With the recent Congressional appearance of Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the question of liberating the social graph has never been more significant to social media platforms and users worldwide. In efforts to further limit public data in Facebook’s search tools, companies such as Voxer were among many major messaging communication app platforms cut off from Facebook’s Find Friends API. Voice-messaging app Voxer no longer has any access to the social graph because it qualified as a competing online messaging platform.
Voxer is a real-time, multimedia communication tool for groups or individuals with live push-to-talk audio and voice, text, photo, and location saved in a timeline. In addition, the Voxer Business app, optimized for businesses, comes with all the features of the free consumer app plus a web manager that allows users to create and manage their own Voxer network, view employees’ locations on a real-time map, and send and receive messages.
I recently interviewed Irv Remedios, CEO & head of product at Voxer, to learn more about his role and his insights on product and mobile.
Jennifer Horowitz: Hello Irv, could you tell us more about your role and your initiatives?
Irv Remedios: Voxer is used by millions of people to communicate with their colleagues and friends. I currently lead the product team at Voxer, which includes design, product management, and customer support. I have the opportunity to work with our customers and better understand their communication needs. Our team works to define and design solutions that help our customers communicate more quickly and effectively.
Jennifer: What key issues does Voxer address for its customers?
Irv: Imagine that you are walking down the street and need to get a message out to someone or a group. Texting is cumbersome. Phone calls or conference calls are clunky and impractical. With Voxer you take out your phone, hit a button, and start talking. The audio is streamed live to the recipients so they can start listening immediately. If the recipient is unavailable, the message is saved for them.
There is no dialing a number, waiting for a phone to ring, or the annoyance of retrieving voicemail that go along with regular phone calls. We also support texting, sending images, and location information. Ultimately, we make communication instant and efficient.
Voxer Business gives small and medium businesses complete control over their communication. For the first time, businesses can add or remove users in their account and set up teams for group conversations. Additionally, enterprise customers can easily onboard their employees using single-sign-on (SSO) and have access to configurable data retention policies and data APIs that fit with their business policies.
Jennifer: How does Voxer stand out when it comes to its competition?
Irv: Voxer combines the immediacy of live communication with the etiquette of a messaging app. If users are able to listen to a message immediately, they can hear it live and respond quickly. We stream audio to the recipient as the user is speaking into the phone so there is very low latency.
Alternatively, if the recipient is not able to listen immediately, the message is stored for them and they can listen to it later, just like a messaging app. Voxer works well across 2G/3G/4G networks or WiFi and across countries.
Liberating the social graph
In 2012, Voxer was one of the top messaging apps in the world. At one point, the company was even leading the charts.
Voxer successfully raised a $30 million round with its walkie-talkie business functionality and style. Facebook later went on to replicate Voxer in January 2013 by adding a voice messaging feature into its Messenger.
As Facebook restricts access to its social graph, users now question if the move has made the company anti-competitive. This has caused some to say there are valid reasons Facebook should consider lifting the ban from competitors such as Voxer.
Senator John Neely Kennedy asked Mark Zuckerberg during his Congressional hearing, “Are you willing to give me the right to take my data on Facebook and move it to another social media platform?”
Zuckerberg replied, “Senator, you can already do that. We have a Download Your Information tool where you can go get a file of all the content there, and then do whatever you want with it.”
Social media is no longer solely a marketing function. Find out How to Weave Social Media Into the Fabric of the Business.