Building communications apps with SaaS – Part 2

Posted on February 17, 2016 by Andrea Mocherman

Finding the right communications service provider can be the biggest challenge for developers looking to integrate voice and messaging into their apps and services. Without control of the connection to power app functionality, devs are limited to innovating on the same set of rules afforded to everyone else. By acquiring total connection control, developers can build apps that truly answer unique needs and create new markets, like Uber and have done. But to do so, devs must partner with a new kind of carrier that hands control of telecom resources over to them.

Is Software as a Service the answer?

In our previous blog, we talked about the pros and cons of using a PaaS platform for your communications initiative. In part two of the series, let’s discuss the Private Hosted model; a model which requires a different kind of carrier.

The issue with traditional carriers is that the service is built on infrastructure that doesn’t integrate well with modern software. But, there is a new breed of carrier emerging that has the same regulatory access to the same telecommunications service without the infrastructure that complicates interconnection. These communications providers are a digital conduit to the inner workings of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN); they remove the complexity of interoperation and pass through all the information associated with pure telecommunications.

Working with such carriers, developers can build their telephony platform (through an open source platform like FreeSWITCH or Asterisk) and connect it directly to the carrier-grade resources, like phone numbers, messaging and routing. This provides them with total control of their calling and messaging functionality.

By tearing down the walls traditional carriers have built, infrastructure-free carriers provide developers with direct access to telecom resources like phone numbers, messaging, routing, and advanced signaling data. With no restrictions on what can be manipulated and controlled, apps and services can leverage the PSTN to deliver unique use cases through API and management portals. The pre-packaged functionality encompasses the entire telecommunications spectrum, unfiltered, directly from a carrier level source.

What a difference direct network access can make

Advanced signaling data offers developers new possibilities in control. Signaling information such as where a call originated, who is paying for the call, did any data change along the way is providing the impetus innovative communications applications. By having direct access to the telecom network, devs can access detailed data transported through the SIP packet, which can then be passed on to a Unified Communications system for routing control and creative call and messaging delivery. Most carriers don’t pass that information outside of their network, but every day Flowroute is seeing new customers spinning up new apps and services based on the information that is passed via its SIP packets.

In addition to providing total communications control, this model scales more efficiently. When FastCustomer left Twilio to build their own FreeSWITCH box and connected it to Flowroute, their costs dropped an order of magnitude from what they had been paying as their user base scaled up at the same rate.

Moving Developer’s Forward

Providers like Flowroute that expose the inner workings of the global telephone network to the minds and hands of app developers are the keystone in the bridge to the future of human communications. The Private Hosted model is facilitating better fraud control for financial institutions, highly controlled and targeted marketing and advertising campaigns, and the ‘Uberfication’ of industries beyond accommodation and transportation.
By bringing developers into the network, we’re expanding the possibilities and accelerating the pace of innovation. Together with the developers we serve every day, we’re facilitating new communications technology and introducing new revenue streams into the flagging business models of the 100s of traditional carriers we interconnect with around the world. And all we do is hand over control to those who can run at the pace of demand.