Verizon Offers Calling Plan Customers 90-Day Test Drive of 'iobi Home' Integrated Communications Management Service
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NEW YORK - In a move that enables customers to experience first-hand all the benefits of iobi Home and learn how easy it is to use to help organize and simplify their busy lives, Verizon is offering a free three-month trial of the innovative call-management service.
Verizon iobi is a breakthrough service that provides simple, seamless access to and control of calls, voice mail, e-mail and wireless text communications from any location. It connects multiple devices, such as a user's PC, laptop and phone, offering: access to Caller ID and Verizon's Home Voice Mail service (not included); routing of incoming calls to voice mail or another number in real time; pre-scheduling of call forwarding; sending of e-mail and text messages; address book and calendar management; and other features. The user has total control over where to receive calls and messages and when and how to respond to them.
"Iobi is such a new concept, such a major leap forward, that the only way customers can fully appreciate all of the advantages the service has to offer is to try it for themselves," said Margo Howell, product manager for iobi Home. "We're confident that once they do, customers will not only be enthusiastic users of the service, they will become advocates as well and encourage other customers to use it."
Customers who order iobi Home online now can get it free for the first 90 days via a special Web site, www.wayofiobi.com. To be eligible, customers must currently be using any one of the Verizon Freedom calling plans. The 90-day trial is not available through Verizon call centers.
Verizon is sending direct mail and e-mail invitations to some customers who already have a qualifying Verizon Freedom or Freedom Extra calling package, advising them of the free trial and inviting them to order the service online. Other Freedom plan customers can simply visit the special Web site. Billing at $4.95 a month for Freedom customers, $3 off iobi's regular price, begins on the 91st day unless the customer cancels the iobi service.
Verizon customers who visit the iobi Home free-trial Web site can also sign up for the Way of iobi Sweepstakes between now and March 22. One winner a week will win $1,000, and customers will be eligible for the $100,000 grand prize. Actually using iobi Home calling features can add entries in the sweepstakes.
Iobi Home's Features
Iobi Home offers features like instant on-screen mapping of an incoming caller's address that pops up before the user answers; the ability to direct calls, in real time, to any phone, anywhere, or send them directly to voice mail; and it allows scheduling of call forwarding to other phones on a one-time or recurring basis. Iobi Home also has many of the advanced calling features that computer-based digital calling (voice over IP) offers, such as interactive call logs; contact and calendar management; selective forwarding or blocking of only certain calls; playing voice mails on the computer with no dialing or codes; and forwarding voice mail as e-mail..
"Iobi Home offers total control over incoming calls, messages and caller information, whether the user is at work, on the road or right at home," Howell said.
Iobi's "control panel" is available on-screen by using a small downloaded software program; or via a Web site accessible by any connected computer; or via a voice portal that uses voice recognition to help users navigate and activate or deactivate features, or to manage calls and messages, hands-free.
Iobi Home is driven by a Verizon-proprietary data platform that integrates the Verizon wireline network with other networks and with the Internet. This enables otherwise separate networks to work with each other. For example, with iobi Home, a user can view on the computer a list of all incoming calls and voicemail messages and can play or forward voice messages, linking the PC to the phone network and to the voice mail platform. Iobi Home similarly links the PC to the Web and to the wireless network for sending TXT messages from the control panel or for sending TXT alerts of incoming calls and voice messages.
The integration of networks is evident when the customer clicks on the "map" feature of an incoming call pop-up. Iobi Home checks the incoming number, crosschecks it with a database, forwards the address to a Web-based map service, and displays the location of the caller on screen, instantly.
"The mapping feature can be very handy if you don't recognize an incoming caller's number and want a better sense of where they are calling from," Howell said. "It's a feature that goes one step further than Caller ID to take the mystery out of answering a call."
Iobi Home can be provisioned on any Verizon residential landline and requires only the small software program, which is downloaded over the Web. No special hardware is necessary. Accounts are ID and password-protected. High-speed Internet access is not required. Verizon Home Voice Mail enhances the value of iobi Home.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other communication innovations to wireline and wireless customers. Verizon operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 51.3 million customers nationwide; one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks; and one of the nation's premier wireline networks, serving home, business and wholesale customers. Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of approximately 250,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.