Voice step leads to convergence

Analysts were this week hailing 'voice' as the next 'killer app' claiming it will lead the way in the field of unified convergence (UC).

Several independent software vendors and application service providers working in the field of UC are betting convergence will be big business and voice applications will be the key.

IDC analyst Tom Gilmore believes UC is a natural progression from instant messaging and voicemail combining Web-based and phone-based technologies under a one-system umbrella giving the user both traditional message bank and real-time access.

In addition to listening to e-mail messages over the phone through a text-to-voice interface, Gilmore said real-time call management features include fax and stock information as well as the retrieval of voicemail and pager messaging.

With call screening, users can hear who is calling and choose a response as well as customise personal greetings and other features to the interface.

Gilmore said exchange carriers and ISPs want the time-to-market advantages of outsourced, wholesale or hosted solutions.

He said these services will be rebranded and sold to end users providing Telcos with churn-busting, value-added features.

"As mobility demands a higher priority in the professional and private lives of the modern workforce, infrastructure must keep up; only systems facilitating mobility while enhancing social connection will be truly successful," Gilmore said.

Dr Alice Hsin, CEO of US-based unified convergence service provider Linx Communications, said for many people their phone number is part of their identity and for business people it's a trademark.

"It can cost you business and lost time to give customers multiple numbers; our service allows the end user to have just one universal number that simultaneously rings multiple locations globally," she said.

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