Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Web 2.0 meets Telco 2.0

The closed telecommunications business model is in trouble. Large operators find it difficult to introduce new profitable services using their expensive infrastructure. Some of them have realized this and are rushing to enable 3rd parties to implement new services by publishing interfaces to their networks. The prime example is British Telecom who has made major investments implementing their open 21st Century Network. Several APIs are now available for messaging, call control and mobile applications to create interesting mashups.

The Web21C SDK is a set of libraries that makes it simple for developers to consume Web Services exposed by BT. Many services can be accessed easily:
  • Messaging - send SMS messages
  • Voice call - place phone calls from applications
  • Conference call - place and control conference calls
  • Location - determine the geographic location (latitude,longitude, altitude) of a mobile device
  • Authentication - create and control authentication realms for applications, including management and authentication of users
  • Inbound SMS - receive and process SMS text messages from any mobile network
  • Contacts - give users the ability to build and maintain a list of buddies and set their availability
  • Information about me (IAM) - store and retrieve data about an individual in key value pairs
The Web21C SDK allows product and service developers, from major enterprises to one-man programmer start-ups, to integrate their new applications with BT services in a single line of code.

Competitive pricing model: Web21C SDK services are charged through a credit system with each service having an associated credit cost per invocation.

"No other telco in the world is doing this," says Dirk Wood of the Web21C team. "BT is ahead of the game. This product shows that BT is in the business of becoming a fundamental part of the new world where innovation is agile and can originate from anywhere. This is central to what web 2.0 really means, it's where all services are going and we're right at the leading edge of this movement."

ProgrammableWeb has a great how-to article on the big picture of telephony APIs and mashups.

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