We’re very excited to announce that our team recently released a new API feature called Asynchronous Callback.
If you are a programmer, you are probably saying “YES, YES, and YES!!”
And if you are non-programmer, you are probably going “Asynchronous what?”
Fair enough. In either case, some explanation is in order. If you have previously coded against the Angel outbound REST API, you would have noticed that you had to periodically poll the outbound service to find out whether or not your call completed.
Rather than consistently poll the outbound service, our new API feature provides comprehensive visibility into the success of any outbound call. For example, our API allows you to specify your interest in receiving a “callback” (not to be confused with a telephone call back) when the call is either answered by a human or voicemail, when a call fails, is not answered, or the line is busy. Angel’s outbound service will then Click here to read more »
Radio stations all over the US are rapidly adapting to the changing technology landscape. Internet radio stations, and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter simultaneously pose an opportunity and a threat.
New Internet-only radio stations, operating on a shoestring budget, pose a credible threat as they steadily erode market share from the bigger, more established radio stations by creating new micro-content niches. Established AM/FM broadcast stations are, in-turn, leveraging the Internet as a complementary channel to reach a much wider, Internet-savvy audience.
Facebook, Twitter and other social networks compete with more traditional media such as newspapers, TV and radio stations, for audience attention and advertising dollars. On the other hand, they provide a conduit for traditional media to reach a global audience that was hitherto inaccessible.
This disruptive techno-climate calls for radio stations and other traditional media to innovate, change, and adopt a more radical strategy – one that embraces technology.
A recent innovation in this space is a service from Angel called Voice For Facebook. Radio stations in the U.S. are leveraging Voice for Facebook, to better engage with their listeners using the communication medium of choice, namely, voice.
In this blog post, I will provide answers to some of the common questions I get about this service:
What is Voice for Facebook?
Voice for Facebook is a service that lets radio stations engage their listeners on their Facebook page using voice. The service is as simple to use, as it is to set up.
How can my listener community and I use Voice for Facebook?
You and your listener community can post voice comments to your Facebook page. To do so, simply pick up a telephone and place a call to a Voice for Facebook provided phone number. Once connected, you can speak a voice message into the phone that will get posted on your Facebook page. Yes, it’s really that simple!
How does it work?
When you (a radio station employee) sign up for Voice for Facebook, our service will provide you with a unique phone number. You can advertise this number any way you choose – on your Facebook page, announce it during your programs or publish it on your website. Your listeners can then call into this number and start using it to post voice comments!
Click here to read more »
As the Social Media Product Manager at Angel, I am always on the lookout for interesting customer experiences. My recent experience with Spotify taught me a lesson or two about permission-based social sharing. Recent changes to Open Graph, announced at Facebook’s F8 conference, make it easier for social media applications such as Spotify to share user activities from within their application on Facebook. While this is a great feature that app developers can leverage to promote awareness and interest for their application, if not used prudently, activity sharing can be a downright annoyance for the user and can lead to user churn.
This is my story about how, thanks to these changes, Spotify came close to losing me as a customer!
For the uninitiated, Spotify is a social music discovery service that lets users listen to music, and share or recommend music to their friends on Facebook. Social music services such as Spotify, Mog, Last.fm, and Pandora are attempting to take the music listening experience back to its “social” roots.
Recall that in the early 1900s, following the invention of the radio, music was broadcast over the air and listeners in an entire city could tune in, making listening to music a very social event. Then in the 1970s, along came the tape player and the boom box, which enabled users to share music with just their close friends and family. In the 1980s, Sony revolutionized the music listening experience through the invention of the Walkman and the Discman, and in the 2000s, Apple revolutionized it even more through the iPod—which made listening to music a very personal, private experience.
Click here to read more »
Last week, as part of the Angel team, I attended “Social Media Disruptathon,” hosted by MoDevDC. First off, a special thanks to Pete Erickson for hosting this event in such grand style. The afternoon session was mostly for B2B networking, during which presenting companies schmoozed prospective investors, sponsors, and partners. Although I had a chance to talk to some exciting folks, the evening session for me, was the real deal.
Nineteen teams had geared up to present their ideas on how their social media idea was going to change the world and disrupt the status quo. It did not matter if their ideas had taken two full months to conceive, nor did it matter that it might take another two full years to productize, they still got only two minutes to pitch it! Thanks to the abbreviated timing though, sitting back in the audience and watching the presentations felt like watching your Twitter feed tick – constantly updating, succinct, relevant and engaging.
There were three things flowing freely on this night – good food, good drinks, and great ideas. While there were many cool ideas, I was most fascinated by Votizen – a startup seeking to connect voters with their constituents, LocalResponse – a startup seeking to connect brands and businesses to their customers and Pixable – a startup seeking to categorize and display Facebook friends’ photos in interesting ways.
Angel’s own concept of taking Voice to social media was very well-received. Dave Toliver delivered a great presentation and live-demo’d Voice for Twitter on Angel’s behalf. As part of his presentation, he invited the audience to give a shout-out for WaPo Labs (one of the sponsors), which he recorded and then tweeted. Moments later the audience heard their tweet being played back on twitter. I was glad Voice For Twitter did not get a sudden case of stage fright! You can check the voice tweet here.
We ended the night with podium finishes for the categories “Most Disruptive,” “Most Unique,” and “Best Overall.” So great fun overall, and I don’t plan on missing this event next year!
Check out the final standings and a recap of the event here, and if you’re interested, sign up for Voice for Twitter and Voice for Facebook!
I recently read the acclaimed book “The World Is Flat” by Thomas Friedman. In this book, Friedman identifies six “flatteners” that have led to a more level global playing field. Friedman’s flatteners include the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the birth of Netscape, improvements in work-flow software, open-sourcing, outsourcing and off-shoring. I was struck by the omission of three disruptive forces rocking our world today: mobile computing, cloud computing and social media. A quick flip to the cover page explained the omission—the book was last revised in 2005, a time when these technologies were still nascent.
Unlike the previous flatteners that swept over us wave upon wave, the new flatteners have set up a perfect storm that is completely disrupting our personal, political and professional lives. I am more interested in what these forces mean to businesses, though. I believe established businesses, on one hand, will be found agonizing in the wake of destruction. I believe new businesses, on the other hand, will harness the power of this torrent to redefine the business landscape like nothing we have ever witnessed before.
So what makes this technology triumvirate so powerful? And why do I think they ought to make it onto Freidman’s list of flatteners? Here are a few thoughts I find compelling:
- The “time to market” a mobile app is in the order of weeks, as opposed to desktop and enterprise software that takes months. Hence the inherent risk of dynamic consumer taste is less of a factor with mobile apps.
- App stores provide an economical distribution channel for startups, while simultaneously allowing these entities to target a global audience.
- Cloud computing enables startups to operationalize infrastructural costs that previously went down as capital expenses on the balance sheet. Operationalizing capital expenditure improves the company’s return on assets and frees up locked capital to fund other initiatives.
- Cloud computing services, such as those offered by Amazon and Rackspace, provide startups world-class infrastructure that was previously only available to big companies with deep pockets. Through cloud services, startups can scale computing power, storage space and bandwidth on demand to meet customer SLAs.
- Social media, to marketers, is the closest thing to nirvana as anything has ever been, providing marketers instantaneous global reach. Further, social media offers tremendous insights into consumer preferences and behavior, allowing for customer segmentation like never before. Startups can use social media by exploiting the niches that are not filled by big corporations.
These five factors are only a small sampling of the benefits offered by this holy tech-trinity. We are already in the eye of the storm. The jury is out on whether these three forces should make it to the list of Friedman’s flatteners. So, what is your verdict?