Voicemail Services for business

Updated: October 10, 2019

2018. Google Voice version for enterprise came to G Suite

Google is starting to roll out an enterprise version of its Google Voice service for G Suite users. Google voice has been a long-enjoyed service for everyday consumers, and offers a lot of benefits beyond just having a normal phone number. The enterprise version of Google Voice appears to give companies a way to offer those kinds of tools, including AI-powered parts of it like voicemail transcription, that employees may be already using and potentially skirting the guidelines of a company. Administrators can provision and port phone numbers, get detailed reports and set up call routing functionality. They can also deploy phone numbers to departments or employees, giving them a sort of universal number that isn’t tied to a device — and making it easier to get in touch with someone where necessary. There’s also a spam filtering feature, which will probably be useful in handling waves of robo-calls for various purposes.

2018. LinkedIn adds voice messaging

Professional networking platform LinkedIn is adding voice messages. The voice recording feature is available via the iOS or Android app. Users can receive messages on both mobile and on the LinkedIn website. The voice messages can be up to one minute long. While LinkedIn has proven itself a powerful tool for professional networking, with particular popularity among recruiters and HR professionals, it can also feel a bit like a second overwhelming email inbox. Voice messages could prove to be a nice break from the text, but could also add a new weight to all the inbound messages users receive on the platform. LinkedIn thinks that sending voice messages on the go is easier than typing them out. Besides the asynchronous nature of LinkedIn, as compared to phone calls and voicemails, is easier for recipients of voice messages. And finally, the company believes that users can better express themselves via voice.

2018. Google Duo gets video- and voicemail

Google’s messaging app Duo now allows to leave voice and video messages when nobody picks up your call (or politely declines to talk to you). Duo users can leave up to 30-second messages and your contact will see them in the Duo app. After watching the video or listening to the message, your contact can call you right back, at which point you can decide if you want to pick up the call or just let it go to videomail, too. Google notes that all messages are end-to-end encrypted and that the update will start rolling out to Android and iOS users today, and that all users worldwide should see it within the next few days.

2017. Google Voice gets group chat and other new features

Google has launched a refreshed version of its VoIP calling service Google Voice on mobile and the web. Largely, the update is about giving the product a more modern look-and-feel, after having not received a major upgrade in years. But the relaunch also includes a few new features, like support for photo-sharing, group conversations, Spanish-language voicemail transcription, and more. In the new app, the Google Voice inbox has separate tabs for your text messages, calls and voicemail, explains Google in its blog post about the update. Your conversations will now stay in one continuous thread, which makes it easier to keep up with the messages from your contacts in a single place.

2015. Visual voicemail provider YouMail gets $5М

YouMail, a visual voicemail app, plans to use the proceeds from a $5.5 million Series B funding round to expand its user base. YouMail is a digital personal assistant that replaces voicemail on Android, iPhone and Windows Phones. It's designed to identify callers, filter unwanted calls, offer a greeting, capture contact information and provide callers alternate forms of contact.  Features include visual caller ID, automated caller blocking, personalized smart greetings, automatic replies, cloud storage, multi-platform access to messages and call routing.

2010. Skype to create new products for business

Today Skype has filed an IPO registration statement and plans to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering. Along with the IPO application Skype has published some of the their business stats and plan of its further development. It turnes out that the company is doing quite well. During the first 6 months in 2010 Skype has earned $406 million, that is approximately 25% higher the previous year. Nevertheless, taking into account that the Skype has already more than 560 million registered users (it's more than Facebook), the company's management wants to earn at least ten times more. In addition, they are worried that almost 90% of Skipe's income comes from a single service - SkypeOut. Therefore, the major objective of attracting new investments is the development of new paid of business applications. What will be those new business apps - is unknown yet. Skype currently offers 2 business products (except the SkypeOut): Skype Manager (the control panel that allows to create employee accounts, pay for them and whatch the statistics) and Skype Connect (the service that allows to integrate Skype with the corporate IP-PBX system). Recently it turned out that Skype has agreed with Cisco and ShoreTel that these PBX suppliers will resell Skype Connect to their customers. Also, soon to Skype will add group videoconferencing (for 5 persons), which are mainly intended for business and will be a paid service. It's # likely that after the videoconferencing Skype will also add web-conferencing tools to compete with Webex and GoToMeeting. As you know, Skype already provides screen-sharing tool, but it has very basic functionality and only supports one-to-one meetings. Another possible business product from Skype could be Skype Connect extension for mobile users - the system similar to Blackberry, which enables mobile users access data and services in the enterprise Skype-account. For example, the ability to sync contact list, chat history, access voicemail on the server. But the most interesting business application that Skype may create - is a virtual PBX - a system that allows to link a local number, set rules of processing incoming calls, set up a voice menu and control the the internal calls in the company. Such service would allow small businesses to operate phone calls without buying and maintaining a traditional PBX device or software. In addition, on top of such PBX service Skype could built a platform for voice applications and earn license fees just like Salesforce, Apple and Google.

2009. BT unveils Google Voice alternative, develops voice platform for SaaS

Ribbit, owned by BT (British Telecom) announced the new service Ribbit Mobile, that provides personal virtual PBX and can be linked to your existing mobile number. Ribbit Mobile's features are very similar to Google Voice - it can forward incoming calls according to your settings, send/receive sms, voicemail and transcribe voicemail. Unlike Google Voice, that only works with phone-company phones and SIP, Ribbit can also connect to Skype. And its main advantage is Web integration. Ribbit Mobile allows to call and receive calls in the web interface or using the widget. That is what Google Voice can't do. Though the new service looks very ambitious, it's only one of possible applications that can be built on Ribbit + BT platform. Last year when BT acquired Ribbit, they explained this deal with the desire to create Google Voice (GrandCentral) alternative. But now BT is going to rethink its whole voice business with the help of this US startup. Because now in the age of internet communications telecoms can't survive just selling  call minutes. Skype and other VoIP providers push the call price down and it becomes harder and harder to earn on this. So what can the telecoms offer instead? Their networks and platforms for developers, that will create voice applications integrated with web-services. So BT has the global network. And Ribbit has the platform, that allows to integrate voice services to SaaS and web applications. They have already created such voice add-ons for Salesforce, Oracle and even Google Wave. And third party developers (like SlideRocket) have already created hundreds of Ribbit implementations for their SaaS apps. The main BT/Ribbit competitors on this new Voice-for-Web market are Jajah (powered by Deutsche Telekom) and Adobe (with its Adobe LiveCycle Collaboration Service). There are also some smaller startups like TringMe and Twilio. Probably, soon Skype and Google also will enter this market.