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July 24, 2009

Voxeo Releases Cloud telephony Source Code

By Tim Gray, TMCnet Web Editor

Unified communications and self-service platform provider Voxeo (News - Alert) has released the source code for its cloud telephony service,, to developers for free under an open source license program.

According to Jason Goecke, vice president of Innovation at Voxeo Labs, the company’s preference is to compete on who has the best hosting platform and the best customer service, versus who can do the best job of locking customers into proprietary protocols and clouds.  
“We think that's the best for developers, customers and the industry overall. As a part of this, open-sourcing the Tropo platform allows us to provide our leading technologies that someone may run and modify on their own,” Goecke told TMCnet. “We believe the open-source platform will provide a broader adoption of cloud telephony services by reducing the barrier of entry.”
That is because provides a cloud telephony service that enables developers to write voice applications in popular programming languages including Groovy, JavaScript, PHP, Python and Ruby.
Jonathan Taylor, CEO of Voxeo, said the new Tropo source release demonstrates that cloud computing vendors can subscribe fully to open-source ideals, while avoiding the proprietary “lock-in” that often turn up in cloud services.
“We've been tearing down the walled gardens of telecom and replacing them with an open and accessible environment," said Jonathan Taylor, CEO of Voxeo. "Nothing demonstrates this commitment better than Tropo's completely open standards foundation and open-source availability. “Unlike cloud vendors that use open-source but offer little back to the open-source community, we're showing how cloud computing can be both completely open for end customers and concretely beneficial to open-source developers."
According to the company, Tropo is the first of several new open-source projects from Voxeo Labs the innovation and open-source focused organization announced by Voxeo yesterday at OSCON.
This is just the first portion that open sources the Tropo Servlet, which provides a layer between the scripting languages we support (PHP, Ruby, Groovy, Python and Javascript) and the underlying SIP Servlet engine. This servlet can now be adapted to provide the Tropo APIs on other standards based SIP Servlet engines.

“The next step will be to open-source further elements of our SIP Servlet platform to the broader community,” said Goecke.
In fact, the company has been very busy as of late developing and acquiring a slew of customer self-service technologies. Earlier this week, the San Jose, Calif. company launched Voxeo Labs, an organization intended to invest in core platform research, incubate exciting new ideas and innovate advanced communications solutions, according to the company.
All products and services are based on open standards and made available under community oriented open source licenses.
While the open source approach often contrasts with standard operating procedure ­– usually reserved for XML-centered options which have been the only option for cloud telephony services in the past – the applications from Topo are designed to be written comfortably and directly in supported languages. That means there is not a need for intermediary translation to and from XML formats.
"Ultimately our goal is to make Tropo the open, cross-vendor foundation for frameworks such as Adhearsion and others," said Goecke. "We look forward to fostering an open source community that will give developers greater choice, including the option to deploy their own cloud services."
Applications built on Tropo can now answer and place calls over traditional landline phones, mobile phones, corporate PBXs and newer IP-based solutions such as SIP and Skype, according to Voxeo.

In addition to being open source, the Tropo platform is built entirely on open standards including SIP, Java SIP Servlets, and the IETF's Media Resource Control Protocol.
The Tropo SIP Servlet uses another standard, the IETF's MRCP standard to control audio interaction during calls. Using this open sourcing technology, Voxeo is aiming to support a wider variety of MRCP servers, and ultimately support any media platform that implements the Java Media Server Control API, JSR-309.
Voxeo Labs plans to release additional Tropo components that will allow developers to run their own Tropo applications in private clouds, elastic computing services, or their own servers in conjunction with Voxeo's free Prophecy platform.
The lab will also work to support the widest variety of SIP Servlet and media server platforms, giving telephony application developers a simple yet  powerful telephony API that works across the widest variety of platforms and vendors.
“Open-sourcing Tropo along with extending Adhearsion ( support for Tropo, will drive a whole new class of telephony applications that have been difficult to date,” said Goecke. “The community will have a modern development framework combined with a robust cloud telephony platform available as open-source.
The Tropo platform source code is hosted on Github and is available immediately. Voxeo is inviting the developer community to join in building an open cloud telephony platform at .

Tim Gray is a Web Editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Tim’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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