Technology.am (May 14, 2009) — Silicon Valley startup Ooma wants you to connect all your home electronics with one central system to save money.
The California based company Ooma set out to build a box, really a computer itself. The box would sit between a broadband connection – your DSL or cable modem – and the rest of your home network. So instead of needing multiple boxes, you’d need just one. Having one central system that could talk to every device in your home could potentially save you a lot of hassle, not to mention money.
The Ooma service uses Voice over Internet Protocol technology to deliver calls to your existing phone using a broadband connection. Consumers need only to buy a $249 Ooma Hub.
Ooma charges a few pennies a minute for international calls to landlines and 20 to 30 cents a minute for overseas calls to mobile phones. All domestic calls are free. Calls from Ooma box to Ooma box are free.
The Ooma Hub is now sold through Best Buy (BBY, Fortune 500), Fry’s Electronics and other physical stores in addition to online sales through sites like Amazon.com (AMZN, Fortune 500) and Costco.com (COST, Fortune 500).
As high-speed Internet use has soared in recent years, phone and cable companies have started charging heavy bandwidth users higher fees. The Ooma Hub could help video-download happy families monitor their usage to keep their broadband bills in check.
However, Ooma can’t get rid of your phone or cable bill completely: you still need a Web connection. But the company is set on becoming the central hub for your home network – and providing a range of services faster and at a deep discount to what phone or cable companies can offer.