Call Sciences Acquires Vocal Link
By Fred Dawson
In another sign that the pieces are coming together to make unified communications a potent component of agent and reseller product portfolios, Call Sciences Inc. (www.callsciences.com) has acquired Vocal Link Inc. (www.vocallink.com) to create a one-stop source for a wide range of integrated voice and data features.
“This acquisition will certainly give the unified communications industry a boost, because it unites two of the industry’s leading players with a strong vision about the future of messaging services,” said Megan Gurney, a telecommunications analyst with the Yankee Group (www.yankeegroup.com).
Calabasas, Calif.-based Vocal Link brings a variety of web-based capabilities, from voice-activated messaging to the traditional call-handling telephony know-how of Call Sciences, which is headquartered in Edison, N.J., Gurney noted. “Their combined services and expertise in delivering them in a communications applications service provider (CASP) model have the ability to launch the unified communications industry to a higher level of technology and service,” she said.
The combination promises to strengthen the marketability of unified communications for agents as well.
Vocal Link, through an exclusive tie-in with value-added reseller Transpoint Communications Inc. (www.transpoint.com), has made agent channel sales a focal point of its sales efforts, noted Ralph Metz, the former senior vice president of sales and marketing for Vocal Link who is to be vice president of sales for Call Sciences. “We established the relationship with Transpoint to make it easy for agents to offer unified messaging as part of their existing product portfolio,” Metz said. “And Transpoint is working to add wireless to its product line.”
Adding to the momentum on the wireless front, Call Sciences has an as-yet-unnamed wireless carrier under contract to begin offering unified communications services this summer, Metz noted. “This is the bridge between mobile and fixed,” he said. “This is where the industry is headed.”
Transpoint pays agents a residual of $4 per mailbox and anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of revenues for add-on services within the voice-activated unified messaging product line. At $14.95 per month for Transpoint’s offering of the Vocal Link Cross Media Messaging service, customers get 60 minutes of phone time to pick up mail, are given an in-bound 800 number for the mailbox and get a local fax number as well, Metz noted.
With Call Sciences’ capabilities in such services as “follow me” and personal assistance, the combined companies now have the ability to “create a really strong ASP with a bolt-on enterprise solution,” he added. “The industry is ready to make the leap into unified communications, and this is the kind of skill combination that will make it happen.”