An interesting article appears in the recent issue of Speech Technology Magazine outlining the pros and cons of on premises versus outsourced hosting of voice applications. The article makes a compelling case for outsourcing voice application hosting, and to allow application developers to focus on what they know best ““ developing applications.
It goes without saying that any developer with enough experience is going to understand more than just the core languages and technologies used to build applications. Good developers understand how infrastructure (e.g., networks) and platforms (application servers, database servers, operating systems, etc.) will impact the behavior and performance of an application.
However, unlike traditional customer facing applications, voice applications have an additional component that can be challenging, even to experienced developers. Voice applications require a bridge to the publicly switched telephone network (PSTN) so that users can access these applications from traditional telephones. Creating the interface to the PSTN from a voice application environment, and managing the required telephony infrastructure can be challenging.
Governments that do not have overriding security concerns should consider leveraging the expertise of voice application hosting providers to deploy applications. Some, like Voxeo, will host applications severs as well as voice platforms (VoiceXML interpreter, TTS engine, ASR, etc.) Others, like BeVocal, will host the voice platform and leave application server hosting to the client. Both are excellent ““ and Voxeo’s platform has been certified by the VoiceXML forum.