Voxeo Pumps Up VoiceObjects with Release of Version 7.4

VoiceObjects has released VoiceObjects 7.4, the latest version of the 7.0 suite that first launched in the spring of 2007.

VoiceObjects 7.4 sees some big beef-ups in unified self-service, allowing for the deployment of “multi-phone applications” that make use of text-messaging services and mobile web interaction.  The new version gives access to an open architecture that supports two-way interactive text applications via Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and Short Message Service (SMS).

VoiceObjects claims that this new functionality will allow providers to extend their automated self-service offerings, and allow users to enhance their sequential modality—that is allowing users to move between text, mobile Web, and traditional cellular telephone one right after the other. Through additional hosted service providers like Voxeo or Imified, users can also access popular communication platforms like gChat or AOL Instant Messenger.

“You build a service application and then deploy it across multiple channels simultaneously,” says Michael Codini, chief technical officer and co-founder of VoiceObjects.

“The end users can then pick and choose the modality they like most in a given situation. If you’re driving a car you might use the speech interface, if you’re traveling in the [subway] you might use the SMS or instant messaging interface,” he adds.

Version 7.4 also packages two new user roles: “Observer” and “User Manager.” The observer is able to get “read-only” access to the platform, while the “User Manager” can create and modify user accounts but can’t change configurations or modify applications, ensuring that anyone in the system isn’t given more authority than they require. These roles were a response to security concerns from the financial sector.

VoiceObjects had stressed a lot of enthusiasm about its growth in finance, despite the recent and deepening economic downturn.

According to Codini, his firm is still seeing steady demand from financial enterprises, though much of it has migrated from on-premises deployments to hosted deployments. As companies are frantically looking to cut costs, the savings of hosted become more and more tempting. Codini says the timing couldn’t be better for VoiceObjects either, considering its recent acquisition by Voxeo, a rather large software services company.

The 7.4 release is VoiceObjects’s first since its acquisition in December, and the company's already looking to capitalize on its new parent’s added capabilities.

“I think we are really turning the product in an on-demand version now, which wasn’t the case before,” Codini says. “7.4 is the ideal platform to move the VoiceObjects line into an on-demand product line.”

Codini claims that VoiceObjects will see much faster deployments of new technologies, not having to account for stabilizing and adjusting platform components on-premises—a process he says often took up to a year. Codini doesn’t see hosted going away though; rather, he sees a hybrid of hosted and on-premises solutions emerging.

“In the past people equipped their on-premises deployment really with the peak load,” he says. “And the peak load was really only reached during retail seasons, like Christmas. They can’t afford to spend this extra money anymore with their budgets squeezed….You’ll [still] have the base ports on-premises, but then you’ll have disaster recovery and overflow load that you probably outsource.”

The Voxeo acquisition may also give VoiceObjects a foothold in the U.S. market, one in which the company hadn’t been able to get real traction before. “I’m very optimistic that this is going to happen,” Codini says.

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