on for a good few years and have begun to ‘productise’ it for the mass market.
The first out the door is FlashConference. It is a bit of pure sex, it really is. I defy anyone to look at the service and not involuntarily react with an ‘ohhhh, coool’.
Let’s be clear: If you’ve got a mahogany paneled office in Mayfair, you’re probably ok getting your teleconferences setup by your PA. But for the rest of us working in the real-time business world where instant and collaborative communication is critical, the facility to setup a flash conference, from your handset in four clicks is invaluable.
Ed explains it thus:
One key feature of the Voible One suite is FlashConference. This allows you to make ad-hoc conference calls instantly with the advantage of taking into account the participants presence and availability, all controlled from the mobile phone. The days of booking expensive conference calls with everybody dialing in are gone. You can now create a conference call from your mobile or participate in a conference directly, all bound together in the Voible One suite.
Here’s how it works.
1. Load up Voible. It’s a 37k applet that sits on your Symbian 3rd Edition handset. (If, by the way, you’re still using a shite Motorola, upgrade yourself from the 14th Century to the 21st Century then come back).
2. Voible interfaces with your handset’s address book. Transparently. You can’t tell any difference from the normal Nokia interface. Just put a check mark next to the folk you want to conference with.
3. Vobile does the rest. Confirm these are the folk you want in your call…
4. Then hit ‘Start FlashConference’ and the applet initiates a conference call to all participants. You’re billed near wholesale rates so it’s very cheap — as cheap as possible, basically.
Or you might like to schedule a FlashConference? If you do, everyone will be notified by text and then called at the appointed time.
Or if you want to invite someone not in your phonebook, no biggie. Just fantastic. I will use this all the time.
I can imagine walking down the road and flipping out the handset and getting both Joanne and Natalie on the phone to see how they both are and deciding when and where we’re going to meet next week.
I can visualise where I’d rely on this service to quickly connect me to the management team of one of my companies, immediately, with priority, without any arsing around.
And let’s not get into mobile presence… some of the features they’ve got coming are just breathtaking.
They’re accepting limited beta applications at the moment so if you’d like to be one of the first to try this service out, fly over to voible.com and stick in your email address.
More, much, much more on them soon.