One of the biggest challenges of being a mobile worker is that it is almost impossible to make VoIP calls, either over EV-DO networks, or commercial wifi services, like the T-Mobile network, often found in Starbucks. Port blocking, and lack of bandwidth makes it difficult to make phone calls when you most need them, forcing you to spend the expensive premium mobile wireless minutes.
Well, there is some good news coming. Earlier this morning I had a chance to chat with Jason Droege, CEO of San Diego-based VoIP services provider, SIPphone, and he showed off a new version of his service that is ideally suited for Web Workers.
SIPphone makes a soft client which runs on Windows, Linux and Mac computers, and allows you to either IM your friends, or chat with those on your buddy list. What makes it as useful as Skype is its ability to make and receive regular phone calls, from either landlines or mobile phones. Outgoing calls cost a penny a minute anywhere in the US, so it is fairly inexpensive.
The company has now developed a new
flash-based browser plugin based version of their service that is very simple to use. The new offering will be launched sometime in the near future. later this month. Go to the website, plug in the number, and hit call. The call is initiated and that’s it. If you have a pair of headphones (all iPod owners do), just plug them in and have a conversation. You don’t even need to have any Gizmo software installed on your computer. You could make phone calls from Internet Cafe’s if you are traveling around the globe.
I suggested to Jason, that they should also add a feature where you can plug in your mobile phone number and the system connects both phones. This would reduce the reliance on choppy wifi networks, or bandwidth constrained EVDO networks.
It is not impossible, and Jajah, another low cost VoIP service provider, offers similar connection service, and is becoming very popular. These kind of simple browser based VoIP applications are going to become more valuable as more of us cut the cord, and work outside the “box.” What do you think folks? Are you likely users of this web-based calling service.