I sold mortgages over the phone in a previous life. That involved calling over 100 people a day using an archaic but functional web-based phone system. That system cost the company a fortune to implement and required a dedicated support staff. PhoneDeck does most of it for free. And it works directly with Android and S40 phones. This is disruption defined.
Mike Butcher broke the news about PhoneDeck’s recent launch yesterday. The startup, which made the rounds to several start-up events last year, allows anyone to link their phone to their service for analytics and remote control. PhoneDeck lets users send and receive text messages and phone calls right from their website. If your phone rings, a popup appears on your computer with the option to answer the call or send it to voice mail. The mobile app also syncs your contacts and usage to the web interface, making all sorts of information available on the web.
It works well, too. There’s a bit of lag when the phone rings until the pop-up appears. That needs to be resolved. But for the most part, and for the right person, this could be a very powerful free tool.
Small businesses often spend good money on similar phone services. It allows marketers and salespeople to quickly and efficiently place a lot of phone calls. Trust me, when you have to call more than a few people, it’s a lot easier to don a headset and click a button on a computer screen than using just a mobile phone.
PhoneDeck seems to have all the right additional functions, too. Missed calls can easily be responded to with a text message. Each number stored in the system, either through a contact or one-off call, shows detailed statistics including the geolocation, calls missed, initiated, and received. This might not be important to the average Joe, as Devin told me, “I feel like this is a solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist”, but small businesses or even a single user can easily and quickly incorporate PhoneDeck into their workflow for increased productivity and insights.
There is a bit of blind trust involved with PhoneDeck. You’re entrusting this start-up with a good deal of your data including contacts and detailed phone usages. As some users point out in the comments of Butcher’s posts, this system could be perfect for snooping spouses or divorce attorneys. In fact, it only takes about three minutes to install the Android app and upload all the data to the web interface. The data stays online, although the phone no longer actively syncs once the app is deleted from the phone. Scary.
Still, privacy issues aside, PhoneDeck could be the free answer to many people’s expensive problems. Even casual users like myself can benefit from the online phone interface. I’m often sitting in front of my computer and have no idea if missed a call or text message (no one calls or texts me though) since my phone is lost somewhere within my house. It makes the most sense in a business where time is money and improved efficiency can make a big difference.