Say buon giorno to Italian startup 1Ring, which launches today at DEMO in Silicon Valley. Based out of the Italian Riviera, the company aims to bring its permission marketing-based phone service to the United States.
1Ring provides local phone numbers for businesses that want to offer customers or potential customers more information. It can be used by anyone with a phone, unlike QR codes that require a camera phone, says 1Ring CEO Andrea Guglielmi.
The end-user dials a number that the company includes on a billboard, TV, radio ad or other place and if they have a 1Ring account set up, the information goes to a Web portal where they can retrieve it later. If they have not set up an account, the service will save the information for future registration. The company says 1Ring abides by a strict anti-spam policy, so information is never referenced for marketing purposes.
Guglielmi says the idea for the service came while he was on a flight to Spain. He was reading an article on the plane and interested in getting more information on the topic, but it was too late to call anyone and even if he did get through, there probably would be a language barrier.
The 1Ring service is set up so that it works with any mobile phone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s been in beta in Italy, where the transportation authority in Verona is using it to deliver schedules, timetables and news regarding its bus line. A contemporary arts museum in Rome used 1Ring to deliver extra content related to works of art and special exhibits.
For businesses, the cost of the service is about $42 a month; it’s free to the consumer.