For those of you who do not yet know Ramaprasanna Chellamuthu (Rama), he has a great summary of his exploits on slideshare. He’s also the founder and CEO of GotoPal, which has just launched Smart Voicemail at TechCrunch Disrupt. The focus is initially Smart Voicemail, but the roadmap moves to Rama’s vision of smart personal assistants, we’ll talk more about that in later weblogs.
Today’s voicemail systems remain trapped in the 1970s of those magnetic tape recorders. The phone rings and rings, and then clunk, wur, wur, garbed welcome greeting, click, pause, deafening beep, and then silence, where you’re expected to leave your voice message, and then silence afterwards when no one calls you back as so few people check voicemail, especially these days. In 40 years the service has not changed, neither has the pricing. Verizon has a ‘friendly’ button on their voicemail app that offers voicemail for $2.99 per month. Every time I see it, it is pisses me off as it shows VZ are their own worst enemy. They’re taking $200 a month from me and they want me to pay $3 per month for what should be a basic bloody part of the service.
Anyway, bottom-line is there’s much room for improvement in voicemail. This creates the opportunity for GotoPal’s Smart Voicemail to create something modern, integrated and empowers both caller and callee to successfully communicate. One of the things Rama found in his research is how frustrating callers find the wait to leave voicemail. And the frustration people have given all the calendar, status and contextual information available that voicemail should be used to help people get in contact when appropriate. The options are endless in how a modern personal assistant can give us more time for our real-life and manage our digital-life, this is GotoPal’s vision.
I asked Rama why he decided to use Telecom APIs, “We use Telecom APIs as it saved us over 18 months in development so we reached the market faster. For a start-up speed to market is critical as we use less cash to get Smart Voicemail into our customers’ hands. For any communications related service, and lets face-it communications is fundamental to most services and businesses, Telecom APIs mean we can focus on the service and the customer, we can avoid all the difficult and time-consuming network stuff.”
A user downloads the Smart Voicemail app, its available here in the App Store, and the client sets up the forwarding rules to Tropo, and uploads the contact list so people have names for people that called them not just numbers. It’s not just an app, but an entire voicemail system in your phone and in the cloud that is always available with just a push of a button. From scheduling meetings to timed status messages to let your caller know why you can’t answer the call.
On why Rama selected Tropo, “Firstly, the Tropo API is just easy to use and well-written, with exceptionally powerful features. Tropo is by far the most reliable cloud communications platform on the market, and how they built the platform means latencies are small and most importantly bounded. This all leads a great experience for our Smart Voicemail service.”
Rama went on the refine his point on selecting Tropo, “Their support is unparalleled in my experience. Across all the service providers we use, Tropo is the most responsive by far. To any question or query they respond in a couple of minutes, and it’s resolved in less than 10 minutes. If only all my vendors had such a performance. And they’re helping us get the most out of Tropo, they understand what we’re trying to do with Smart Voicemail, and are there showing us ways to make our service better with Tropo, it’s a great partnership.”
On advice Rama would give to developers in selecting a Telecom API provider, “Talk to others that are building applications and services using Telecom APIs; critically ask about their experiences in support and performance of the APIs, these two factors are critical for your customer’s experience.”