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Part 1, Olivier Sichel of Sofinnova

The Future of Voicemail

Welcome to the first in the series of videos exploring the Future of Voicemail, supported by visual voicemail experts HulloMail.

I got my first mobile phone in September 1996. I purchased it from a hovel opposite the Virgin Megastore on Oxford Street, London. After I got the handset home, the first thing I did with it was set my voicemail. I’m willing to bet it’s one of the first things you do too, whenever you’ve activated a new phone connection or joined a new company and been assigned a phone. Voicemail is an entirely ubiquitous service, provided free or inclusive for many.

Voicemail sits in the background. The vast majority of users don’t think twice about it. We use the word daily. We receive and send voicemails daily. Yet its one of the most overlooked essential requirements of today’s mobile (and landline) telephone functionality. Ever been annoyed when you’ve tried to leave a voicemail and got a ‘mailbox full’ error? Yeah. Or when you call someone and the line just rings-and-rings because, for whatever reason, voicemail isn’t active? Have you ever been abroad and phoned your friend/partner only to get their voicemail and realise that even though the call didn’t complete, you’ve been charged a pretty penny for the privilege?

And from a commercial viewpoint, what does it take to deliver voicemail services to 20 million customers on a daily basis? Why do we still need voicemail? Is a voicemail box with 10 slots simply ridiculous or a necessary restriction ? And what’s coming next? What innovation should we expect to see in the near term and beyond?

It’s these issues, questions — and more — that I intend exploring with this series.

Our first thought leader is Olivier Sichel, Partner at well-known European Venture Capital firm, Sofinnova Partners. I was particularly interested to see what he’d have to say, given his tremendous fixed and mobile experience. Prior to joining Sofinnova, Olivier was Chariman of Wanadoo, the €6.5 billion internet and directory giant. So he knows a thing or two.

Over to Olivier — here’s the video:

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Thank you for taking the time, Olivier!

I hope you enjoyed the first episode! I aim to bring you the next video in the series — Tim Rea of ePlanet Ventures — next week.

HulloMail’s support has enabled me to produce this series and to help toward keeping the lights on here at Mobile Industry Review. Therefore I would very much appreciate it if you’d take the time to familiarise yourself with the company’s services and perhaps download their app and check out their services. Their app available on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry — but it’ll also work on any handset at all.

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