Len Klie

Apps at the Speed of Sound, and Battleships

When Aculab, a provider of enabling technology for the global communications market, introduced its AMS Server a few months ago, it intuitively knew the ability to create telephony-based applications in less time—and for less money—would be readily embraced by various developer communities.  By allowing developers to write in  C-Sharp (C#) and Python, rather than  C and C++ languages, AMS Server is estimated by some to speed up development time by two orders of magnitude.

Aculab put this concept to a test recently when it invited  developers to use AMS Server and its high-level APIs for Python and C# to build a customized interactive voice response application (IVR), all within one hour.  Participants ranged from programmers with extensive experience in these languages to salespeople with limited or no programming history.  The result: Each individual or team successfully built and demoed a working system within the time limit.

“While we did provide a very basic sample template, and the results varied widely, based on the programming expertise of the individuals, we were nonetheless extremely pleased that every individual and team successfully met the challenge,” said Chris Loutsaris, Aculab’s professional services team leader   “The challenge reinforced our belief that AMS Server offers developers very practical benefits in terms of reducing both time to market and development costs as a whole.”

While the less experienced programmers dove into the AMS Server toolkit, creating custom routing options and selecting appropriate .wav files for voice prompts, one team took the creativity challenge to an entirely different level.  As experienced developers with significant experience in C#, the team of Martin Bell and John Graham from AWCSL was not intimidated by the time limit.  In fact, they finished the basic IVR work in the first 20 minutes of the allotted hour.  Then, they really went to work creating a battleship  game for a caller to play while on hold.  To make it more realistic and fun for the caller, these guys went to the Internet and downloaded text-to-speech prompts and custom sound files. The result was a fun and functional IVR application that could be integrated into a complete suite of business applications.

“We were quite comfortable with the API after the introductory session, so we really wanted to have some fun and show the group a creative application,” Bell said. “Of course we won the challenge, but in the process we got a good feel for the Aculab product and capabilities. AMS Server definitely provides what we need going forward to create custom telephony applications for our products and customers.”