updated 02:05 am EDT, Wed September 14, 2011
Real-time profiles of callers via social networks
Built for the iPad, the new software and service HookFlash aims to challenge Skype and other VOIP rivals with corporate features such as group video conferencing, easy audio conference calling, group messaging and real-time participant profiles generated from social and business networks, among other features. Exiting and re-entering conference calls can be done with a swipe of a finger, and conversations can be recorded and shared if desired.
Where the startup excels over other competitors is in its built-in ability to interface with multiple established services to make communication easier. Calls and meetings can be scheduled in any of the major calendar programs, public invitations can be posted on Plancast or MeetUp, personal invitations can be shared on Yammer or Chatter, the former of which can also host private playback of recorded conferences. Videos of calls can be posted publicly to YouTube, Vimeo, Blogger and Facebook. Contacts can be imported from e-mail and other sources.
Video calls can have up to six participants, and merging or splitting calls of all sorts can be done visually. Originators of video calls can exit and leave the remaining participants to carry on without disrupting the call, can "park" other calls temporarily, and forward calls to other Hookflash users or send them to voice mail. All conversations on Hookflash are encrypted for security.
The company is inviting interested parties to sign up for notifications, and will make the app available for limited testing in October. Hookflash plans to operate on the "Freemium" model, offering basic functionality to all free of charge with corporate features available for a fee or subscription (the company has not yet announced pricing plans).