Voxeo and MAP Telecom offer VoiceXML & CCXML hosting services in EMEA through strategic partnership

Orlando, FL. based Voxeo and Monaco based MAP Telecom have announced a strategic partnership whereby “Voxeo will provide the IVR infrastructure for MAP Telecom’s current facilities in Europe and four planned facilities in the Middle East”.

Current customers would be given “the choice to move from MAP Telecom’s legacy platform” (Voxbuilder from Voxpilot), and migrate to “a new and expanded multi-language developer community portal based on the Voxeo Evolution site” (more particularly maptelecom.voxeo.com).

It is not the first time that a US-based VoiceXML hosting company tries to set foot in mainland Europe. In May 2001, Tellme Networks acquired merged with Brussels-based MagicPhone, but the unconsumated marriage ended in poverty and dispute 15 months later.

From the point of view of Voxeo, a strategic partnership with a pan-European player makes sense in various ways. First, the financial risks linked to the setup of new platforms are shared. Second, MAP Telecom’s local knowledge in number provisioning on a pan-European scale (and beyond) offers Voxeo hassle-free access to a market of hundreds of millions of callers. Third, the respective companies’ core competencies are clearly complementary.

MAP Telecom, on the other hand, will benefit from Voxeo’s excellent reputation in system reliability and uptime.

Here’s a number of questions I’d like to see answered:
1) Why should MAP Telecom customers or development partners really care about which VoiceXML browser they’re using? Haven’t these become commodities, just like MS IE or Apache in the web browser world?
2) Will Voxeo’s excellent customer service be replicated in EMEA? If so, to what extent will the service be localized to a multilingual audience? Which party will take care of this, Voxeo or MAP Telecom?
3) Will MAP Telecom and its ecosystem of development partners commercially benefit from Voxeo’s customer base as far as global accounts are concerned? In other words, does the partnership offer any commercial synergy?
4) Will the addition of an alternative platform bring about lower prices, and hence market acceleration?
5) Will MAP Telecom’s legacy Voxpilot platform be maintained forever, or phased out?
6) How will the partnership succeed in convincing conservative European call center managers to adopt the hosted or managed services model for more than just the speech interface?

Irrespective of the answers to these questions, Voxeo’s crossing the Atlantic is a clear vote of confidence in the future of the European speech technology market. Finally, it will also be interesting to see if the partnership can be a boon the Skype Voice Services program, in which both MAP Telecom and Voxeo play a role.

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