Known for its “Relevance Engine” that attempts to bring some human intelligence and brain power to incoming calls, the Ottawa-based Iotum’s app is about as close to a click-and-call service as one can get on Facebook.
Setting up a free conference call (which can consist of as few as two participants) takes about 30 seconds. And participants are reminded via SMS on their cell phone of the conference and the number to call.
Unlike typical conference calling services, there’s no need to enter a pin or room number as entry into a conference is determined via caller ID (or a keyed phone number in the event the CID is not recognized).
If a participant is on certain Nokia phones or an Apple iPhone, simply “clicking” on the number in the SMS puts him or her right into the conference. A small viewer embedded in Facebook can shows all the invitees to the conference, with those in attendance flagged.
It’s quite painless, and very slick.
In what was billed as a “historic” conference call by its organizer Moshe Maeir of the Flat Planet Phone Company, Alec Saunders and Howard Thaw of Iotum and a group of some six telecom pundits participated in the first public Facebook teleconference Wednesday afternoon.
With the exception of a disconnection apparently caused by a Facebook glitch, the call went off with nary a hitch. All participants, including Jim Courtney of Skype Journal and Gary Kim of IP Business and Fat Pipe, appeared to agree that Iotum’s efforts to blend social networking and voice communications holds significant merit.
Saunders and Thaw assured us that there would be significant additions to the service in short order, including the ability for a call moderator to exercise conference controls, integration into personal contact and calendar utilities and methods allowing non-Facebook members to participate.