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What do you need to run a cloud-based telephony application?

White paper

Faye McClenahan, Head of Strategic Marketing, Aculab

What do you need to run a cloud-based telephony application? Introduction


Ok, youre sold on the benefits of cloud computing. You understand it means you can take advantage of computing resources that are owned and managed by someone else. Thats great! But you want to know what that means in relation to telecommunications, whether you need any additional hardware or software, who takes care of the PSTN connection, how you can access the telephony resources in the cloud, etc. In short, you want to know what you need to know, in order to be able to develop and deploy your telephony-based application, whether its an IVR, voice-broadcast or conferencing system.

The application
To start with, lets have a look at what your telephony application is going to be doing. It is going to add telephony functionality to your workflow processes and, in telephony terms, the equivalent is call flow. That is achieved by means of your application controlling the telephony resources via a menu of structured commands an API. The resulting call logic is executed by the cloud-based platform that makes, takes or interacts with a call (e.g., plays or records a message; presents a caller menu; transfers a call; creates a conference; or records a call). The good news is that you do not need to purchase additional, specialist software to implement these telephony functions. You will already have access to your programming language of choice its what youve been using to write your business application. Apart from that, depending on the cloud telephony platform you use, there may be software to download, to help with the management of your application. Without doubt, your cloud provider should make any such software freely available to you. You shouldnt have to buy anything extra in order to create the call logic.
Fig 1. Your application contains the call logic, which Aculab Cloud executes

The application server To continue, lets consider where your telephony application software is going to run. Its probably going to run on the same servers you use for your business application. Yes, that means hardware. However, it doesnt mean you have to purchase specialist machines. You can run the software alongside your other applications on your existing, premise-based servers or install dedicated same spec. machines in your data centre. On the other hand, you could choose to run a virtual operation and run your application in the cloud; on Amazon or Rackspace, for example.

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What do you need to run a cloud-based telephony application? The telephony resources
Moving on to the point where you have an application that can e.g., make an outbound call, transfer a call to an agent and record messages, lets take a look at the telephony resources. Where do those resources reside and how does the call logic that you have coded gain access to them? Here then is some more good news to savour you do not need to buy any dedicated telephony hardware or software. The primary function of any cloud-based telephony platform is to provide you with such resources, negating the need to buy specialist technology. Your cloud vendors purpose in life is to make available to you in the cloud and on demand a virtually [sic] inexhaustible bank of resources for your application to use. And what makes things even better, is that you dont have to pay for an over provision of capacity in order to cater for traffic peaks. Furthermore, you dont have to pay for any volume of in house resources. To use the cloud-based telephony resources, your application simply needs to be registered with the cloud platform, via a suitable Internet connection. Once thats done, your call logic software executes on your server (as above) and exchanges information with the cloud platform when there is a call event to be handled.

The deployment
In terms of exploring the possibilities a cloud-based platform can offer you, it gets even better. You shouldnt need to hand over any hard cash to set up a developer account. Its only when youre ready to roll out your application that you need to spend any money. At that point, you will need to pay for inbound numbers and to be able to make outbound calls. From that moment on, you can make and/or take as many calls as you need, and you dont have to plan ahead for peaks. The cloud platform will scale automatically, depending on the traffic passing through, and it will handle innumerable, concurrent calls. You pay for what you use, rather than pay for hardware and software or specialist technology.
Fig 2. Deployment of a cloud-based solution with benefits highlighted

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What do you need to run a cloud-based telephony application? The connection to the PSTN network
When it comes to calls breaking out to the PSTN or when you have to receive calls originating in the PSTN, the good news prevails. You do not need to buy a gateway. Once again, the functionality is managed by the cloud-based telephony platform vendor. The cloud provider will have taken care of all necessary interconnect arrangements with its various service provider partners and any break out to the PSTN will be through those partners existing, established gateways. Some providers, like Aculab Cloud, will even let you plug in your own service providers. Its simply a question of registering them to the telephony platform and its still the case that you dont need to buy a gateway.

The data
And finally data or, more specifically, data security, can be a very sensitive point. In truth, there is no reason why data stored on premise is any more secure than that in the cloud. Nevertheless, you (or your customers) may not be willing to place any or all of your data in the cloud at any time, if at all (although its important to add that you could, if you so wished). If your application is data driven, your data can remain on premise; a connection simply needs to be made between it and your application. Most likely, that will be a pre-existing connection, which means you wont have to add any costly, additional interfaces.
Fig 3. Premise-based application and data deployment

Fig 4. Cloud-based application and data deployment

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What do you need to run a cloud-based telephony application? Conclusion


If you were sold on the benefits of cloud computing and being able to take advantage of computing resources that are owned and managed by someone else, you should now appreciate that a true cloud telephony platform maintains the promise of cloud computing. This white paper has explored the implementation of telecommunications solutions in a cloud environment and addressed the issues. Presenting those issues in a tick box fashion will help you to see clearly, the benefits that can be derived from using a cloud-based, telephony-as-a-service platform.

Criteria
Do you need additional hardware? Do you need additional software? Is an expensive PSTN connection needed? Are gateways needed? Can you use specialist telephony resources, managed by a third party? Is seamless scaling of resources to cater for changing traffic volumes possible? Are you able to pay-as-you-go, only for what you use?

No

Yes

Cloud telephony removes the need for you to purchase or maintain specialist telephony resources or gateways. It should allow you to invest in your application which is where your core skills lie as your traffic volumes increase. And it should enable you to pay-as-you go and scale seamlessly, up or down, when you have the need. Now you know what you need to know in order to be able to develop and deploy your telephony-based application, whether its going to be an IVR, voice-broadcast or voice conferencing system. Your success is assured.

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What do you need to run a cloud-based telephony application? About Aculab


Aculab enables developers and systems integrators to produce a variety of high performance communications solutions. Aculabs portfolio offers an exceptional mix of capabilities that are easy to integrate and bring real value reduced costs, increased customer satisfaction and competitive advantage. A complete range of open standards building block technologies for use within telco or enterprise environments, as well as essential support services, are offered. Products include media resources, digital network access, VoIP, fax, speech processing and conferencing. Support is available to help developers through each stage of their products life cycle including pre-sales consultancy, technical support, training and marketing.

Copyright and other notices


2012 Aculab plc. All rights reserved. Aculab, The Groomer, Prosody, Connected With Aculab, Aculab Worldwide Digital Connectivity and Aculab Your Connection To The Future are registered trademarks of Aculab plc. ApplianX, Prosody S, TiNG and GroomerII are trademarks of Aculab plc. All other product or company references or registered and unregistered trademarks are the sole property of their respective owners. For more information, visit the Aculab Cloud website at http://cloud.aculab.com or visit Aculabs at www.aculab.com Aculab plc, Lakeside, Bramley Road, Mount Farm, Milton Keynes. Buckinghamshire. MK1 1PT. United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (0) 1908 273 800 The information in this white paper is provided by Aculab plc, a computer telephony company, and is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this publication forms any part of any contract. The information contained herein is based on material, which Aculab, based on its best efforts, believes to be reliable, but no representation is made as to its completeness or accuracy. Aculab make no warranties, express or implied, in this document. E&OE

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