Tweet-to-Call Service Debuts

New cloud based SIP gateway service zin.to enables VoIP for Twitter.

 By Sean Michael Kerner
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The microblogging site is being enabled with new VoIP capabilities thanks to the zin.to service from click-to-call VoIP firm Zingaya.

The way zin.to works is it enables users to tweet a message, which includes a short url link that when clicked, triggers the VoIP call via an Adobe Flash interface. Currently the service is limited to the U.S. providing any Twitter user with the ability to call U.S. based number or Skype members.

The zin.to service could potentially further enable Twitter as an enterprise vehicle for growing sales and contact by voice.

"Twitter is a text messaging service and still has a lack of additional features that allow people to actually talk to each other using voice and not just text," said Alexey Aylarov, co-founder of Zingaya. "Twitter is now a business platform, as almost every company has a Twitter account and has followers that they're trying to communicate with."

By enabling Twitter with a click-to-call tweet capability via zin.to, Aylarov said that companies could now include a voice-based call to action as part of their tweets.

The key enabling technology behind zin.to is a SIP VoIP gateway that is delivered in the cloud. Aylarov explained that on the client side, zin.to uses Adobe's Flash technology, which then interfaces with the SIP gateway on the back-end. The SIP-to-Flash VoIP gateway is technology built by Zangaya , and, as part of the solution, the company is licensing in a SIP stack in addition to audio engine technology for ensuring high audio quality.

While zin.to is currently delivered as a cloud service, Aylarov is not averse to providing the technology to enterprises to run behind their own firewalls. Applications for private zin.to tweet-to-call services could potentially extend to banks or other enterprises that want to maintain strict control over their VoIP gateways.

From a security perspective, zin.to is using Twitter's standard OAuth authentication mechanism to log into Twitter and send tweets. Aylarov noted that in his view OAuth is secure enough for their Twitter based zin.to service.

Currently zin.to is a desktop-delivered platform and is not yet enabled for mobile Twitter clients. Aylarov said that his firm is working on a mobile version for zin.to, with the key challenge revolving around ensuring audio quality. In his view, typical 3G wireless network speeds are not sufficient to deliver high-quality VoIP calls. Moving forward, Aylarov is also looking to build out similar click-to-call functionality for Facebook.

The business model for zin.to is all about business usage, though regular end-users can use the platform for up to 30 minutes per day for free as well.

"Businesses are ready to pay for some kind of service to get calls and conversions," Aylarov said. "Consumers usually like to have fun and don't want to pay much for that fun."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

This article was originally published on Oct 14, 2010
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