Building Robust Applications for the Converged World

Writing robust business applications for computer telephony is hard work. This article provides you with the insight you need to assess the APIs you may encounter and determine which one best suits your needs to build leading applications for the converged world of data and telephony.

The business challenge that computer telephony (CT) application developers face today is very specific and impacts technology decisions directly. Simply stated, application providers want to develop and offer their applications throughout the world, entering new markets and countries at will. A telephony-enabled software application implemented today in the United States needs to be readily transportable across the world, regardless of the underlying network signaling protocols that exist. Think of network signaling protocols as the set of rules or procedures governing data transmission over the worldwide telephone system. Network interface signaling application program interfaces (APIs) address these requirements directly and they are all about call control.

Why is this an issue? For starters, if you are in the business of providing telephony-enabled software, you know that a basic knowledge of signaling protocols and their variants is crucial to the successful deployment of your telephony-enabled application. Depending on the market and network signaling used, a variety of signaling environments may exist. Examples include ISDN, analog, R2 MF, SS7, and H.323, to name a few. Each of these protocols uses differing methods to provide call control. Examples of call control functionality in action include the ability of a call center application to place calls, receive calls, capture digits from the network, etc. Despite the maturation of ISDN, there still is no universal telephony protocol. As such, applications providers face a wide array of country-specific signaling protocols and the inherent integration challenges.

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