IVR, CTI, and Computer Telephony developers create applications that combine telephone and computer systems. Historically, these applications have been built with a wide variety of telephony APIs, components, and script languages:
- Dialogic R4 and GlobalCall: two popular, C-centric APIs that work with Dialogic/Intel telephony cards.
- TAPI and JTAPI: two abstract telephony APIs for Windows and Java, currently supported by around 20% of the telephony market.
- ECTF S.100: a complex but comprehensive telephony API supported by around 10% of the telephony market.
- ActiveX Controls (such as Visual Voice and VBVoice): these simplify Dialogic and TAPI API development complexity.
- Proprietary IVR languages: each unique to the IVR platform they run on.
All of these telephony programming solutions suffer from three common problems: None are widely adopted standards; all are limited to a subset of platforms and operating systems; and all were designed to requirements that pre-date modern web-based solutions.
Over the last five years, the telephony industry has turned to two XML and web based standards for telephony platforms: VoiceXML and CCXML. VoiceXML and CCXML are industry standards from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) – the same successful standards body that created HTML, XML, and HTTP.
VoiceXML defines a markup based standard for Interactive Voice Response (IVR), including prompts, recording, touch-tone entry, voice recognition, and text to speech; while CCXML markup provides the foundation for call initiation, control, switching, routing, conferencing, and call center integration.
VoiceXML and CCXML solutions run on an increasing variety of IVR, CTI, and Computer Telephony servers, products, and boards. Furthermore, because these standards are based on XML and HTTP, they bring with them the immense power and value of web technologies.
The XML Advantage
VoiceXML and CCXML based IVR, CTI, and Computer Telephony solutions deliver ten key advantages over their legacy counterparts:
- Portability: To date, over 300 vendors have pledged their support for the VoiceXML and CCXML standards. This wide spread support guarantees you the ability to create applications that will run on a wide variety of platforms without vendor lock-in. In addition, this diverse portability lets you derive a return on telephony application investments beyond the lifespan of a single IVR platform or vendor.
- Reliability: VoiceXML and CCXML application platforms leverage the web industries’ multi-billion dollar investment in reliability. IP based load balancing, failover, and security from vendors such as Cisco, F5, and CheckPoint can be re-used by your company to deliver mission-critical telephony application reliability.
- Scalability: VoiceXML and CCXML solutions separate call processing platforms from application servers just as web solutions separate web clients from web servers. This IP-based, client/server web architecture scales far beyond the most extreme telephony requirements. For example, telephony applications with extremely large call volumes drive less than 10% of the requests-per-second seen by large web sites.
- Extensibility: VoiceXML and CCXML are both based on XML – the eXtensible Markup Language. XML standards have built-in support for extendability that can be leveraged by platform vendors, customers, and third parties to deliver valuable, cutting-edge features and technologies.
- Ease of Integration: As web-based solutions, VoiceXML and CCXML solutions can leverage existing enterprise investments in web integration. Any back end server, mainframe, database, or system that has been web or XML enabled can be rapidly integrated with VoiceXML and CCXML applications.
- Lower training costs: Because VoiceXML and CCXML solutions are based on the IP and web technologies your company already knows, your developers, engineers, and support staff can hit the ground running with little or no additional training costs.
- Lower capital costs: VoiceXML and CCXML applications can run on the same web application servers as your existing web sites, obviating the need for additional application server investments. In addition, the split client/server architecture lets you deploy telephony applications at your facility while outsourcing telephony infrastructure, call processing, and redundancy expense and headaches to a hosted VoiceXML and CCXML service such as Voxeo’s Prophecy IVR Hosting.
- Lower support costs: Your staff’s existing knowledge of web and IP-based platforms, the ability to re-use existing web application servers, and the ability to outsource call processing and telephony infrastructure to providers like Voxeo all add up to reduced support and maintenance costs for your company.
- Faster time to market: Telephony applications can be designed and delivered by your existing telephony or web developer teams and existing resources. Using free, hosted developer infrastructure, resources, and support on sites such as Voxeo’s own Evolution developer portal, your VoiceXML and CCXML applications can go from concept to customer faster than ever before. Or, you can leverage the services of Voxeo’s application development partners.
XML and Voxeo
XML based telephony solutions with VoiceXML and CCXML are rapidly replacing legacy, proprietary IVR, CTI, and Computer Telephony platforms and applications. This rapid adoption is due in large part to the significant improvements in return on investment, ease of use, versatility, and time to market only XML based telephony can deliver. Learn more about migrating your legacy IVR platform to open standards with Voxeo.