I downloaded OpenVBX, Twilio’s bendable, programmable cloud-based unified communications platform, tried out a few call control flows, and then drifted off into a reverie about telecom start-ups before the dot.com crash.
When the CLECs and ASPs first came on the scene in the 90s, they were offering hosted personal attendants (or assistants)—which was the term used before “Google Voice-like”—that allowed subscribers to configure find-me/follow me schedules for cell, home, and office numbers, set up voicemail notifications, and craft simple IVR menus. They would often throw in speech rec, and support virtual presence through local phone numbers.
Maybe $30 per month, with a cap on minutes. These personal auto attendants were tasty telecom appetizers and considering what was available from incumbents at the time, practically disruptive.Continue reading