It used to be that you had a telephone that sat on a table somewhere in your house and it had a number. Both were anything but portable. You could call another person’s phone with their own number, but if that number was busy, you were out of luck.
The times have changed.
We now live in a world of mobile phones and disposable numbers. Ifbyphone, a company with a platform for telephone applications, is taking full advantage of these new technologies. Today, the company is launching a new native application for the iPhone at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Calif.
This application, called Voice Broadcast, will allow iPhone owners to record and send messages to as many people as they’d like on a scheduled system. We spoke with Ifbyphone’s chief executive Irv Shapiro, who conveyed why such an an application was useful. Say you’re the head of a team at work but you have to miss an important meeting because you’ll be out of town. Rather than trying to conference in, you can record a message for everyone before you leave and set it to be delivered at the correct time.
It goes farther than that. Say you want responses from individual team members, you can set it up so that each of them can reply to your message. You could also tell who listened to your message, who let your call go to voicemail, etc.
This application is important because it marks one of the first that does not use your cellular network minutes. That’s right, it’s done entirely over the Internet, yet still from your phone.
It also makes use of the iPhone’s intuitive controls and features such as its address book and calendar.
Shapiro believes this application and the 3rd party application building process on the iPhone in general will be important for his industry because it is an “easy low-friction way to learn the power of voice-applications.”
This application will be available to download for free from the new iTunes Application Store. (The company has call plans that range from free to a modest price depending on what you wish to do.) It will work on both the iPhone and the iPod Touch, further showing that you won’t need to use a cellular network in order to take advantage of this application.
Ifbyphone also plans to roll out the software to the other popular smart phones such as the BlackBerry and select Windows Mobile devices this summer.
Rivals such as Phonevite (our coverage) Ribbit, Voicestar and even GrandCentral offer some of the same services that Ifbyphone does, but none have put together the entire suite that the company offers in terms of services.
The Chicago-based company completed $3 million first round last July led by Origin Ventures and Apex Venture Partners and is now seeking an extension of that round. Shapiro provided the initial seed round of $1.5 million.
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