VOIP Web services company BlueNote Networks on Dec. 10 will extend its ability to embed voice into online business applications or services when it launches a pair of new application program interfaces for its SessionSuite communications platform.
The new APIs (application program interfaces) for BlueNote's SessionSuite SOA Edition, which allows developers to embed voice within SOA applications running on IP networks, make it possible to add outbound notification and interactive response to business applications.
The ON-SF (Outbound Notification Solution Framework), based on Simple Object Access Protocol standards, makes it possible to add to business applications "proactive outbound notification," according to Mark Ericson, director of product strategy for BlueNote.
For example, with consumer applications in the financial services industry, the ON-SF allows users to add account activity notification or stock alerts. In healthcare, prescription renewal notifications can be added, and, in transportation applications, flight delay or cancellation notifications can be added to existing business applications.
The ON-SF goes beyond voice notifications to reach intended message recipients through multiple channels. It enables not only voice notifications, but e-mail and text message notifications as well.
Read more here about SessionSuite SOA Edition.
"Through a single Web service API notifications can go over SMS (Short Message Service), fax, e-mail or voice. We do a lot of the heavy lifting for the application developer. We deal with queuing, retries, time of day constraints, and collect any results that come from that delivered message," said Ericson.
Northern Kentucky University is working with the ON-SF in its advanced technology lab to test out the potential for adding emergency and other types of notifications to its campus systems, according to Tim Ferguson, CIO of NKU.
"It's very easy to connect the applications into our environment. We're exploring the concept of doing notifications to our (students, staff and faculty) and easily embed that Web service inside our applications," he said.
ON-SF was designed to handle a high volume of outbound notifications and at the same time allow those notification messages to be personalized.
The new Session Interaction Plug-in Framework API takes the idea of Interactive Voice Response and applies it to multiple communication mechanisms using Web service APIs and the underlying Session Initiation Protocol support in SessionSuite.
"Because of the SIP infrastructure, we could do interactive [Instant Messaging] and the same APIs you would use for voice interaction can be used for text interaction, and a mixture of voice, text and video," said Ericson.
Unlike competitive Voice XML technology, it does not require specialized skills in scripting languages.
"We deliver the same capabilities as a voice platform would have—interaction over a phone with back end applications. But we took a more Web services approach. The only new skill the developer needs is to learn our simple API. Voice XML takes specialized skills and knowledge to build applications. It has its place, but where someone wants to add some phone reach to an application, we have a much easier approach," said Ericson.
NKU's Ferguson agreed. "We're using sophomores to do the development work. We spent more time thinking through how we're gong to apply it. The investment you have to make is the application of the technology and putting it in a situation where it can be successful and add value," he said.
The two new BlueNote APIs will be available by year's end.
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