Eric Stang is the chief executive of Ooma Inc., which makes products to take advantage voice transmissions using an internet connection. Their latest consumer product is a DIY home security system that is inexpensive and gives homeowners control over their home thousands of miles away.
Q: How long has the company been around?
A: It started 10 years agom but I came to them in 2009 just as the company started to flourish. Since then we have been growing and went public in 2015. Last year we had a $100 million in revenues with close to 3 million users, ranking as the best home phone service out there.
Q: Who founded the company?
A: Ooma was founded by an entrepreneur in his 20s, Andrew Frame, who had previously worked for Cisco systems. He noticed phone service hadn’t changed for over a 100 years and decided to modernize the system. After three years creating the product and forming the company, he left in 2009 and we continue on to this day. One of the first investors in Ooma was Sean Parker of Facebook fame who saw the potential of it right away.
Q: Why use Ooma?
A: Compared to other phone services, we are very inexpensive and have superior voice quality, even if your internet is not as good. An extra feature we have that also sets us apart is our ability to automatically block telemarketers. We keep a long list of phone numbers we haven’t given out and monitor if they get calls, then black list the numbers that are calling.
Q: How is your home monitoring system different than others on the market?
A: Our home monitoring system just launched this year and offers our phone system customers the ability to personally connect sensors to their Ooma Telo base station for home protection. The sensors are only $30 each and easy to install. Most other systems cost at least $500 and usually require a contract around $30 per month. For our system, we would monitor your first sensor for free. If you want more, you would have to be part of our premium service of $9.99 a month. Besides being affordable and easy to use, there is a remote 911 feature that makes us quite unique from other systems.
Q: Are there different types of sensors available?
A: We have motion, door/window and water sensors. The whole system is designed for easy set-up, no wiring involved and you have the ability to use up to 100 sensors. You can apply them in the basement to detect moisture or if a door or window is ajar, and even place under a fish tank or water heater to detect a leak. The sensors connect to Ooma’s home security monitoring app that monitors your home any time from anywhere. The app is easy to setup with for different types of notifications. You can even arm or disarm the system remotely.
Q: How does the 911 connection work through your system?
A: It is integrated through Ooma’s premium phone service. In case of an emergency, your home alerts you to the situation with a phone call or an app notification, if for instance it detects a water leak. It then provides you the option to connect to your home’s 911 emergency services where it automatically passes your home address to the operator. Ooma also works with Nest smoke alarms and learning thermostats, as well as other popular smart home products that you can monitor from the app.
Q: You also have internet security. Can you explain this feature?
A: Our internet security is designed to protect you in your home from malicious threats from the internet. You can use your Telo to enable the service. Basically you would connect your Telo between your modem and router for protection from all the internet traffic out there. We use a service that tracks and identifies bad websites that up until now was only available to large companies. It is done in real time where a database of sites is constantly updating. The service inspects over 30 billion transactions a day on the internet and is powered by ZScaler, which as a consumer you cannot buy. You can also use the service to filter out websites that you don’t want anybody in your household to visit. It’s $3.99 per month with the premier service.
By Gina Dostler