From the monthly archives: June 2008

The world got its first glimpse of Fonolo at Emerging Communication Conference a few months ago. The raw video from my presentation there has been up on their site for a while, but it lacked some impact because you couldn’t see the slides I talk about or the live demo of Fonolo. (Did I mention we won Best New Product?)

Our marketing department just finished making an edited version of the video which mixes in the slides and demo. I also wanted them to add a laugh track so that my jokes seem funnier but that didn’t work out. (I swear there was chuckling in the crowd — my lapel mic just didn’t pick it up!) Enjoy…


VPF iconI will be attending the Voice Peering Forum on Monday and Tuesday in San Francisco. Looks like it will be a very interesting show. I will be on a panel titled Service Delivery Platforms: The intersect of Web 2.0 and Telecom.

I was on a conference call earlier today with the participants and the moderator, Thomas Howe, and we all agreed that the session’s title was “unfortunate”. I don’t think we’re going to talk about SDPs in the formal sense but rather in the more general sense that carriers are becoming “platforms” for advanced telephony services. And that’s a topic I’m really excited about.

The panel will include:

  • Thomas Howe — CEO, The Thomas Howe Company (moderator)
  • Garry Galinsky — Director, Product Innovation Call Genie
  • Crick Waters — SVP Strategy and Biz Dev, Ribbit
  • Pankaj Shroff — Chief Applications Architect, Sonus Networks


Just read about Skydeck on TechCrunch. From their site: “Skydeck turns your phone bill into a map of your relationships with friends, colleagues, and customers – your true social network. We show you who called you, whom you need to call, and who never calls back. And since we also keep track of how much you’re spending, you’ll never get a surprise bill again.”

According to Mashable, “Skydeck is a service that essentially scrapes your cell phone bill, and offers up all sorts of information that your wireless provider doesn’t care to share with you”.

I’ve applied for their private beta, and I’m eager to try it out. But let me point out that this won’t work with any Canadian phones — currently they only support Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, Sprint/Nextel, and T-Mobile. (Luckily I’ve got a US T-Mobile account.)

One of the pain points we identified early on in the development of Fonolo was that call history, in its current incarnation is nearly useless. We all receive the multi-page bills in the mail with tiny printing, listing every call by phone number. The unfriendly format means that the useful information contained in that data dump remains trapped on the page.


Skydeck also saw this opportunity and seem to be focusing on two particular (and quite distinct) aspects of that call record data: 1) Understanding/ predicting your bill and 2) Seeing an alternate representation of your social network. I can certainly see the value there. I also like the search feature.

With Fonolo’s focus on consumer-to-business calling, our perspective is slightly different. We wanted it to be easy for a user to answer basic questions like “How many times did I call Acme Corp?”. Today, you would have to scan phone numbers trying to match up Acme’s number. What if Acme has multiple numbers? (For example, maybe you originally called their 800 number, but then followed up by calling a different department directly.) And what about the calls made from your other phones? (Your cell phone, your office phone, etc.)

call h 2

By using Fonolo to reach Acme, you have an automatic call history generated, regardless of which phone you use. In addition, you have access to recordings of all those calls (if you opt-in) and you can even play back those calls while you’re on the phone with the company! And of course, our Deep Dialing feature means you don’t ever have to navigate Acme’s phone menu.

I’m glad to see other people tackling the challenge of creating useful call history systems, and I see both solutions existing together nicely.