Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Telephony API of the Week: Voxbone

Wednesday is NOT Prince Sphagetti Day... it's API day. APIs connect service providers to applications in Web services architectures. Application designers use the functionality provided by the API to build their mashups or to build their business process applications. Service providers make money with their APIs in a number of ways, including directly paying for their use, by expanding their business base, or by providing the API for free, and deriving value from the data that they gather. Today, most Web APIs are free, but are expected to have licencsing costs for commercial deployments. Most communication APIs have some pay-per-use associated with them, since they expose transactions, such as SMS, which cost money.

Today's API is Voxbone, a provider of DID numbers to the VoIP community. DID stands for Direct Inward Dial, and essentially, it's how you get a phone number. With the Voxbone API, you can find phone numbers and purchase them for your VoIP service. Once you purchase your phone number, you can set it to point to any SIP (a common VoIP protocol) address you wish. This has some direct business implications, because it allows providers to offer phone numbers world wide, without keeping an inventory of them, increasing functionality for the users, and saving money for the providers.

Why would you, the application designer, wish to do this? I'll give you one, and I'm sure you can fill in the rest: temporary numbers. Wouldn't you like to have an anonymous phone number? Classified ads are a fantastic place to use a temporary number. With the Voxbone API, you can get a phone number, assign it to your cell phone using a SIP URI that maps into a direct line into a PSTN number, and off you go. Return it when you're done. I'm going to take my number and point it to a Voxeo script.

So, in your toolbox, you can now get a phone number, whenever you want, and put it back when you're done.

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