What Matters in Cloud Telephony

The landscape of cloud telephony continues to change.

I was heartened this week to see some of the sharpest minds I know in cloud telephony and unified communications get together with the acquisition of Teleku by Voxeo. Teleku and Voxeo’s Tropo service are complimentary ones that offer lots of goodies for developers, and I’m anxious to see what these guys will be cooking up now that they have joined forces. Congrats to all involved!

While there is lots of discussion about what this acquisition means for the constantly changing landscape of cloud telephony, this move validates (in my mind) some of the important trends that will determine which cloud telephony companies will be around for the long-term and how developers will use their services.

None of this is new – I’ve said it all before. It is worth noting, however, that all of the trends that I’ve observed before that are going to make the difference in the cloud telephony space are ones that both Tropo and Teleku do very well.

Portability – underscored not only by Teleku’s support for the open standard VoiceXML, but also the Tropo crew’s involvement in the Asterisk world, and the defacto standard for building Asterisk apps in Ruby – Adhearsion.

SIP integration – remember this kids: true cloud telephony has SIP baked in – the rest is just marketing fluff. Both Tropo and Teleku support SIP interoperability and make it very easy for developers to use SIP as part of their applications.

Multi-channel / multi-modality – Both Tropo and Teleku have big multi-modal chops. Being able to interact with users on multiple communication channels from one code base is a key tenet of unified communications and cloud telephony, and this will become increasingly important in the future.

Speech recognition – cloud telephony isn’t your grandfather’s way to build a phone app, so why should users be restricted to their grandfather’s way of interacting with a phone app? Speech recognition is fully supported in both Tropo and Teleku, and this will matter more and more to cloud telephony developers going forward.

So if you’re wondering what the next change in the cloud telephony landscape will be, you can bet that one of these trends will dictate the change.

Until then, I’ll be hacking on some cloud-based, speech rec enabled UC apps. 😉

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