Ifbyphone SIPs from the Font of Lower Prices

Tomorrow, Ifbyphone, a phone automation solutions provider to small- and medium-sized businesses, will unveil a new sales model that provides advanced cloud telephony applications to customers at a price point that will remove barriers to entry.

“What is significant about the announcement is the way you access our applications,” says Irv Shapiro, chief executive and technical officer of Ifbyphone.

The company’s offerings, which include full-function interactive voice response (IVR) systems, call queuing, call tracking, and “Find Me” call forwarding, as well as voice broadcasting, store locator, and lead distributor, incorporate Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).

SIP allows carriers to connect to Ifbyphone and route certain calls to so-called “smart ports,” while retaining control over origination and termination of the calls. This is less expensive than more traditional approaches to accessing services, like a public switched telephone network.

In a written press release, Shapiro said, “Carriers who want to offer advanced services have previously faced a real investment dilemma: either make a six-figure investment gamble on hardware and software and hope that customers pay for the new features, or don’t, and hope you don’t lose customers to competitors.”

Elaborating further to Speech Technology, Shapiro says, “Historically, [competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs)] have competed with AT&T in their towns by offering better rates. You go into the local business and say, ‘We can give you a better rate for long distance than you get from AT&T. You should use us as your telephone business.’”

Incumbent local carriers, like the regional “Baby Bells” are becoming more aggressive in the face of competition from Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony from the likes of companies like Vonage, he says.

“CLECs can no longer just compete on transport price—the price of the telephone call. In addition, that CLEC is also seeing Google announce something like Google Voice where someone can provide a Google Voice telephone number and get parallel ringing of phones, emails, voicemails emailed to them, or a variety of other features, and they say ‘Oh my goodness I’m getting squeezed from both sides.’ Well, we have a solution for them. And the solution is not to spend a quarter of a million dollars.”

Shapiro claims, moreover, that these kinds of features can be offered, not only a low price but with great ease. CLECs don’t have to concern themselves with learning VoiceXML, CCXML, or even speech recognition grammars because the company has “built a whole suite of applications that do the things they want.” Companies using Ifbyphone can configure an entire IVR by using a point-and-click web interface—never having to write a single line of code.

Shapiro says that Ifbyphone is seeing revenues from thousands of customers growing at monthly rates of 10 percent to 15 percent. Moreover, he says that in the first quarter of 2009, revenues grew at a rate of more than 50 percent when compared to revenues from the fourth quarter of 2008.

“That’s in the middle of the largest recession since the Great Depression,” he boasts.

“What we have been doing is demonstrating that cloud-based voice applications have a real market, by providing them to thousands of businesses,” he adds.

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