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December 09, 2008

Voxeo Acquires VoiceObjects, Expands Cost-Saving IVR Solutions

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor

Expanding solutions that analysts say have grown even more desirable in this slower economy, an Orlando, Florida-based company that leverages IVR and VoIP to lower enterprises’ costs and boost services announced today that it has acquired a provider of self-service application development and analytics solutions.

Jonathan Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Voxeo Corporation, told TMCnet in an interview today that he acquired VoiceObjects because the company – a Germany-based group with a U.S. subsidiary in San Mateo, California – helps enterprises and large carriers create and deploy applications for the phone, especially larger, more complex applications.
“We’ve made four acquisitions over the last four years, and, looking back, the best thing about these acquisitions is the employees we’ve brought into the company,” Taylor told TMCnet. “Voxeo has more than 130 employees now, with almost 40 outside the United States in companies we’ve acquired in the last year. Two-thirds of our technical team has come as a result of acquisitions. While it’s sort of an interesting recruiting strategy, more than anything, it’s been because they had great people.”
The multi-million dollar acquisition of VoiceObjects has been in the works for about one year, Taylor said. Its workers, he said, now are part of Voxeo – a privately held, employee-owned company whose hosting and premise platform solutions, and developer services, powered by VoiceXML (News - Alert) and CCXML, are used by more than 33,000 customers.
Voxeo gains a reputable company that extends its European footprint in VoiceObjects, and comes with a list of high-profile enterprises and mobile carriers. They include: Adobe, Citibank, Hershey, IKEA, Kellogg, Postbank, SAP, Swisscom, T-Mobile, Vodafone (News - Alert) and Volkswagen.
Specifically, VoiceObjects is expected to boost Voxeo’s support for advanced application features, such as intelligent call personalization, interaction reporting and analytics and large-scale replication.
“Fundamentally, VoiceObjects’ technology is an application development environment,” Taylor said.
That can be a powerful tool in this slower economy, when companies are looking to leverage technology to cut costs and boost productivity, which are two priorities at Voxeo.
Analysts say that companies delivering self-service solutions such as Voxeo could see an increase in business, as customer self-service is itself a cost-savings technique.
According to Dan Miller (News - Alert), a senior analyst at Opus Research, the so-called “VoiceObjects Analyzer” – a real-time analysis environment that provides critical insights into self-service phone portal effectiveness and user behavior – interfaces with many enterprise data repositories and business intelligence resources.

“Voxeo’s partners and customers are destined to be delighted by the enhanced ability to monitor and refine VoiceXML-based applications to provide the best customer experience and business results,” Miller said.
For Taylor, increasing numbers of businesses with large call center staffs now are seeking to self-serve requests.
“We’re starting to see signs of that,” Taylor said. “Companies are talking about putting new self-service solutions in place. In short, a lot of folks are looking to save money in 2009.”
VoiceObjects itself brings unique solutions to the table to accomplish just that.
For example, the company enables the development of phone applications that can be deployed on a wide variety of VoiceXML platforms – as opposed to vendor-specific development solutions, such as those offered by Voxeo’s competitors.
Also, Taylor told TMCnet, the proliferation of popular mobile devices such as the iPhone (News - Alert), BlackBerry smartphones and the Google Android-based phone are bringing more kinds of interactions to end-users, because the devices include voice as well as Web, SMS and IM features.
“One of things we really liked about the VoiceObjects platform is that it went beyond enabling voice self-service interactions, and actually allows customers to build an application once that end-users can interact with via all of those methods,” Taylor said. “You’re seeing what’s called ‘unified self-service’ across all communications forms on mobile phones. We think that over the next two to three years, you’ll see significant increase in non-voice self-service interaction on mobile devices.”
For Michael Codini, VoiceObjects’ founder, managing director and chief technical officer, voice, video, text and Web self-service applications are typically budgeted as separate development projects, each with their own specialized developers and schedules.
“VoiceObjects Unified Self-Service capabilities enable the design and deployment of single applications with multiple modes of access, delivering an exponential reduction in self-service development, integration, testing and administration costs,” Codini said.

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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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