Grand Central and Gizmo: Let the Mashups Begin!

by Bruce Stewart

In another sign that the innovative companies in the telecom space are beginning to work more closely together, Grand Central has announced they have now integrated with Project Gizmo, meaning that you can now get all of your Grand Central calls on your Gizmo number. I haven't yet played with Grand Central, but this interoperability announcement will likely get me to, as I am a happy Gizmo user.

As several have pointed out, this combination can be especially powerful for the road warriors among us, like Andy Abramson. Andy's already tried it out, and sees some real savings potential, especially when combined with Nokia's new series of wi-fi capable phones:

This combination is killer for those of us who travel and have wired broadband in the hotel. Bring along a WiFi travel router, plug that into the hotel's broadband network ad use a N80-Internet Edition dual mode phone from Nokia and the calls are free as you'll avoid cellular carrier airtime. Or if you have one, try Gizmo on a Nokia Internet Tablet 770 or Nseries 800.

As Alec Saunders points out, this isn't really that deep of an integration, and he'd like to see these kind of mashups taken to the next level, beyond just peering arrangements:

What would have been really exciting is to have seen Grand Central integrated with the Gizmo / SipPhone experience, rather than yet another peering agreement. Imagine accessing all of the Grand Central capabilities from within the SIPPhone universe, rather than handing calls from Grand Central off to the SIPPhone network. Imagine a world where callers to my Gizmo identity reached the GC feature set as part of the Gizmo experience.

(Alec also came back with an apology for the rantiness of his post, an unnecessary one in my opinion. Alec's "rants" make more sense to me than just about anyone else's analysis in this space. His second post makes some great points about the tradeoffs a small company must make when considering integrating with others services or innovating for a better customer experience.)

We're beginning to see a lot of interesting possibilities around telephony mashups. Matthew Miller writes about the advantages of combining Grand Central and TalkPlus, Luca points out the possibilities in a Grand Central / Sitofono integration, and Alec describes a presence-driven personal assistant service created by combining and iotum's products.

It should be really interesting to see what comes out of the O'Reilly/StrikeIron ETel Mashup contest. The winner will be selected and will get to present at next week's Emerging Telephony conference in San Francisco. There's still time to register, I hope to see you there!