VoIP APIs + Development = VoIP Mashup
Scoble posted a great video of a Zude demo the other day which looks to have some great promise. It's like a social network mashup within a social network. Make sense? I am not going to go into greate detail on the service apart from saying that I was impressed with the ease at which I was able to drop code my Zude page and manipulate images with relative ease, 2 of my pet peaves with any existing web app/blog software.
So the social network scene is heating up which is a good thing, Facebook and MySpace need the competition. There has also been some action in the VoIP Mashup scene of late led primarily by Thomas Howe and Company, go Thomas!
VoIP Mashups are not really all that new. VoIP APIs / SDKs / toolkits have been used in combination with other VoIP APIs in many instances over the years to create various telephony applications. Going WAY back I can remember dorking around with the NetMeeting SDK and other toolkits to produce what could be considered an early H.323 version of Skype.
The technology has come a long way since then and SIP now rules the open standards VoIP roost and I believe we are all better off because of it. As I look back on the state of the industry from the mid-late 90's I can see some distinct similarities in the sales and marketing approach of the old school VARs and the VoIP consultants of today.
The multi-port protocols of old and the lack of support for the SDKs that were represented back then are behind us. In their place are some very well designed and thoroughly supported APIs that can deliver just about anything any company would ever dream of when building a new telephony application or integrating VoIP into an existing application.
So what's missing? If today's APIs are so great why do we need consultants to tell us which one is better for our potential projects? One theory is that we as humans are generally pretty damn lazy. As a rule we also like it when others tell us what we should do thereby averting disaster when the dung hits the fan.
Folks, there is no Black Magic required when building or integrating VoIP into your apps. Do your research and talk to as many industry professionals as possible. In some cases you will not need to know anything about VoIP, SIP or H.323 etc. Make an educated decision, then take that API and build something great.