Alteva: Voice-Powered Microsoft Exchange For the Road
First, a disclaimer: Neither Alteva nor The VAR Guy are promoting e-mailing and texting while driving. But when it does inevitably happen, Alteva has a solution that’s apparently safer and more productive: the integration of voice-powered Microsoft Exchange into their hosted unified communications (UC) package. I had the chance to see — well, hear — a demo, and I came away intrigued. Here’s why.
Alteva works closely with Microsoft for voice over IP (VoIP) telephony, as we’ve noted in the past. But apart from the Exchange platform itself, using voice by way of a phone call to access calendar appointments, contact lists, and messages is all Alteva.
While I listened in, Alteva Chief Sales Officer Louis Hayner dialed in, and by talking alone he was able to search his contacts, manage meeting requests, and send e-mails. When he told the voice prompt that he was going to be fifteen minutes late for our meeting, an e-mail saying as much addressed to all participants went out immediately.
It’s not disruptive, a point that Hayner wanted to emphasize — but voice-powered Exchange is a compelling value add for Alteva’s hosted unified communications suite, and an easy way to sell enterprises on what integrating VoIP with messaging can do for you, especially when it’s packaged and delivered via the cloud.
So naturally, Alteva wants to keep this for themselves, right? Wrong. Hayner wants to make sure the technology gets into competitors’ hands, with the idea that a rising tide lifts all ships, and anything that builds demand for UC will inevitably boost their own business.
Unified communications itself is built on the concept that there’s no reason for any kind of collaboration to be separated, and there should be no technological barrier to turning a phone call into a screen share or a video chat. As a natural extension of that idea, Alteva’s voice-powered Exchange should raise some eyebrows, even if it doesn’t change the way you think about cloud services forever.
And who knows? It might avert a car accident or two when a user keeps their eyes on the road instead of on their BlackBerry when they need to check their e-mail.