As those who know about our company will be aware, SureVoIP® has been geared from its inception to be pro-Open Source. Open Source is the term given to software which the developer has allowed access to for other developers.
This is more than a just a statement, it affects how SureVoIP® functions, and how we approach things. It shows a different approach to developing solutions.
Let's compare an Open Source approach to the more traditional purely profit-driven approach. When companies are developing software purely for profit, they work in isolation. A team of developers will have a brief, and will work to fulfil this to the satisfaction of the client company.
This reflects the 'normal' business approach. A gap in the market is spotted, and a product or service is developed to fill this gap. This is a generally accepted business model, and works reasonably well.
However, if we stop to analyse it for a second, we can spot some obvious flaws. The first is that all these products are being developed in isolation. No one individual or business is taking an overview, and there is no guarantee to customers that product 'X' from one company will work with product 'Y' from another company.
As I say, this is fairly normal. After all, we wouldn't expect a manufacturer to design a TV to work with another manufacturer's remote control!
But, if we extend this thinking to the internet, we run into difficulties.
The internet has essentially become a plethora of connected things, enmeshed within our daily lives. We now expect to share a news story by clicking a 'share' icon, and update our Facebook page by using s smart phone app. It is increasingly common to be able to turn on our living room lights at home, by using a smart phone app. As the much talked about Internet of Things becomes prevalent, we will soon expect to order groceries using a voice-recognition device, or expect our fridge to order more milk without us even knowing it's running low!
So if we look at internet-based products and services within the framework of the individual product development model, we see this connected aspect would quickly fall apart. With no financial motivation to develop links between disparate products and services, we would simply have a stand off between companies waiting for others to absorb development costs.
But – introduce collaboration and integration into this picture, and things change significantly. In fact, you end up with our present day connected world, because it simply couldn't exist without them.
Different companies develop products which simply must work with products developed at other times and by other companies. An open, collaborative approach to development is an essential ingredient in this mix, a bit like the flour in a cake recipe. You can have all the icing and cherries you like, but without something to bind all the ingredients together, you don't have a cake!
As a pro-Open Source company, SureVoIP® works with collaboration in mind. We are fully committed to this approach – it informs all our development programmes, and has done since the company's inception.
We allow full access to our API (Application Programming Interface – read on to find out more), giving other developers the ability to integrate with our systems. This in turn allows a better customer experience, with the internet developing in response to customer needs and expectations.
The model of a single company developing products in isolation would not allow this level of cooperation. in fact, it would work against it, as development would stall. The small company with a good idea for customers might be able to develop a new product or service, but would be unable to integrate it with anything. After all, a new app must be able to work with smart phones, or it a waste of development time. The small company who developed it would literally have been better of not bothering, as they will have wasted development time for nothing.
This why APIs are so important. An API (or Application Programming Interface) allows developers to integrate with the back-end of other products. It is essentially a set of rules which governs integration, allowing developers to marry two pieces of software, applications or programs together. In this way, new products can be developed and released, with the knowledge that it will be functional and work across devices. Without this, we end up with our single company development model.
For the internet we are used to to continue to deliver all the things we expect, then we simply need this collaborative approach.
It is the glue which holds all these potentially disparate things together, or, to return to our cake metaphor, the flour which binds all the other ingredients.
More info on our Developer API
More info on our Outbound SMS API
More info on our Outbound Fax API