What if you could have a single
application that communicated with your customers not just through voice but also through SMS, IM/chat and even Twitter?
That's exactly what we announced at Voxeo today with our new Tropo.com release. Tropo is our "cloud communications platform" operated out of our Voxeo Labs team that is focused on reaching out to web developers using today's programming languages and APIs. We launched it back at eComm in March 2009 and have been steadily adding more capability to it over the last year. Today the "beta" label was officially peeled off of Tropo, new international phone numbers were added, international speech recognition (ASR) and text-to-speech (TTS) were added in 7 languages, and a host of other features were added, too.
Naturally, though, my interest was drawn to the fact that one of the channels you can now communicate to customers with is....
I demonstrated this in a post on the Tropo blog, "How to Add Twitter Support to a Tropo.com App - Step by Step", where I hooked up the Twitter account @danweathertest to an existing Tropo sample app I had that retrieved weather info from Yahoo!Weather when given a US ZIP code. I tweaked the app a bit and wrote about the tweaking in "An Example of How to Make a Tropo App Respond Differently to Different Channels (including Twitter)".
The cool part is that when it was all done, that single application is reachable via any of these communication channels:
+1 (407) 374-3994
SMS: (407) 374-3994
Skype: +99000936 9991438833
Jabber IM: email@example.com
You can try it out by calling any of those numbers or using SMS, IM or Twitter. To use Twitter, just send a @ message to the Twitter ID "danweathertest" like this:
In a few moments you'll get back a summary of current weather conditions in whatever ZIP code you send it. Now the app isn't perfect... it doesn't do much in the way of error-checking and as I mention in the second blog post, I need to work on it a bit more to get rid of the initial prompt if you send it a ZIP code. I don't honestly know what it will do if you send it a bogus ZIP code. It's just a simple demo app designed to get people thinking about what you can do with apps that plug in to Twitter.
Want to try out building some apps yourself? Just head over to www.tropo.com and sign up for a free developer account. You can look at the many sample apps or, if you know python, you're welcome to play with the code to my sample weather app. (And if you don't know python you're of course welcome to play with the code, too... ) Have fun with it... I'm looking forward to seeing what people come up with. (And I'll be writing more about Twitter apps soon...)
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