Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Telco 2.0 platform, Jajah,Ribbit and Broadsoft

Jajah announced that their managed service platform shall cater yahoo’s 97 million IM users. That’s freaking a lot of users and indeed a great achievement for jajah folks. This doesn’t include the already amassed 10 million users of jajah. This is just phenomenal. Compared to other Voice App startups that were solely building voice widgets for Social networking, jajah always stood out and showed how to make money. This announcement has been such a big deal that, every feed I read talked about jajah. It’s a jajah fatigue to me :-). Well, definitely worth it. I have been following jajah for quite sometime, these guys are just amazing. Did they invent rocket science? No! But, they built a product that users want to use and pay for.

I thought of looking at this whole platform from a different perspective. Off late, most of the startups have started building Voice and Messaging platform. Looks like building Voice and Messaging platform for other developers to leverage the platform is becoming the next hot thing. At least, it looks like that.

Here are some of the players that are supporting this kind of platform( I just picked some of the popular ones)
Ribbit- Amphibian
Jajah – jajah managed service
Broadsoft - Broadworks platform

Ribbit provides a complete platform that can be used to build a mashup of voice and messaging application. I still don’t understand their claim of being the Silicon valleys first phone company. It’s a marketing gimmick that very few would buy it. These guys have built a carrier grade soft switch, which is approved/verified by Lucent. Using their flash libraries users can build voice and messaging Web apps. Apparently, some of the ribbit folks came from a soft switch startup, which explains their carrier grade soft switch pitch. They support both consumer (Amphibian) and enterprise model. For the consumer model, the revenue sharing deal seems interesting; 70% money developers take and 30% ribbit.

Jajah’s managed service has all the relevant modules to deploy any kind of voice and messaging applications. With the yahoo deal, jajah definitely leads the pack in this space. In fact, this is a good validation point for other startups trying to play the niche. I couldn’t get more information about the developer program for jajah managed service platform.

Broadsoft Xtended Developers Program provides and application development portal(Developers Broadsoft ) using which developers can create voice mashups. These mashups shall be made available to nearly 300 service providers in 56 countries and their six million customers through the BroadSoft Xtended Marketplace (Marketplace broadsoft). This looks like a Tall promise to me. Using this platform, developers have already built applications for facebook and salesforce. Selling anything to carriers is a herculean task. I would rather build something for consumers than carrier. Many of my previous startups closed down selling products to carrier. Alec has some good insight on this.

So who is going to be the winner in this space. Well, jajah already has a big lead with yahoo as their biggest customer. This definitely gives them a big leveraging point compared to other competitors. I guess it’s too early to predict the twitter of platform business. Nevertheless this is indeed a very good business strategy for startups that want to play a bigger role in the voice business. All that said, one thing is for sure, developers will have a bigger role to play for these platforms to succeed.

Some of the other startups playing the platform game are:
AOL open voice ( Boy, Alec has an interesting story about AOL open platform. After reading the article, I wouldn’t venture into doing anything with this platform. Thanks Alec)

Oh, BTW, some of the operators like BT Web21C are themselves playing the platform role. More on this later. Stay tuned

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Khyle said...

I just wanted to point out that my company, IfByPhone is also a player in this market.

I think all of the companies you mention add value to the Voice 2.0 or Telephony Application Platform marketplace.

One thing that I'd say is that I'm not sure there has to be a single winner in this space. Based on the very different approaches and target markets these companies have, I think it's very possible several will come out as major players.

Particularly, as the cost of phone calls goes down, there will be a larger focus on the intelligence these companies can provide.

Paul Sweeney said...

super posting. While not a "platform to develop an entire suite of end to end voice and messaging" we at VoiceSage ( have what many people believe to be, a very good take on how to deploy real life services on a voice and messaging platform. You can just log in for a demo, or I can organise a walk through webinar with you. Look forward to the next posting. And, Hi Khlye, hope you are enjoying Lost!

Anonymous said...

Platform per se is a commodity business that is sold to the developers. To me, these companies couldnt invent the next big killer app for voice or messaging and they want the poor developers to come up with ideas. Losers!

omfut said...

Thanks for the information. I will look at ifByPhone. I knew about ifByPhone, was not aware of the platform support. Will update my post. Send me some details about the platform. Would love to understand your platform.
Yep, I agree with u on this. It’s a big market segment and for sure there is room for many players.

Thanks for the comment. Yep, would love to look at your solution.

Platform is more powerful than building apps. Look at the number of applications that are available in the market compared to carrier grade platforms. I can bet there are very few platform providers. Why? Because it’s damn complicated to build one


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