Communications in the Cloud

For service developers, making services available in the cloud depends on the type of service and the device(s) being used to access it. The process may be as simple as a user clicking on the required web page, or could involve an application using an API accessing the services in the cloud. Telcos are starting to use clouds to release their own services and those developed by others, but using Telco infrastructure and data. The expectation is that the Telco’s communications infrastructure provides a revenue generating opportunity.

Using the Communications Services

When in the cloud, communications services can extend their capabilities, or stand alone as service offerings, or provide new interactivity capabilities to current services. 

Cloud-based communications services enable businesses to embed communications capabilities into business applications, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. For “on the move” business people, these can be accessed through a smartphone, supporting increased productivity while away from the office. 

These services are over and above the support of service deployments of VoIP systems, collaboration systems, and conferencing systems for both voice and video. They can be accessed from any location and linked into current services to extend their capabilities, as well as stand alone as service offerings. In terms of social networking, using cloud-based communications provides click-to-call capabilities from social networking sites, access to Instant Messaging systems and video communications, broadening the interlinking of people within the social circle.

Accessing through Web APIs

Accessing communications capabilities in a cloud-based environment is achieved through APIs, primarily Web 2.0 RESTful APIs, allowing application development outside the cloud to take advantage of the communication infrastructure within it.

These APIs open up a range of communications possibilities for cloud-based services, only limited by the media and signaling capabilities within the cloud. Today’s media services allow for communications and management of voice and video across a complex range of codecs and transport types. By using the Web APIs, these complexities can be simplified and the media can be delivered to the remote device more easily. APIs also enable communication of other services, providing new opportunities and helping to drive Average Revenue per User (ARPU) and attachment rates, especially for Telcos.

Media Server Control Interfaces

When building communications capabilities into the “core of the cloud,” where they will be accessed by another service, the Web 2.0 APIs can be used, as well as a combination of SIP or VoiceXML and the standard media controlling APIs such as MSML, MSCML, and JSR309. The combinations provide different capability sets, but with MediaCTRL being developed in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), it is expected that MediaCTRL will supersede MSML and MSCML and have an upsurge in availability and more developments after it is ratified. JSR309 is a notable choice for those seeking Java development, as it provides the Java interface to media control. This is an example of accessing services in the cloud through Web 2.0 and media control interface APIs.

Whether businesses are deploying communications services for access from outside of or within the cloud, the environment is one that supports the speedy development and rollout of these capabilities.

Communications Scalability

To deliver on the scalability requirements for cloud-based deployments, the communications software should be capable of running in virtual environments. This allows for easily increasing and decreasing session densities based on the needs at the time, while keeping the physical resource requirement on servers to a minimum.


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