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Sony Enters Internet Calling Business

Techstination feature for Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sony gets into the Internet calling business. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Sony is partnering with a company called Glowpoint to offer consumers a service it calls Instant Video Everywhere…or IVE. Using the free software on a Windows based PC… can make and receive free voice and video calls…computer to computer. Eric Murphy is Sony's vice president of integrated visual communications…

"It's a continuation of the effort we started earlier this year to bring visual communications beyond the conference room that it is typically associated with and pushing it out to a much larger audience. So taking it out of the conference room…taking it out of the office and going mobile with video communications. "

Users get a free personal video number. For added fees, you can make and receive voice or video calls beyond the PC. Glowpoint chief executive David Trachtenberg says what sets the service apart…

"We know that to make video work, it's got to be as easy and spontaneous as using a telephone. So we have live video operators. So with one click you can actually get a live person who can give you directory assistance or redirect your phone call. We've got video call mailboxes so you never miss a call. And we have a number of different features that actually replicate what you're used to in the audio world but with that power of face to face communications."

The new service faces plenty of competition….including offerings from Skype, which was recently purchased by Ebay. More, in an upcoming report. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.