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UCaaS Veteran Launches ‘Hyper-Communications’ Startup


Image: illumy
In enterprise communications and collaboration, the idea of unifying communications has long dominated strategic thinking, and vendors have worked hard to create integrated voice, video, and messaging platforms and user interfaces. Now one UCaaS industry veteran is looking to take this concept into the next generation with what he calls “hyper-communications.”
As I learned in a recent briefing, Matt McGinnis, former product marketing manager at 8x8 and RingCentral, believes people should be able to email, message, group chat, call, and video meet with each other, regardless of where in the world they are, what networks they’re on, and which devices they use. Toward that end, he founded and serves as CEO at illumy, a hyper-communications platform provider.
If you think the idea of hyper-communications sounds too good to be true for the enterprise, then you’d be right — at least for now. Illumy built its platform for the consumer market with a focus on the individual, McGinnis said. But, illumy can see the potential for enterprises, especially given IT consumerization, he added. And, the company has seen hints of uptake from the small office/home office market — but still, he reiterated, “our first focus is to really nail the platform and [personal] experience and grow from there.”
If you use Slack or Microsoft Teams at work, the illumy app will seem familiar, McGinnis said. You get the name, and an avatar, and the messaging, group chat, and video functionality, but what’s different is that you can use your email address and traditional PSTN calling, he added. This backward-compatibility with email and the PSTN is “part of [how] this comes together tightly in being able to communicate.”
Besides backward-compatibility with user email and phone numbers, illumy touts the ability to use the app on any device with an Internet connection, as mentioned above; and for communicating with anybody, anywhere, even if they’re not on the platform. In addition, illumy puts a premium on privacy.
When a user signs up for illumy and creates a digital identity, this digital persona contains personal data that becomes a part of how they connect, communicate, and exchange information. Illumy follows a person-centric model, not an ad-driven business model. This means two things: 1) You’ll never see ads when using the platform, and 2) because this is an ad-free model, the app collects no data for resale purposes, the company said in its introduction post. Illumy gives users control of all of their personal data and the content they share and applies end-to-end encryption for all communications. And, toward achieving its hyper-communications vision, illumy holds patents on techniques for taking email into the persistent messaging world and vice versa, one related to SMS, and another that centers around how information exchange happens in a distributed cloud-sync environment with end-to-end encryption, McGinnis said.
“Communications has traditionally been so fragmented that it all needs to come together into a single-platform built around privacy, security, and ease of use,” McGinnis said. With illumy, users no longer need to be stranded on isolated communication islands, he added. Illumy’s hyper-communications platform enables everyone to stay in touch, even those who don’t use illumy.
The basic illumy app is available now, for free, illumy said. Monthly fees are associated with premium features, including an illumy phone number, through two pricing plans.