Tropo Goes Global

A couple of months back, I wrote a post about how nontraditional communication channels – IM, SMS, social networks, etc. – are changing the way that businesses and governments interact with their customers. These channels are “nontraditional” because they are not typically utilized to provide customer service, or to take orders.

That is changing, and the announcement today from Voxeo about their new Tropo service is both evidence of that change, and the catalyst for even more change.

Voxeo Tropo Logo

I’ve always been impressed with Tropo, and not long ago I worked on a series of posts demonstrating how to utilize the Tropo platform with the utterly awesome NoSQL database CouchDB.

The newly reworked Tropo adds an impressive array of new features. It’s not all that unusual any more to see cloud telephony services offering SMS support – it makes sense, and its right in line with what I have been saying about how nontraditional communications channels are becoming more important. Tropo goes way beyond this by adding support for an array of IM networks and also for Twitter (the 800 lb gorilla of nontraditional communication channels).

The international support for Tropo is also impressive – they provide international numbers for inbound calls, and can also handle outbound dialing to international numbers. Phone applications can use international TTS engines to render content to non-English users. Even more impressive, Tropo’s speech recognition capabilities (which have always separated it from other cloud telephony providers) can now support a number of foreign languages – UK English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Mexican Spanish or Castilian Spanish.

Tropo is an impressive platform for a number of reasons. It used to be very hard (and, in some respects, still is) to build a great phone application. The Tropo platform allows developers to build great phone applications, and to leverage the investment in these apps by extending them to other channels and other countries.

A single code base serving different customers on multiple channels. That’s powerful.

And now, with the release of the new Tropo service, a single code base can serve multiple channels in multiple countries in multiple languages.

The times they are indeed a-changin’.