Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Jingling call control

Third party call control is what makes applications such as "click-to-call" possible. Although I will not qualify "click-to-call" of killer application, its potential in traditional commerce or support applications is undeniable. In essence, third party call control is a must have when the communication sessions are managed by just more than individuals.

Although until recently third party call control was the guarded property of large telecom vendors, a new breed of call control gateway has made its appearance. These devices bridge Microsoft's LCS world with the open source world of Asterisk, and provide a way for the Office communicator client to control the open source IPBX:

  • Use Office Communicator as a soft-phone to place calls, deflect calls, forward calls through Asterisk.
  • Receive incoming call notifications, see who is calling and reroute to an alternate number.

Obviously I do not feel this kind of device important because of what they do for the Microsoft closed products, but rather because they do it through the use of a standard protocol. Office Communicator has a built in support for the ECMA-323 standard, which is also known as CSTA XML. CSTA in its binary disguise has been around telecom vendor's equipment for a while. But I am ready to bet that its XML version will gain more and more traction as it allows a much easier and quicker integration between communication equipments and business applications.

In the context of Jingle, supporting different forms of call control is mandatory if the protocol is to see adoption beyond the narrow context of peer-to-peer direct communications. And I believe that looking to integrate CSTA XML and Jingle is the way to go.

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