I took a look at the just-released Speek, and it’s pretty smart. Basically, a user can set up a free account online, and simply share the account URL with others, and they can type in their own phone number so that Speek will call the back. Once the connection is made, the callers and the account owner share a collaborative webpage that supports file sharing and chat.
Pretty cool. The owner has the ability to mute people on the webpage on on the phone call. There is an iPhone app with limited functionality (no file viewing, but uploads possible, for example).
After the call is over, the session is saved in an archive, with a chat transcript and copies of any uploaded files.
I will have to try with a larger group, but it seems like the smallest and simplest conference call solution I’ve seen. I love not having to know people’s phone numbers, and I don’t send out a phone number for the others, either. Just send out the URL and a time, and you’re done.
A recent survey by the Centers For Disease Control discovered that we’ve crossed the halfway point into wirless phoneland:
Over half of American homes don’t have or use their landline, Stacey Higgenbotham
[…] more than one-third of American homes (35.8 percent) had only wireless telephones during the first half of 2012 while 15.9 percent of all households had both landline and wireless telephones but received all or almost all calls on the wireless phones. This means 51.7 percent of U.S. homes don’t have or didn’t use their landlines in the first half of 2012. That’s a 1.8 percent increase from the same period a year ago.
The CDC wants to know because of its interest in health data. There is a generation of products — like testing pacemakers — that rely on landline connections, but I expect that innovation in mobile apps will solve that gap.
The use of data network-based text messaging allows users to avoid text messaging fees, and it is costing telcos a lot of money:
Alan Clendenning via AP
The London-based Ovum research firm estimates telecommunications companies lost nearly $14 billion last year in text-messaging revenue as consumers migrated to applications allowing them to send messages over cell phone data networks.
Ovum said the companies still took in an estimated $153 billion, but that was down 9 percent from a year earlier.
And where’s the bottom?