I love companies that are challenging the establishment telephone companies. And Ribbit is one of those companies. It has completely rethought telephony within the context of our modern world.
Ribbit offers a telephony platform that enables developers to craft innovative telephony solutions within current applications, and also create completely novel applications. A good demonstration of what can be done with this platform is Ribbit's Amphibian service, which was sneak-peaked this week at the Demo conference.
Through a web browser, Amphibian (name chosen to show it lives in two environments) provides users with services such as visual voicemail, you see a picture of the person, plus you can choose to view a transcript of the voicemail. The transcript can be emailed to you along with the MP3 sound file. Or it can be viewed through SMS.
When a call comes in, Ribbit goes out to the Internet and brings back information about the person calling, such as blog posts, videos, photos.
If you don't answer your mobile phone, the caller is routed to Ribbit which will record a voicemail or route it to another phone, or allow the user to take the call from the web browser on a "virtual phone."
You can also call out through the Ribbit virtual phone and it will carry your mobile phone caller ID, which is very useful since many people won't pick up ID-blocked calls or numbers that are unfamiliar.
Very nice app. But the impressive thing is that Ribbit also offers developers an e-commerce system that lets them charge users for their applications. Developers need only focus on creating great apps, Ribbit provides them with the e-commerce infrastructure. Brilliant.
But why stop there? It wouldn't take much to extend that e-commerce platform to enabling the sale of other services and products enabled by the telephony apps. Ribbit could easily create a type of Ribbit PayPal that extends beyond collecting telephony revenues...