Ribbit Seeks To Merge Telephony And The Web - InformationWeek

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Ribbit Seeks To Merge Telephony And The Web

Developers can tie voice from any Flash-enabled browser to the public switched telephone network and voice-over-IP networks, according to Ribbit.

Silicon Valley startup Ribbit on Monday launched a new platform that promises to bridge traditional telephony and the Web.

Ribbit owns a Lucent-tested class 5 softswitch infrastructure and has developed an open platform that allows developers to integrate voice communications into software and Web sites. The platform includes Ribbit's SmartSwitch coupled with Flash/Flex-based application programming interfaces.

Developers can tie voice from any Flash-enabled browser to the public switched telephone network and voice-over-IP networks, according to Ribbit. Additionally, developers get access to a back-office and service-delivery infrastructure with the platform, which means they can build and sell services.

Ribbit is marketing itself as "Silicon Valley's first phone company." But instead of pitching a traditional phone service model, the startup is taking a different approach.

"The world doesn't need another phone company. What it needs is new kind of phone company, one that liberates voice from its current confines -- devices, plans, and business models -- and more readily integrates into the workflow of our professional and personal lives," said Ted Griggs, co-founder and CEO at Ribbit, in a statement.

Ribbit is already showing off the first fruits of its collaboration with various partners. One example is workflow integration with Salesforce.com, a provider of on-demand CRM software. Beta testing with Salesforce began in October and attracted half a dozen early adopters at the time.

To see InformationWeek's demo of the platform, click here.

In a nutshell, Ribbit for Salesforce lets sales and marketing managers integrate cellular calls with their Salesforce applications. They can capture a cell call, for instance, and append it to a sales proposal or another "task" for later playback from within the application. Additionally, Ribbit lets users play voice messages in any order and see a text version of a voice message when they roll over it with a mouse.

Ribbit for Salesforce workflow integration will be available through AppExchange in the first quarter of next year.

The company said it has recruited a large group of technologists, partners, and more than 600 third-party software developers to support the platform. Besides Salesforce, another large partner recruited by Ribbit is Adobe, which will help mobilize the Flash and Flex developer community, said Ribbit.

Early next year, Ribbit will begin offering its platform to consumers, as well as selling commercial and enterprise packages to developers that want to build applications using the Ribbit platform. Both consumers and businesses are key markets for the company.

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