"I launched pulver.Communicator because I saw very little innovation in the world of IP communication," said Pulver, reached at MIT, where he was participating in a course on alternative telecom. "I was tired of seeing people write about VOIP as just a replacement for the PSTN [Public Switched Telephone Network], and I wanted to have an application I could point to that was more."
In a twist on other IM (instant messaging) clients that can click to phone over IP, pulver.Communicator will overlay multiple IM systems and include some features that promote "social networking," in Pulvers words, and address the growing concern about voice spam. "At VON, well show you an ability to–based on degrees of separation–determine who can call you. Whether they are friends of friends, or just friends, will be the deterministic factor of who can call your phone."
The application supports cross-platform instant messaging by proxying for the subscriber on disparate systems. This allows users to import buddy lists from–and launch chat conferences with–members of AOL, MSN, Yahoo, FWD, ICQ and "other SIP" IM systems.
It also supports free voice calls across the SIP-based Free World Dialup network, a free VOIP service established by Pulver late in 2002. Inbound linkage from the PSTN can be purchased through LibréTel, a service also owned by Pulver, for $6 to $12 per month per phone number, depending on the country.
Outbound service, a la Skype Out, is in the works, according to Pulver.
At VON, Pulver also will demonstrate beta versions of pulver.Communicator for BlackBerry devices from Research In Motion Ltd., as well as for Palm OS and PocketPC.