If you’re young and American, you’re likely already answering texts more often than phone calls. According to Jeffrey Kluger of Time, “Americans ages 18-29 send and receive an average of nearly 88 text messages per day, compared to 17 phone calls.” Silicon Valley startup Voxer is betting that it knows how people will want to communicate in the future…
The app does not currently include a conventional call function, it does utilize a PTT (push to talk/transmit) technology–which is essentially a “walkie talkie” or “talking text” feature. Voxer’s reasoning is that users would rather not receive so many phone calls.
“We believe there’s a time and a place for every form of communication–but every form of communication also has its drawbacks,” said Nicole Strada, the Director of Marketing at Voxer. “Everyone knows how annoying it is to get called when they’re in the middle of an important meeting or conversation. If that happens they have two choices, pick up the phone and be rude to people in the room, or let it go to voice mail which people hate checking.”
Given the obtrusive nature of phone calls, Voxer perhaps addresses this by prompting users to listen to the message live, or just keep it for later. There’s no longer the guilt associated with screening calls, or the immediacy of taking a call either.
In addition to the PTT function, users can also send normal texts, photos, location messages, and even start conversations with groups of friends. But unlike most texting, which access your cellular carrier, Voxer can be accessed with a simple WiFi connection–and there’s no expensive roaming or international charges.
“We’ve heard stories of people from all over the world entering in a group chat through Voxer,” said Strada. “[This] allow[s] them to connect with their friends who are in other countries simply and easily because Voxer works on either 3G, 4G, or WiFi. [For instance], soldiers in Afghanistan are connecting with their family members stateside and college friends are reconnecting with past classmates scattered all over the world.”
Yet as interactive as Voxer appears to be for the average user, the app company is also actively looking to attract small, medium, and larger businesses to make the switch.
“Voxer Pro (the ‘business account’ version of the app) works on iOS and Android phones, providing live and recorded voice, multimedia messaging, location stamps, and administrative control,” said Strada. “[The] unique admin portal [...] makes it easier for businesses to keep control of who is using their system, [and] to communicate with employees or customers. [...] Other PTT solutions only work in limited geographical areas, and as WiFi and data networks become more ubiquitous this will improve Voxer Pro accessibility even more.”
It’s a far easier sell for the average user to integrate Voxer into their daily communication routine, but attracting businesses will certainly present the larger hurdle. Even though Voxer has “considered” adding a VoIP feature into the fold, the app company is content with how they’ve currently presented a new, more creative way to interact with friends, employees, and even prospective clients.