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Ribbit, which bills itself as “Silicon Valley’s first phone company,” has been getting a lot of positive attention. The Mountain View startup has created a platform that allows developers to integrate users’ phones into their web applications with minimal fuss. Tomorrow, Ribbit plans to launch Ribbit for Salesforce, the first big showcase of what its platform can do.
As the name implies, Ribbit for Salesforce is an enterprise application that brings a number of useful voice features into Salesforce’s customer relationship management service. Although Ribbit can integrate all of your phone numbers into Salesforce, Enterprise General Manager Greg Goldfarb says the product is particularly groundbreaking when it comes to mobile. Not only is Ribbit the first company to offer mobile voice automation in Salesforce — it’s actually the first product that brings together mobile voice automation and any kind of software-as-a-service.
In a nutshell, Ribbit for Salesforce transforms phone calls into another data object that users can interact with. It automatically logs all calls and voice messages; users can then see all of their voice correspondence with a specific customer, or all correspondence related to a specific campaign. Ribbit can also transcribe your calls and messages, making them searchable and easily readable when you’re in a meeting or tight for time. It even includes a phone emulator, so that you can make or receive calls while within Salesforce from any of your numbers — particularly useful if your cell phone is dying or you can’t get any signal.
Chief executive Ted Griggs says Ribbit for Salesforce was designed to show off the platform’s enterprise capabilities. There’s certainly room for developers to create similar offerings with other CRM, SaaS and platform-as-a-service products, such as SugarCRM and Oracle On Demand. And it looks like the Salesforce showcase may be a nice little revenue generator itself. Seventy companies signed up while Ribbit for Salesforce was in private testing mode, and some of them have already started paying subscription fees. The basic rate will be $25 per user per month, but that only covers five transcriptions. Since transcriptions are one of the most useful features, I bet a lot of customers will be signing up for the voice-to-text upgrade, which costs an extra $10 per user.
Ribbit will be be launching a consumer showcase product, called Amphibian, in June. With 4,000 developers using the platform already, it looks like the company is well on its way to building a thriving community.
Update: From some of the talk I’ve heard, it sounds like like I need to be crystal clear about the fact that VentureBeat did not break this story, and did not break embargo on this story. We only published our article after several other venues had done so, including IDG and Mashable.
This is probably too much “insider baseball” for most of our readers, but it’s important that everyone understands that we take news embargoes very seriously. I’ve never broken an embargo, and to the best of my knowledge, VentureBeat hasn’t either.