Bring the APIs - Real IT and telecom integration
A decade ago they thought VoIP was a novelty that would not gain traction in business and traditional telco grade technology would continue to rule. Now business communication is no longer about the functions on the device, but about the functions behind the device, in applications. It is crucial that building blocks for developers are made available via APIs, such as for voice communication, so that applications can be quickly and securely developed on top of them.
Speaking in front of telecom resellers ten years ago about hosted voice and how it would change the world of commercial telephony, there was always someone in the audience who would remind me of the need for secretary-to-manager transfers. Voice over internet (VoIP) was great for consumers of course, but businesses required certain essential features in order to stay in business. They all thought VoIP was a novelty that would not gain much traction in the business world, where traditional telco grade technology would continue to rule.
I had to think back to those days when I was at the APIDays Security event last month in San Francisco. Over 900 developers - from companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, Netflix, Uber, Apple, Cisco, CA, KLM, Oracle and all the other big names that we all recognize from the apps we use on our smartphones and computers everyday - were signed up for the event. All there to listen to talks and to discuss the topic of security in the age of APIs.
AI is the new black
Times have changed quickly. The battles for the workplace and the consumer have exploded into full-fledged wars. Business communication is no longer about the functions on the device, but about the functions behind the device, in applications. Helping customers as quickly as possible, smart routing of callers to the best source of assistance, effective and efficient collaboration for mobile workers, automatic translation, speech to text conversion, voice control, the list goes on and on.
Companies such as Cisco, Avaya and Dialpad have spent tens of millions just in the past year or so buying up AI start-ups and then integrating them into their cloud-based PBX systems. Google AI has been integrated into the call centre solutions of Genesys, Vonage and many others. And of course Microsoft is constantly making Skype for business and teams smarter, with functions such as real-time translation and transcription and the link to Microsoft's own virtual assistant.
As the secretary-to-manager transfer of the old PBX is replaced with this new technology, it is now a virtual assistant who helps us work better and smarter, turning us all into the managers of our own lives.
Technology democratises and improves our lives
In today’s world, it is crucial that building blocks for developers are made available via APIs so that applications can be quickly and securely developed on top of them. For example, companies such as Twilio, Nexmo (Vonage) and VoIP Innovations offer a wide range of different communication functions (SMS, social media messaging, voice, video) through APIs, on a pay-per-use basis.
Innovative telco’s such as Swisscom, Orange and KPN, which I am currently helping, are already guiding their corporate customers to make the best possible use of these building blocks via online API stores. Today, APIs allow millions of application developers around the world to create their own applications, perfectly tailored to specific situations and groups of users.
Customization using standard building blocks. Making calls from within the taxi app, receiving boarding passes via SMS, customer support via WhatsApp, followed by initial assistance via AI or a chatbot. Virtually anything that you can come up with to improve communication with customers or internally can be, and is being realized via APIs. According to Gartner, 75 percent of applications will no longer be purchased in the coming years but will be constructed using standard building blocks.
APIDays Telco Amsterdam 2018
Developers, service providers, innovation managers and system integrators interested in gazing into the future are welcome to attend the APIDays Telco Amsterdam on 16 and 17 October, where a range of international speakers and sponsors will present and discuss the latest developments in APIs, CPaaS and programmable telecom. Use coupon code 'KPN50' to benefit from 50% discount.
Rob Kurver helps corporates innovate and startups scale, as entrepreneur, consultant and trainer/coach in ICT, telecom and cloud communications. Comments? firstname.lastname@example.org.