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When building Telecom software, there are four key options that should be explored. Do you build it for on-premises or for the cloud? Do you consider a hybrid model or perhaps just a browser-based app (similar to a cloud-based solution except accessed via a session as opposed to an installed application)? Central to building Telecom software is how to both consume and extend a Telephony API. This article will explore the advantages and disadvantage of traditional host based (on-premise) APIs versus a modernized cloud-based version such as the X1 product released by PIKA.
A good place to start, is to first understand why the traditional API needs to be modernized. Telecom has merged with the internet and social media demanding we can instantly connect, with high reliability and voice quality. We also need the ability to do this, regardless of our location, and via various mediums. A robust and scalable solution is now needed with more redundancy, with an unrestricted architecture. Developers also need the freedom to consume and extend their Telephone API using a range of languages, rapidly, and intuitive enough for fast development and deployment.
Now let’s look at the advantages of an on-premise solution in general terms. This configuration means that your hardware, software and infrastructure all remain in your office (or locally hosted data center). The onus is on you to manage this environment including installations, maintenance, updates and support. The time to setup on-premise can take several months as you need to source all the hardware and software yourself. It is also expensive as you don’t have the flexibility to scale horizontally and vertically, as needed.
What does on-premise mean from a voice API perspective? Telecom PBX systems on-premise tend to be very difficult to modulate. This means agents who should be mobile, need to work from their desks, which is very restrictive given the evolution of communication mediums now. It is also expensive as you constantly have the need to upgrade hardware and software. With your Telephony API, you have the same restrictions essentially when on-premise. It is only consumable internally, so hinders mobility and increases costs. Some may argue that on-premise is a way to reduce latency and increase reliability. While this is true to a small extent, the much bigger risk is managing your own physical hardware (and APIs) internally. This can breakdown and have a much greater impact on your overall reliability.
What are the advantages of moving to a pay as you go, on cloud API and Telecom solution? Firstly, you only pay for what you consume. Be this disk space for hosting, or more importantly, software licenses. It allows you to instantly scale and rapidly. Exposing your Telephony API on the cloud also gives you full mobility. Your agents are no longer tied to their desks and can literally take calls from anywhere. Are there any things you need to consider in development here? It should be compliant with protocol buffers (essentially XML). It should efficiently serialize your data. And should be compliant with gRPC; which is a modern, open remote procedure call framework that allows client and server apps to communicate.
How do the features compare between an on-premise API and a pay as you go, cloud-based API? When on-premise, the features available are the standard call transfer, waiting music, hold and so forth. There is no new or extensive functionality by remaining on-premise. Some of these features can be improved however with cloud-based APIs. Live call monitoring is much easier to implement. Smart IVR allows for better filtering and routing of calls. Along with improved VoIP allowing for voice recognition. Click to call also allows for greater efficiency.
Integration and backwards compatibility are other important consideration. The X1 solution from PIKA, has direct mapping allowing it to be fully backwards compatible and easily integrated. The real challenge with integration on-premise, is from a licensing and installation perspective. You need your IT team to be heavily involved, and this will take time and be cost money. Cloud based APIs are specifically designed to aid integration. It becomes easy for your CRM system for example, to consume your PBX data for cross sell and up sell opportunities.
One of the biggest differences between on-premise and cloud-based API solution is collaboration. Agents can integrate with a single dashboard, making them far more efficient and mobile. The cloud-based APIs also allow for integration via any medium. This gives developers the ability to provide their customers with the ultimate flexibility, pay as you go, work from anywhere solution. It is also worth noting that virtual call Center software also results in less turn over.
But isn’t cloud based less secure? This is a bit of a misconception given a large amount its data breaches are human error or deliberate breaches internally. If you ask most programmers if their data center or a public cloud hosted one is more secure, they would largely say the latter. Cloud data center providers make it their business to ensure everything is extremely secure.
We have spoken generically and more specifically from a Telephony API perspective, on the advantages and disadvantages of on-premise compared to a cloud-based pay as you go. While both options, and perhaps even a hybrid model are sound, to stay up with the internet and social media age, modernization is clearly needed. The X1 API solution touched on throughout this article is certainly worth considering. It covered all cloud-based benefits mentioned above. Isn’t it time your developers allowed their customers to be more flexible and connect on any medium?
Author: Matthew Pollock