There’s been quite a bit of positive coverage on the launch of the TalkPlus service this week (read Ken Camp’s post for an excellent analysis of the offering and links to many of the other posts about it). I met with TalkPlus at the recent ITExpo and like most others in the VoIP press, I was impressed with their technology and business plans. I agree with Ken and others that their demo was one of the most interesting from that crowded convention center. I also spent some time talking with TalkPlus CEO and founder Jeff Black over a more relaxed dinner (thanks Andy!), and found him to be a smart and fascinating person who has impeccable credentials for creating a successful Voice 2.0 business. Add to that the fact that O’Reilly author and all-around telecom guru John Todd is the CTO, and I think this is one venture that will quickly rise to the top of the crop of the current wave of telecom startups.
At its most basic level, TalkPlus allows you to assign multiple mobile phone numbers to your cell phone. While a simple concept, it turns out to be quite a powerful model for a wide range of applications where you might want specialized phone numbers (dating, ebay, doctors, lawyers, to name just a few). Along with the multiple number capability comes more advanced screening and voice mail management. TalkPlus believes this capability can improve people’s privacy and offer increased control over their mobile life, and I agree. And while it sounds simple, anyone with much knowledge of the current mobile infrastructure in the U.S. will realize it’s far from trivial to implement such a system. TalkPlus has been working on the technical end for over two years and has a slew of patents behind their work. I’m convinced they have a good understanding of the difficult carrier climate they need to work in.
Two other posts I’d recommend for those interested in TalkPlus are from Tom Keating and Jon Arnold. As usual, Tom provides a thorough look at the new company and their service offering. Jon picks up on the carrier perspective, which I agree is important here. As Jon points out, even though we like to decry the walled gardens and difficulties in working with the incumbent carriers, at least here in the U.S., a company like TalkPlus who is offering value for the carriers rather than competing with them for their core business is in a much stronger position. In fact, I think the reason that TalkPlus’ launch is garnering such positive attention is that their service looks promising and offers value from both the end-user and the carrier perspective. You can sign up for the beta service now at the TalkPlus web site.