vb.net barcode generator Next-Generation Applications Made Possible by Softswitch Features in Software

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Next-Generation Applications Made Possible by Softswitch Features
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The development of new and profitable features is what will mark the near term success of softswitch applications. It is impossible to forecast now exactly which features will later be considered killer apps of VoIP and softswitch. The following paragraphs speculate on a few features available at the time of this printing.
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One unique feature arriving on the market with softswitch applications that is not available on Class 4 is web provisioning. Web provisioning enables customers to do their own provisioning via a web site. This also allows customers to choose their own product mix and to turn individual services on or off. Other features available on softswitch but not on Class 4 include voicemail to email, voice email browsing, voice calendar (which calls you about events), voice-enabled dialing, flexible call routing based on external events, click to dial on PC (phone rings and connects to party), remote call control (forwards a call including feature via a web page), and web phone control. In short, by using VoiceXML (VMXL) programming, a new feature can be written anywhere from 20 minutes to a few days.14
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Interview with Nathan Stratton, CTO, Exario (www.exario.com), October 28, 2001.
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Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.digitalengineeringlibrary.com) Copyright 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.
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Features and Applications: It s the Infrastructure, Stupid!
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Many cellular service providers already offer voice-activated dialing where the subscriber s voice interfaces a database of telephone numbers and selects one to be dialed. That technology can be taken a few steps further to be voice-activated web interfacing. Instead of needing a computer to interface web sites or email, a subscriber could access those resources via a voice-activated interface. In short, a subscriber could retrieve driving instructions via their cell phone or obtain stock quotes, the latest news, and weather, as well as email. SandCherry of Boulder, Colorado, is actively engaged in developing this technology for use by telephone subscribers.
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The Big So What of Enhanced Features
At the time of this writing, it is still far too early to determine what the killer app is as regards applications for softswitch that cannot be duplicated on a Class 4 or 5 switch. Applications such as follow me, web provisioning, and voice-activated web pages may look promising at this time, but it should be stressed that it is not the specific application that constitutes a killer app in context, but rather the infrastructure that makes any new and convenient application possible. An open-standard, IP-based infrastructure makes a variety of new applications possible. Not only that, but using SIP or VXML to develop and deliver these applications adds a great deal of flexibility for service provider and subscriber alike. Perhaps the best definition of the new services made possible by softswitch architecture and applications is provided by Ike Elliott, Chairman of the International Softswitch Consortium, who describes them as being that feature or set of features that makes a worker more efficient. In other words, this architecture offers a business or industry the flexibility to write features and applications that are specific to those businesses or industries. Historically, a business had to take what the equipment vendor was offering or would provide for a steep fee.
Napster and i-Mode: Examples of Killer Apps
No one can predict what the killer app will be. A good example would be Napster, which provided MP3 downloads via the Internet free of charge. At one point, it was rumored to be about one-third of all internet traffic. This killer app was not the product of a century-old Fortune 10 service provider
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Features and Applications: It s the Infrastructure, Stupid!
Features and Applications: It s the Infrastructure, Stupid!
or even a media conglomerate. It was the product of a college dropout with a few servers connected to the Internet. An example of the features and applications that generate a great deal of revenue for the service provider is Japanese cell phone service provider DoCoMo s i-Mode. i-Mode provides HTML-based (text-based language delivered over a packet network) information to DoCoMo s cell-phoneenabled subscribers. The DoCoMo subscribers can access graphic information from their cell phones. Some 46,000 unregulated sites can be reached by typing in a URL, but the 1,800 official i-Mode offerings are constantly monitored by DoCoMo to make sure they are current and easy to use. Official i-Mode sites are allowed to charge 100 to 300 a month ($0.85 to $2.50), which DoCoMo collects for them in exchange for a 9 percent fee. Although these sites are created with a compact version of HTML, the lingua franca of the Web, terms like HTML and even Web never appear in i-Mode ads. Handsets are manufactured by name-brand consumer electronics outfits like Sony and Panasonic, but DoCoMo subsidizes the phones heavily to keep the price low: A model that might ordinarily cost $600 retails for less than $350. Because DoCoMo s wireless network is packetswitched, users are charged only for the number of data packets they send back and forth, not for the amount of time they re connected, as on most networks outside Japan. i-Mode, introduced with minimal expectations in February 1999, has attracted more than 25 million subscribers one-fifth of Japan s population. New subscribers are still signing on at the rate of 43,000 a day, 1.3 million a month. i-Mode now has 39 million cell phone subscribers and generated revenues last year of $39 billion with 180 employees. That translates to $216 per employee per year. Compare this to Qwest and WorldCom at $295,000 and $229,000 respectively per employee per year (see Table 10-4).15
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