Mar 5 2010
OK kids, so remember you met that cool Finnish guy in a VW last summer in Big Sur? And now you’re “dating” him over Skype? In a nutshell, you’re using Voice-Over IP technology – talking over the Internet. OK, you’re rolling your eyes again, which means you already know that. But you may not know that as we speak, many, many people are taking that technology to the next level. One of those is Anveo, a hosted PBX VoIP provider that allows businesses and developers to flexibly configure their systems to suit their needs. Many folks talk big about flexibility; Anveo walks the walk.
First, it must be said that a hosted PBX service is a communications system that solely serves a business, rather than relying a telephone company. OK, that little tech-y preface may call attention to the face that say, I’m not the sharpest knife in the draw when it comes to, say, hosted PBX configuration (unlike, say, aikido.) That said, as just an average dude who heard about VoIP many, many years ago, when it was but the gleam in the eye of a drunken Silicon Valley sailor, and as a former and-perhaps future worker, I can conceptualize the value of technology for a business. In fact, we all can.
Anveo’s site is helpfully broken up across three buckets: solutions for Consumers, Businesses, and Developers. Consumers and Businesses brought me to the same page, where I was greeted with a host of features, such as Web calls, online faxes, international phone numbers, and disposable phone numbers. I was particularly drawn to Anveo Communicator – perhaps because its text box was blue (the rest weren’t) and there was a nifty “free” call-out next to it. The site provides a helpful menu of Communicator’s features on the bottom-left portion, showing screen shots of each.
From that initial feature-overview page, I was also drawn to Anveo’s Visual Call Flow. This technology allows developers, to visually configure phone calls, from simple PBX management to more advanced Voice 2.0 communication platforms. And that’s why it’s cool: it’s flexibility, allowing you to change with your situation. After all, business interactions are rarely static in these go-go times. Back in the day, Joe’s Widgets would sell a ton of widgets to Tom’s Hardware, and that was pretty much it. Transactions and cash flow were predictable. Not so much anymore. Simple phone calls are not enough. We have multiple channels of communication: voice, data, video, etc., but for many companies, it doesn’t make sense – economically, or in terms of time commitment – to, say, have a full-fledged, end-to-end multi-channel platform live at all times. But what if you do need it, for those rare instances? What if, as the Anveo example articulates, rather than a traditional phone line, you need said phone line, plus a more complicated routing arrangement, linked go Google Calendar? Anveo Visual IVR Call Flow allows you to configure your incoming calls on the fly with, better yet, drag-and-drop tools such that you can visually create your call flows. The screen shot below doesn’t do it justice, but it gives you a taste of the drag-and-drop dashboard:
Which brings me to the Developer’s piece of the site. The platform seems like a developer’s dream; Anveo allows anyone to visually create internet-enabled Voice 2.0 applications without writing a single line of code. Taken in its entirety, it’s like a integrated data communication Mongolian BBQ. You know those, right? You roll up, and there’s a bounty of vegetables, sauces, and tender meats just lying there. You pick your favorite, throw it in a bowl, and hand it off to your chef who cooks it up all delicious-like. Same idea here. There’s no shortage of proverbial tender meats – voicemail, caller ID, fax, video, Google calendar integration, mid-conversation call transfer, text-to-voice capability, etc. – for developers to choose from. So those are the meats. And the intuitive, user-friendly drag-and-drop interface is the wok. The Mongolian chef is Anveo. So it’s your choice: go ahead gorge yourself on a gluttonous Voice 2.0 feast (see if I care), or show some uncharacteristic restraint with a streamlined Atkin’s dish of basic phone and fax services. Anveo’s flexibility and ease of use speak for itself, and I actually have to stop now because I’m famished.