The concept of the cloud is gaining momentum - increasingly we play and work using web applications hosted “out there somewhere”. The Google cloud, for instance, hosts our email, files our documents, and helps us search. Facebook manages our social life. The cloud is also becoming a buzzword in telephony and rightly so. Until recently, phone application development had a high barrier to entry - creating IVR applications to perform business functions either meant getting your PBX to do it (good luck), purchasing an add-on from your phone system vendor (expensive), or getting an IVR custom development shop to create and host it (not bad, but you lose control and it’s still not cheap). Provisioning the bandwidth, phone numbers, and a reliable infrastructure were no small task either. With the onset of VoIP and introduction of protocols such as SIP on the one hand and open source activity on communication platforms (like Freeswitch) and PBXes (like Asterisk) on the other, it has finally become conceivable to deliver voice applications from anywhere.

At IVR Technology Group, this paradigm shift excites us and we talk of how we can deliver not just phone applications but an open telephony platform. Since we run operations out of three datacenters geographically dispersed and over a handful of major carriers, we have an infrastructure that can be described as a humble cloud (against the backdrop of cloud Goliaths like Google and Amazon!). Our recent thinking has been, “Why not empower developers of software to voice enable their applications by giving them access to our voice platform with simple APIs?”

As such, our first foray is going to be what we’re calling Telecast - an outbound calling engine that developers can integrate with to deliver calls ranging from event-driven notification calls (eg. reminder calls based on calendar events at the most basic) to high-volume voiceblasts (eg. community emergency notification systems needing to dial 20,000 people in 10 minutes for example).

Now, a non-profit community organization can quickly power a pledge drive by queuing up calls from its CRM or an indie game developer can set up her e-commerce website to call her with a victory song every time 100 game purchases are made. No T1s to provision, no carrier contracts to hassle with, no datacenter required. Sweet!

If anyone knows of any companies or developers wanting to beta Telecast when the API is released next month, give me a shout!