Ooma, a new Startup aims to turn the VOIP business up side down. Their approach is device centric and not service oriented.
This means Ooma sells you hardware for a one-time price of $399 and after that you can make unlimited U.S. domestic calls. Ooma has TiVo co-founder Mike Ramsay on their board. He sure will be able to give some pointers in service versus device oriented business models.
An ooma system in your home includes the ooma Hub connected to your broadband connection and your primary phone, and an ooma Scout for each additional active phone extension you use in your house. Ooma is based on P2P and your Ooma Hub will also carry other calls through the network.
Each Ooma system features:
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- Instant Second Line™ – gives users access to a second line in their home, with no installation or new phones
- Broadband Answering Machine™ – combines the power of voicemail with the convenience of the Internet and ease-of-use of a traditional answering machine
- ooma Dial Tone™ – delivers unique tonality through an audio interface, creating a new dial tone
- ooma Lounge – provides consumers with the ability to manage their voice mail and call settings online
The Ooma system is currently in invitation only beta testing and will launch in September.
As VOIP fees have come down dramatically, it is questionable to actually make resonable sustainable revenue from providing VOIP service. The pressure from Telcos is also pretty intense. Just see what happened to SunRocket last week. On the other hand, Ooma is a small company, and if the go out of business the Ooma box will not work anymore, as I assume there is an infrastructure piece that somebody needs to run and maintain.
Founded in 2005 by Andrew Frame, Ooma has secured $27 million in venture funding from, among others, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, The Founder's Fund, Worldview Partners, Draper-Richards and WI Harper in a series A and B round.
Via the Ooma site. See also Walter Mossberg's review of the Ooma hub.