Viber VOIP Phone App: 10 Things You Should Know About It

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-04-04 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Viber, an application that allows users to place phone calls and send text messages to other users at no charge, has expanded its presence on the Windows Phone platform. The company on April 2 announced that Viber Out, a feature that lets users place calls to others, regardless of whether they're Viber users, is now available on Windows Phone 8. The offering is already available on Apple's iOS and Android, which makes the platform an even more capable competitor to the current leader in VOIP communication, Microsoft-owned Skype. But the very fact that Viber has fired a shot over Microsoft's bow with its Windows Phone VOIP app tells consumers and enterprise customers everything they need to know about this 4-year-old company. Gone are the days when Skype was the only appealing VOIP provider. Now Viber, which was acquired in February by Rakuten for $900 million, seems to be a firm more enterprise users should know about. This eWEEK slide show takes a look at Viber and the way the company's service impacts VOIP users and the telecom industry .

 
 
 
  • Viber VOIP Phone App: 10 Things You Should Know About It

    By Don Reisinger
    Viber VOIP Phone App: 10 Things You Should Know About It
  • Viber Wants to Catch Up With Skype

    Since Microsoft acquired Skype a few years ago, the company has been quietly making it more appealing to enterprise customers. Skype is integrated into Windows quite nicely, its security has been improved, and it's a useful tool for video conferencing. Viber is trying to hit on those features for its own service, but whether the corporate world should care is another story.
    Viber Wants to Catch Up With Skype
  • There's No Enterprise Focus

    Viber is a rather odd company. The firm currently provides its service on BlackBerry and has extended Viber Out to Windows Phone in a bid to attract more corporate customers. Yet, there appears to be no solid enterprise focus. Viber has yet to make a real sales pitch to the enterprise. Until it does, the corporate world should keep in mind that Viber doesn't quite understand the enterprise's needs and desires.
    There's No Enterprise Focus
  • Viber Sustained a Major Security Breach

    Viber had some egg on its face in 2013 when it was hit with a phishing scam launched by the Syrian Electronic Army. The scam allowed the hackers to access the Viber support page, and reports suggested the service's database was also cracked. Although Viber says nothing was stolen, the security issue should be a warning sign to enterprise users who want only the most secure services running on their networks.
    Viber Sustained a Major Security Breach
  • BYOD Could Bring It Into Enterprises

    Despite the general lack of enterprise understanding at Viber, there's a real chance that the IT side will need to deal with the service. With the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement gaining momentum, consumers are bringing their own devices into the office and putting them on corporate networks. While BYOD has its virtues, it's also a major headache for IT professionals, and it forces them to deal with services they might not otherwise care about. Viber is one of those platforms.
    BYOD Could Bring It Into Enterprises
  • Viber Out Could Prove Useful for Corporate Users

    Viber Out is a potentially useful tool for corporate users. This service allows calls to be placed from any mobile or desktop device for a relatively cheap fee. In fact, a similar offering from Skype has proved extremely useful for corporate customers who want cut-rate fees when calling overseas. Viber Out might be the first service built into the platform worth looking into for corporate users. That is—if all of the platform's other, aforementioned issues can be overcome or worked out.
    Viber Out Could Prove Useful for Corporate Users
  • Viber Is Big and Growing

    Remember that talk of BYOD? Well, the trouble with Viber—for IT teams, that is—is that people are using it heavily across the globe. Viber claims that it has 200 million active users in 193 countries, a number it reached in just four years since introducing the service. What's more, Viber's user base continues to grow each month. So, if Viber isn't already a BYOD problem for some IT professionals today, it might soon be, given its growth rate.
    Viber Is Big and Growing
  • It's Not Always Free

    Although Viber and Skype like to promote their services as free offerings, the truth is that they're not entirely free. Viber Out requires users to buy credits that are applied to calls made to landlines across the world. There's also a top-off feature that replenishes funds once they hit a certain amount. So, while Viber-to-Viber communication is free, be aware that Viber Out will cost some cash.
    It's Not Always Free
  • Get On With the Remote Device Management

    Viber is an app that the IT side should keep a close eye on. In fact, one could easily recommend that it be banned from use inside corporate networks, given its past security issues. If the latter course is chosen, the IT side should employ remote device management solutions to stop the app from working in the office and institute policies against its use on products owned by the company. This is not to say that Viber is a bad platform, but if the IT side has decided it's a question mark, device management is an essential tool to keep Viber under controls in enterprises. Viber is all the rage, and there's no telling whether a company's workers will listen to simple directives.
    Get On With the Remote Device Management
  • The Rakuten Play Hasn't Played Out

    It's rather odd that Rakuten acquired Viber for $900 million. After all, Viber is a Skype competitor that focuses on communication, while Rakuten is a Japan-based e-retailer. Although Rakuten has owned Viber for a year, there's no telling what the company has planned for Viber and whether it will add features that will make it less enterprise-friendly. Keep an eye on Rakuten's plans for Viber as time goes on.
    The Rakuten Play Hasn't Played Out
  • Availability Is Outstanding

    For those looking to use Viber, it's hard to take issue with the platform's availability. The service is available on the desktop, as well as every major mobile platform, including even Samsung's Bada. That has helped Viber grow into such a big VOIP provider and will undoubtedly help it grow over the coming years.
    Availability Is Outstanding
 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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