One of my first jobs as a software developer in telecommunications was writing an automated hotel wake-up application based on TDM voice boards using an ancient API. Who knew that nearly 30 years later, applications and APIs would still be a huge catalyst of innovation? If the last few months can be used as a gauge, building communications applications with APIs is seeing a resurgence, fueled by new APIs, cloud-based services, and easy-to-use developer tools.
A few examples that really stood out from my travels this last few months:
During the AT&T Developer Summit Hack, upwards of 22 teams put together some great ideas, building on the open WebRTC platform that AT&T offers the market. My favorite hack combined both WebRTC and IoT to create a medical monitoring application that allowed a patient to remain in their home, but their medical condition was constantly monitored by medical staff who (if there was an anomaly) could immediately initiate a video call to the patient. Another fascinating idea allowed students to take their smartphone devices to school, but using Geo-fence technology, limited the people they could interact during school hours with to a whitelist created by their parents.
Earlier this month, Enterprise Connect dedicated an entire track to Communications APIs, showing off some early applications during an “APIs In Action” session. A couple great real-world examples were presented by Nicholas Kwiatkowski from Michigan State University starting with an application to replace expensive monitoring services for their 600+ elevators on the various campuses. A group of students created an application that would handle any elevator emergency call box activations, sending a text message to an available maintenance staff member and routing the call to a campus security desk. By eliminating the separate analog PSTN lines and specialized answering service accounts for every elevator, the college saved the cost of the call answering service, improved response times and simplified maintenance record keeping. Interestingly, this application was initially developed by students during a Hack-a-thon, later hardening the application and deploying it campus-wide. Another application created at Michigan State University integrated the campus parking meter system, sending reminders of pending expiration of paid-parking and offering an opportunity to extend the meter with a text response.
But that’s only a few examples from this last couple months. There is plenty of opportunities to see APIs in action in the upcoming months:
The weekend of April 9th and 10th, TADHack-mini in London will play host to a number of developer teams vying for their share of a $5,000 prize pot. Dialogic and Telestax are joining forces at the event, offering developers a very powerful and developer-friendly environment to implement their ideas. Got an idea and want to complete? Registration is FREE and can be done at: http://tadhack.com/2016/mini-london/ Watch for tweets from the event as we watch the developers pitch and craft their hacks.
Later this summer, the folks at TMC have organize an event titled “All About The API”, held July 18th – 21st in Las Vegas. Much broader than just communications applications, this event explores the broader marketplace for software building blocks and their APIs that can be used to create integrated services. Dialogic will be participating in a number of speaking sessions and sharing our cloud-enabled APIs with potential developers. More on the event at: http://www.allabouttheapi.com/
If this summer wasn’t packed enough, the Kimmel Center at New York University is home to the Real Time Web Solutions Event, an event focused on bringing web communications to applications, creating new business opportunities and strategic advantages. More on the event at: http://www.webrtcexpo.com/east/Default.aspx
And always available, you can follow the conversations and news for developers available on the Communications Developer Zone at: http://www.communicationsdeveloper.com/
Some final thoughts:
While the move to the cloud, new software development tools and methodologies have dramatically changed the way applications are created today (leaving my developer skills in the dust), a good idea will always find success. I’m waiting to see a bright-eyed student craft an intelligent wake-up application at one of the upcoming Hack events. Some things have not changed..