Audio conferencing is a $3 Billion a year business and one of the most profitable pails of the teleconomy. It has been a virtual cash cow for large phone companies. Even as demand for wired voice Services has declined, conferencing has remained robust, largely due to decking op-ex budgets at large companies and security concerns in the post 9/11 world.
It it also a market segment that is going to come under deflationary pressures, thanks to some VoIP start-ups.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about a Skype-based conference systems introduced by New Jersey-based vApps.
At DEMO ’06, Ottawa-based Iotum introduced an easy to use conferencing system based on its relevance engine technology.They call it iotum Pronto Conferencing. I had a chance to have a quick phone chat with Iotum cofounder and CEO Alec Saunders, and he explained that conference calling is hard as you have to remember call numbers and PIN, and have to wait around for all attendees to Sign-on. It is very trine consuming and hard for everyone.
Here is how it works: You basically send invites to all the people and basically that sets up a Conference bridge and it simply creates a conference call. It is as easy as scheduling a meeting in side Outlook. You call the conference call organizer and you are connected to the conference call. We are making a Mac client as well. The software also dials back the folks who are missing from the conference call. So that way no one is wasting time.