Review: Voxeo Community
In our of previous reviews we discussed the benefits of outbound calling. Outbound calling means that the VoiceXML application initiates a call to a specified telephone number and starts a VoiceXML session. I expect outbound calling to be a big success in automating a number of alert-based systems, which can be used in multiple kinds of applications including stock trading (alert me when a stock in my portfolio goes up by 5%), inventory management (alert a manager when a key raw material has low inventory), etc. Voxeo community allows an alert to be created with a regular VoiceXML application. Basically, you configure a application using the account manager and then add an outbound calling token (as shown below).
- DP is a dialing prefix used by the Voxeo Network
- NUMBER is the number to be called
- TOKEN is the token which is mapped to a particular application.
Outbound Calling requires that your account has the appropriate permissions. You can call Voxeo customer support or post a message in the newsgroups to find the appropriate access for development purposes.
Detailed execution of the VoiceXML application is supported through a web-based utility called "Voxeo Network Logger." The Logger is activated when you call phone numbers which have been assigned to your applications. The Logger shows different events in different colors to ease the user experience. At the end of a call, the log can be emailed to a particular email-address for further analysis. One of the features which I think should be added is that the community should allow storage of these logs so that the user can come back and check these archived logs as well.
One of the new features of the tech preview version of the community is Call Reporting. Call Reporting creates an Excel-based report for the various calls that have been made to your applications. The reporting function allows you to customize the reports by application, date, phone numbers, etc. The Excel report provides a graphical and tabular view of the calls as well as a summary view of various parameters, such as average calls/minutes per day, max calls/minutes in a day and min call/minutes in a day. This information can be very useful in understanding what your pilot or production application should support.
Apart from some of the tools that make up the Cafe, it contains a comprehensive set of resources including a large collection of pre-developed, complete open source VoiceXML applications. These applications include a Zip Code Look Up, City Locator, VoiceXML and <transfer>-based dialer. Perl, Java and ASP programmers would be happy, as Voxeo provides a module which contains library of functions which abstract the VoiceXML syntax. Voxeo Community also contains an open source prompt library which contains a large number of pre-developed prompts for major airports, alphabet, currencies, dates and times, greetings, etc. These prompts are in 8000 Hz, 8bit, MuLaw .wav format. Developers would also find the community to be a single source for VoiceXML documentation and tutorials. From a support perspective, Voxeo Community provides 24x7 technical support and NNTP based newsgroups for collaboration.
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