iotum ain’t stoppum!

iotum’s free conference call app, just gets better and better!

Alec Saunders  announced today a load of new features which really turn it into a great tool for business. I have even gone as far as suggesting it as a conference bridge to  international companies by pointing local phone numbers to the Free Conference Call number.  Here is Alec’s description –

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, as we’ve been jamming new features into the iotum FREE Conference Call application for Facebook.  We’ve reached an inflection point where usage is really starting to ramp, and feature requests are beginning to pour in.  That’s meant lots of work, especially in support of teleseminars, where a number of seminar leaders are now starting to use the FREE Conference Call application.

Last night I demo’d our latest release for the Ottawa DemoCamp crowd.  It went live just a few hours before the event, and it was chock full of new features and enhancements that people had been asking for.  Here are just a few.

The live wall.   In real time, the information you type into the wall is displayed on the screen. This is particularly useful as a back channel for conversations that are occurring during the call. Participants can put questions on the wall, or add URL’s or other information that might be talked about during the call.  We knew this was going to be big, and it’s already getting rave reviews.  This feels like a Facebook first.

A waiting to talk queue. We’ve had the ability for participants to “raise hands” for a while, but it’s been difficult to know who raised their hand first.  Now, as participants raise hands, they are automatically moved to the front of the list of people who are on the call. This allows a host to know exactly which participants want to talk, and in what order they requested. As more and more people start to use the FREE Conference Call application for multi-party podcasts (we call them con-casts), this feature will allow people to run talk-radio style call-in shows and more.  For an example of how this works, tune into the SquawkBox at 11 AM this morning.

In addition, all of the elements on the page are now collapsible, so that you can get unwanted items like invite information out of the way during the live call. All of the non-attending participants are now located at the bottom of the page also, so that anyone who has RSVP’d, but doesn’t show up, doesn’t clutter the call window.

There are numerous other minor enhancements as well, such as the way that the application rearranges windows depending on whether it’s before, during or after the call; or the new layout of the windows that allow you to more easily find the recordings and get help on the application.

All in all, Howard and I are very proud of what the iotum team has accomplished.  Go check out the application and let us know what you think.

Lyppit or Ribbit

Erik Lagerway, VoIP entrepreneur  and Co-Founder & CEO at Gaboogie (the home of Lypp) started yesterday a discussion comparing Ribbit with the Lypp API. While I am not sure if this was Erik’s intention, Andy Abramson turned on the fire, by describing Erik’s post as extremely combative.

“… has taken the gloves off, grabbed the Ribbit guys by the jersey and just given them a pounding”

I see it in a different light. Both companies should be applauded for  developing Voice 2.0 platforms. But they are different. Ribbit is a high profile VC funded company, while Lypp seems to be low profile and self funded (correct me if I am wrong). Ribbit  bills itself as revolutionary  while Lypp just gets the job done. You might compare the two to a flashy sports car and a Chevy pickup. If you are a handyman you may go for a night on the town with the sports car, but you still will drive your Chevy for  your day job.

Is this a voip version  of The  Tortoise and the Hare?  If so who will win? Both I hope!

Tea or Coffee? Talk or Type?

Since the cancellation of Boeings Connexion service a year ago, the option of making voip calls from a plane was muted. Recent announcements of new broadband services in the air, have brought back the question will talk in the sky fly?

PC World’s VoIP Blogger, Kathryn Vercello,   raises the problem of “Chatty Cathy”. While Andy Abramson thinks it is a great idea. As Andy described I have also found voiping on the plane to be a novelty and a conversation opener. However if it spreads it could be a real pain.

How would you prefer to spend your transatlantic flight on the way to an important two day business meeting, sleeping or listening to your neighbor chat?? In the Age of IM, isn’t instant messenging a powerful enough tool to use during  your flight? After all even on the ground, IM and text messenging has cut tremendously the amount of voice conversations we have. Flying is tiring enough. Please don’t take away the little hours I have to sleep.

Hey, stewardess – where is my Please Do Not Disturb sign??

Over a Million iPhones MIA…

Would you believe that over a million iPhones are missing in action? The VoiP IP Telephony blog reports on this discrepancy.

Apple claims slightly over 3.7 million iPhones were sold in 2007 — yet AT&T this week revealed it ended the year with “just at or sightly under two million iPhone customers”

Obviously they have been (gasp) unlocked. Makes me wonder if this was part of the original Apple plan and how these numbers effect Apple’s business plan. Did  Apple really expect that iPhone demand would be limited to only AT&T customers? I strongly doubt it.

Yes! You Can Start Your Own Telephone Company

When we started out last year at the Flat Planet Phone Company offering to help you to start your own phone company, we knew it would be interesting, but we did not know how interesting…

Currently we have customers in the USA, UK, Africa, Israel and Europe. It is really exciting to work with different people, cultures and needs. While different customers have different needs, we have 2 basic programs.

Standard Flat Planet Program This is our basic program, $199 a year and you  have your own customized phone company with your own branding, on a partition of our server You have the full run of the system and can set up as many accounts as you want. The only charges you will see are based on usage, so you can go out and start selling right away. Different customers sell different services. Some sell hosted PBXs to the SMB market, some sell int’l calls from cellphones, and some sell calling cards or call centers.

Premium Flat Planet Program This is our program for ISPs and other big voip resellers. Here the cost is higher but gives you your own servers. As you grow you can save a lot of money.

Startup costs are $9995.00. For the $10k you get all the hardware and software you need to become your own provider All you need to add is hosting, and bandwidth. your ongoing license is only $1995 a month. Included in this price is 2 days of onsite training and ongoing maintenance and support. The only expenses you will have are origination and termination of calls.

We usually offer these 2 plans. However as a startup we are flexible to customize a plan for you. It can be done. You can start your phone company. So, do not let that dream go unfulfilled – Start Your Own Phone Company Today!

Om is back with a $29.5m post

Our favorite tech blogger Om Malik is slowly coming back from his “medical episode” as he calls it. Today he posts about WordPress.com’s parent company raising $29.5m

Matt Mullenweg, founder of Automattic and creator of open-source blogging system WordPress, stopped by my apartment earlier this week. Matt, who is one of my closest friends, brought his Texan sense of humor and all-around good cheer, both of which were much needed following my little medical episode. While we were chatting, he let it slip that Automattic had raised a whopping $29.5 million in a Series B Round of funding, including a strategic investment from The New York Times Co. True Ventures led the round, which includes previous investors Polaris Ventures and Radar Ventures. (Full disclosure: both Automattic and GigaOM are backed by True Ventures.)

Om, good to see you back and congrats to Matt. We use WordPress and love it!