80 Million Users World Wide and Growing
3.5 Billion Voice Chat Minutes Per Month

From Calling to Sprawling: Making the Transition from Traditional Calling to Social Communications

Date posted: June 21, 2012 by Yvonne Gaudette

Since the invention of the telephone in the 19th Century, we, as a society, have been working toward expanding our avenues of communication. At first it started out as making improvements to the basic landline telephone, followed eventually by the creation of computers in the 1950s. By the 1990s, the Internet and cell phones began the revolution of anytime, anywhere communication currently available. Today, consumers are beginning to further transition from traditional calling methods to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and online communications systems.

The idea of making phone calls through the Internet is not a new one. In fact, the concept of VoIP has been around for more than 15 years. It wasn’t until the new millennium when VoIP usage was both functional and affordable for companies and everyday consumers.

Compared to traditional calling methods, VoIP and Internet chat options like Bobsled by T-Mobile—powered by Vivox— offer advanced benefits, such as:

  • Un-tethering yourself: There’s freedom when consumers can immediately feel the restraints of data plans and landlines removed from the communication process. Vivox offers a way to communicate how, when and where you want no matter what platform. T-Mobile’s Bobsled – powered by Vivox – is one of the most downloaded apps on iTunes and is a universal way for consumers to communicate. The Vivox platform empowers Bobsled users to easily message or call for free across devices, countries, social networks, operating systems – and all mobile carriers.
  • The Green Wallet Effect: When it comes to cost, it’s almost impossible for consumers to find a better deal than with online communications. As adoption continues to grow, one luxury is that calling online is typically more economical than traditional plans.  In addition, international calls and broadband Internet connections can make PC-to-PC phone calls anywhere in the world as an inexpensive alternative.
  • Simplifying Socialization: While VoIP and online communications solutions provide critical mobile capabilities, tools like Bobsled take it even further by connecting users with their social networks, one of the most popular forms of communication today. Bobsled offers a single place where users can connect their phonebooks with their Facebook friends. Gone are the days of guessing how to best find and connect with friends or family members.

 

As VoIP and other social communications platforms continue to build in popularity and adoption “over the top” of traditional landline and mobile plans, we will begin to see more of a mainstream acknowledgement of their capabilities and benefits. What do you look for in a communications service to connect with your social circles?

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Vivox Opens Offices In Boston to Support Growth and Attract Top Talent

Date posted: March 7, 2012 by Yvonne Gaudette

We are excited to announce the opening of our new Boston offices at 109 Kingston Street in Boston. With significant growth happening in the mobile and social communication space this year, the expansion of our offices, and our team, will help us take advantage of the new opportunities available to us. We look forward to the new resources and community networking opportunities available to us there as we are fortunate to be located just outside of Boston’s burgeoning Innovation District.

You can read more about our new office news in the Boston Business Journal and Mass High Tech, and check out what the Boston Business Journal and CBS News had to say about the success of the Vivox powered T-Mobile Bobsled apps too.

All of this momentum has led us to build on our aggressive plans for product development and hiring this year. This expansion reflects the great success our C3 and Bobsled apps have experienced as well as the increased market demand for high quality social and mobile communication services. “Opening a Boston office puts us at the heart of some of the best talent in the country – talent that will help us shape the future direction of the social communications landscape,” said Rob Seaver, co-founder and CEO, Vivox.

By opening offices in Boston Vivox is better positioned to participate in the conversations and events happening in the local mobile and social community there. We invite the local social and mobile community in Boston to join us as we host several upcoming “Mobile Monday” networking events at our new office this year. The first Mobile Monday event was held at the company’s new Boston office on Monday and attracted 150 enthusiastic participants.

If you are interested in learning more about career opportunities with Vivox, check out our LinkedIn page. And, if you’re in the area and want to check out our new space drop us a note on Twitter or just swing by and say hello. We look forward to connecting with you!

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Bobsled Calling Day at Vivox

Date posted: March 1, 2012 by Yvonne Gaudette

Last week, we celebrated Bobsled Calling Day – a day dedicated to our favorite IP calling app from T-Mobile and Vivox. While we all enjoyed the burst of pink from cake to clothing, and even more so the chance to see our very own Bob Bowles posing in his best Bobled mascot outfit, there was a greater purpose behind the fun and frivolity.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s coming up on a year since we first launched Bobsled in April 2011. A lot has changed since then. Bobsled has evolved from the world’s first free one-click voice chat application for Facebook to a robust cross-platform, multi-device IP calling service. Now everyone gets it, especially when they want to talk with friends on Facebook or make international calls. People love the service and value it provides and understand how Bobsled is changing the way we communicate.

We thought it important to spend some quality time with Bobsled in our offices, on-boarding our newbies, to ensure everyone is familiar with the service, using the mobile apps, and enjoying the free calling. Our efforts were met with success as we identified areas for refinement and added some new feature requests to make the experience even more user friendly.

As we look ahead to another year of innovation with Bobsled, we hope you’ll jump on for the ride. And no, we won’t make you wear a fuzzy pink onesie, but you just may want to.

Let's Bobsled!

 

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“Call Me” Isn’t Quite What it Used To Be

Date posted: February 17, 2012 by Yvonne Gaudette

It wasn’t that long ago that people saved their quarters for more than parking meters. Before the advent of smart phones, many people still carried coins around in anticipation of the need to make a phone call. From a public pay phone! Where they often waited in line to do so! If callers didn’t have the money, they could bill the call to someone else with the help of phone operator. There were even businesses in the last decade built around installing pay phones at opportune locations, and entrepreneurs could buy and own a pay phone and collect the cash that it generated. Wow, we’ve come a long way…

When is the last time you saw a pay phone? When’s the last time you used one? While they haven’t completely disappeared, they have mostly gone the way of novelty home décor or found new life in the occasional airport lounge or maybe even as an Internet kiosk. But using voice to communicate has continued to grow into places we never imagined. No longer are we tethered to specific equipment, time or locations – voice is now available anywhere, anytime and from just about any device. No coins – not even a call plan – are required.

The freedom that today’s technology allows us is unprecedented, and we’re just starting with voice. Calling someone no longer requires a phone number or even a phone. This can be both a good and bad thing – if you’ve ever replaced your smart phone and lost your contacts in the process, you know what I mean. As communities like Facebook and services like Bobsled make single sign-on a widespread phenomenon, you’ll need little more than your contact’s name in order to connect. It’s an exciting prospect that we can stay connected and communicate so easily.

Voice communication has long been the province of phone companies and wireless carriers, but with the availability of VoIP services and a changing consumer mindset, carriers are realizing they can’t maintain the status quo and remain relevant. With the help of VoIP providers, carriers are delivering new technologies designed to make voice communication easy, accessible, and even free. Take Bobsled as an example. The latest version of Bobsled Calling allows users to make international calls for free from any iOS or Android-powered device. And speaking of being untethered, Bobsled users do not have to be T-Mobile customers or use T-Mobile’s phones. Consumers can call their friends and family from practically anywhere, on any device, for free using Bobsled. Now, that’s progress. (Have you tried it yet? What did you think?)

What other old ways of communicating are becoming antiquated? Faxes, emails, postal mail?? What is the number one way that you use your voice to connect in today’s technology-driven world? And what do you do with all those extra coins now, anyway?

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The consumer voice – socially fascinated, yet fragmented

Date posted: February 8, 2012 by Yvonne Gaudette

Consumers today have their “voice” everywhere – with profiles on multiple social networks, lists upon lists of “friends and followers” and an abundance of ways to connect with them. But how do they pick and choose where to spend their time with those connections? Sure, integration of “share” and “like” buttons make it easier to spread content, but what about their overall voice? Where are consumers talking these days? Some folks don’t even use a phone anymore – and although mobile is popular, some cultures shun the sharing of actual phone numbers (considering it too private). So how do consumers today choose where to say what they want to say, who to share it with and how to share it (text, chat, voice, etc.)?

Communication is supposed to be easier today than ever, but the reality is that consumers’ time, attention and voice are often fragmented as they try to keep up with the influx of new technologies and devices. Finding your friends, building your lists and inviting your community at point A to follow you to point B can get frustrating. Consumers are curious, yet short on patience and very impulsive – slowing them down in any way runs the risk of losing them immediately. The solution isn’t to continue to create yet another new platform or social community, but rather to “get back to easy” – make the need for multiple applications, logins, and devices vanish, and thus, lower communication obstacles.

Provide the ability for consumers to actually talk to each other verbally as easily as they can share content with each other on social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. The easier it is to communicate, the more valuable communication becomes. And that should include voice communications. Despite the multitude of different devices and choices we have, connecting shouldn’t be difficult. I’m on a PC, you’re on a phone – not only can we share content, but we can just as easily talk verbally. Or, for example, a Bobsled user can call a Facebook friend while playing Combat Arms from within the game – so it’s not just cross-platform, it’s also cross-experience. Consumers shouldn’t be limited to communicating only with those in their social network while they are active in that network, or in that game, or on a specific device.

I’m eager to see how voice – that is, any way and anywhere that someone communicates – evolves in 2012 and helps consumers to get back to easy communication anywhere, anytime. Voice makes social, mobile and community even more exciting and valuable. At Vivox, we’re helping consumers find their voice, and use it again – we take your existing friends and connect you on any platform, any device. What could be easier?

What are your predictions for voice in 2012 and how it will continue to evolve for consumers?

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Mainstream Mobile – a look at mobile’s growth in 2011 and what lies ahead for 2012

Date posted: February 1, 2012 by Yvonne Gaudette

2011 was a banner year for the mobile industry. Many changes took place, the growth was extraordinary and all of these developments were extremely important to the industry’s future. Let’s take a look…

First of all, the growth of smartphone adoption last year was staggering. As reported by ReadWriteWeb, the majority of U.S. adults under the age of 35 now own a smartphone, and mobile Web usage among these consumers has grown 45% since 2010. If you further break this down, Gartner says that 324 million smartphones were sold worldwide through the first three quarters of 2011, and if you estimate another 120 million or so for the fourth quarter, that’s a 63% increase in sales compared to the same period in 2010. Pretty incredible numbers if you ask us.

The increase in smartphone adoption certainly helped stimulate Android’s success. Just three years ago, Android had zero market presence, but has since surpassed every major platform to become the number-one selling smartphone. InformationWeek reported that Google is activating 550,000 new Android devices per day with no signs of slowing down.

Following the popularity of the iPad, we were introduced to the Android tablet and Kindle Fire in 2011, but as we went into the holidays, the iPad2 still dominated the industry. And tech analysts predicted this would stick saying that an estimated 13.6 million iPads would be sold in the fourth-quarter. However, as the holidays have passed and sales are being tallied, Morgan Keegan analyst Travis McCourt thinks that somewhere between 1 million and 2 million iPad sales were lost to the Kindle Fire. We will be curious to see the specifics once released.

With all the success and rise of smartphone and tablet usage last year, carriers were hard at work advancing the networks speed and capabilities to handle the volume of traffic and data usage. We were introduced to 4G, and this was only a taste of what is to come. We expect 2012 will be a race among carriers to see who can develop the strongest foundation and this will play a large role in determining who consumers choose for their providers going forward. On that note, Verizon closed out the year by seeking approval from the U.S. to acquire airwaves from cable companies in order to keep up with the demand for all these high-speed mobile devices.

Mobile devices have really become an extension of our everyday lives and it’s becoming rarer to find individuals without their phone at their side. So what are your predictions for how the mobile industry will change this year? Our CEO, Rob Seaver, believes carriers will experience new growth and revenues by partnering with innovative providers to meet the growing consumer demand for Over the Top services, such as T-Mobile’s Bobsled powered by Vivox.

Will the mobile market continue to grow at record speed? What is the one thing you really want to see happen this year?

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News from CES: Bobsled Extends Free Calling

Date posted: January 11, 2012 by Rob Frasca

I’m here at CES 2012 in Las Vegas with 150,000+ others, and record number of exhibitors this year. The buzz for new voice control TV products from Samsung and Lenovo and talk of ‘TV Everywhere’ services from the cable operators has topped the list of exciting news this week. But T-Mobile and Vivox have some exciting news of our own to share for Bobsled users. We extended our free calling and dial-out capabilities for Bobsled Calling to the mobile platform.

Last fall, Vivox and T-Mobile introduced free calling from the web via Bobsled, which allowed users to dial-out to any landline or mobile number in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico right from the browser for free. Now, we’ve extended free calling to the mobile platform. Bobsled users can now place phone calls from their mobile and Wi-Fi enabled devices to the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico from anywhere in the world for free from the Bobsled Calling app.

Supported devices include Android-powered smartphones and tablets, and Apple iOS devices including iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. iPad users can also use the very cool dialpad in the Bobsled Calling app and the call is connected for free.

And no, you don’t have to be a T-Mobile customer to use it! How’s that for freedom of choice? Anyone can download the Bobsled Web App at bobsled.com, or the Bobsled Mobile App from the Android Marketplace or iTunes App Store and start calling friends and family online, on-the-go, anywhere on any device for free.

Bobsled just keeps getting better and better and there’s a lot more in store! We’re actively working alongside T-Mobile to develop more valuable features that will help consumers communicate their shared experiences across devices, platforms, social networks and carriers.

Have you tried Bobsled yet? If not, what are you waiting for?

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Skype May be Boring, but the Future of Voice Certainly Isn’t

Date posted: January 4, 2012 by Yvonne Gaudette

In yesterday’s Skype Journal, Phil Wolff blogs about his boredom with Skype and questions whether or not the “top dog” can inspire again and capture passion from users in 2012. While certainly the company saw its days of disruption and innovation, users today want new inspiration and better quality. Because of its early market entry, the technology may be widely adopted (hundreds of millions of users according to Wolff’s post) – but more often than not, in our experience and research, its use is also accompanied by complaints about usability and quality, especially when it comes to group calls. So if the company is “pleased with being boring,” where does that leave users? And what does it mean for competitors like Vivox?

I for one can tell you we are nowhere near complacency in the voice market. Innovations continue, especially in the areas of Mobile VoIP and social communication across consumer experiences. At Vivox, we know that voice will be everywhere – regardless of what network you use, or what device you “dial” from. Users want to be able to talk to each other from anywhere at anytime. Expecting users to continue to come to you and to communicate in a way that isn’t easy and natural – using whatever device you decide to make your tech work from – and to drive adoption among their communities, is a dying model. Users want to communicate naturally – as easily as they do in person (I.e. don’t require them to be in a certain place or all have the same tech in order to communicate with voice). Change is a must – and we know we’re driving it at Vivox. Our technology is device-agnostic and multiplatform, which means users can truly have their voice anywhere – whether they’re in a game, on Facebook or on their smartphone.

In 2011, Vivox introduced the world’s first free single-click voice chat for Facebook through the introduction of Bobsled (in conjunction with T-Mobile). Later, we introduced free calling to any US number from Bobsled, and the Bobsled web app for always-on accessibility anywhere on the web, iOS and Android apps. We continue to innovate to make consumer communications seamless, easy and natural from anywhere at anytime, to anyone.

So while we don’t necessarily agree that Skype is boring – they’ve done a lot to pave inroads for consumer voice over the years – we do believe that their lack of innovation and new product breakthroughs is an opportunity for companies like ours. We’re certainly not content to sit back and hope that users do the acquisition for us – we’re coming to them with exciting developments, new products and an even more exciting year of innovation in the voice space. Voice will be everywhere, and we believe that’s so not boring.

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Q&A with founder and CEO Rob Seaver: Giving Voice to his Vision

Date posted: December 1, 2011 by Sam Melnick, Marketing Manager

Q: Why did you decide to found Vivox?

A: It was a combination of a few things. At the forefront, I saw the Internet changing. This may sound obvious now but a few years ago it wasn’t. The Internet quickly went from being a publishing tool with static communication to a much more interactive medium. At this time, the breadth of social was really rising – Facebook was emerging on the scene, there was a rapid growth in online games, and in general, an explosion of interaction. This got me thinking. Fundamentally people talk to each other every day, so shouldn’t they be able to communicate as easily and naturally online as well?

What I also saw was technology coming to a point where it really worked – Skype was connecting people around the world and broadband penetration was getting to where it was supposed to be. But with all these advancements, people weren’t really taking advantage of the technology to bring interactive communication online. (more…)

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The Transformation of Social Communication

Date posted: November 19, 2011 by Sam Melnick, Marketing Manager

There has been a major transformation in the social communication industry over the past few years. First we were introduced to social networking and then social commerce. People started coming together in online groups to communicate and exchange ideas, pictures and more and then this collaboration started appearing in commerce and beyond as user-generated content. It wasn’t long before the opinions of others became paramount in decision making online.

While consumers wholeheartedly embraced various devices with which to communicate (mobile phones, tablets, etc.), voice really remained as the preferred method of communication. And this is where Vivox came in and redefined the industry with VoiceEverywhere. We merged voice with online social networks and made social communication possible both online and offline – wherever interaction is possible – so people can talk to each other from within, outside, and across all online communities and connected experiences. (more…)

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