Ifbyphone and Cloudvox: Telephony In the Cloud?
Ifbyphone, which provides hosted Internet telephony automation solutions, has acquired Cloudvox. The move gives Ifbyphone a voice application developer platform that alledgedly “changes the face of cloud telephony.” That sounds like hype. But we’re intrigued. Here’s why VARs should pay attention.
Ifbyphone already has several internally-developed applications like click-to-call, but the Cloudvox platform gives their reseller partners the ability to roll their own: the example an Ifbyphone spokesman gave was an in-house 411 directory in the style of 1-800-GOOG-411.
Cloudvox itself leverages the open-source Asterisk phone server for its telephony platform, and is compatible with any of its applications. Also, Cloudvox can integrate with existing applications written in numerous programming languages.
More Than Hype?
It remains to be seen if the Cloudvox acquisition is the kind of game-changer Ifbyphone thinks it is, and there is some skepticism about the deal.
“They have the right idea,” says Dan Hoffman, president of hosted VoIP solution provider M5 Networks. “Anything that makes things easier for companies to tap into the power of voice applications moves us all forward. Unfortunately, not many companies have experts on staff that can build or even integrate apps. They need a more turnkey approach. But hopefully this will spur some innovation that the rest of us can copy and deploy in ways that make it simple for the mass market.”
Equally important, this deal highlights a slow-but-steady shift in thinking across the IT channel. The hardware isn’t important in a software as a service (SaaS) world, it’s all about what you can do with your platform. It’s always about the applications.