The traditional business phone line may be dying a slow death but Canadian start-up Hookflash is looking to speed up its demise. The Calgary-based company is launching an iPad app (s aapl) by the same name Thursday that integrates LinkedIn’s directory (s lnkd), giving business users a free over-the-top alternative for voice, HD video and messaging. It’s the first communications app to build upon LinkedIn’s social graph and demonstrates some of the latent potential in the network of 160 million people.
Hookflash users will sign-in with a LinkedIn account and will be able to communicate with other LinkedIn users in their contact list, which is populated from their LinkedIn directory. Users will be able to see the profile of who they’re talking to and will see their latest updates from their activity feed, so there’s helpful context for each call. If a recipient is not available to receive a call or message, they will get a push notification that takes them into the app.
The iPad app will be joined soon by an iPhone app and then a version for Android (s goog) later this year. The service will also get calendaring, scheduling and other productivity tools as it evolves. Multi-party video calling is also on tap later this year, though the service is not meant to take on WebEx (s csco) and other conferencing systems.