By way of Aswath Rao's status update on Facebook I had the opportunity today to discover "Fonolo", a rather intriguing application that merges the Web 2.0 and telephony worlds.
Fonolo translates IVR prompts into a web-based menu, classified by company. Need to call a company and don't want to go through a series of prompts? Find the company's listing on Fonolo, scan to the point in the IVR you want to reach, and click to call it directly. Fonolo places the call for you, navigates to the right spot, then rings your phone to connect the call.
This, like Google's Grandcentral, is another fantastic idea that merges the voice and Web 2.0 worlds together. In addition, Fonolo allows you to take notes for each call, and assign them to a particular company's listing. Fonolo uses voice recognition to detect IVR changes, and automatically update their database.
Of course there's still that issue of a business model. Will people pay for this service? Probably not. Will an ad supported model work? ("stand by while Fonolo connects your call, and listen to a word from our sponsor"), again, probably not. Would this be a great feature for one VOIP vendor to use to differentiate itself from another? Perhaps.
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