API - Interview with Mark Carbonaro

Insider Interview: Discover What Makes the iovox API Unique

Posted on by iovoxPosted in Featured Articles
At iovox, we offer our customers more than ‘ordinary call tracking.’ This insider interview with iovox CTO, Mark Carbonaro, takes an in-depth look at the magic that happens when forward-looking companies choose the iovox API.

Mark Carbonaro, iovox CTOMark Carbonaro, CTO of iovox

Q: Mark, iovox says: Why settle for ordinary call tracking, when you can get so much more from iovox. How would you explain ‘ordinary call tracking’?

A: ‘Ordinary’ call tracking is a simple implementation that typically includes a local or toll free number wrapped in analytics that helps a customer understand how many calls they received, how long they lasted, what time of day those calls occurred and so on. When we say ‘why settle for ordinary’ we mean that our platform can do so much more for customers than just the basics.

Q: How would a customer access that next level of functionality in the iovox platform?

A: There are two ways this is typically done. We often have customers that are looking for a sophisticated solution that might have complex rules associated with call flows that they want, but they don’t have a development team to do the work. For these types of customers, we create ‘off the shelf’ solutions, minimizing the impact on their internal resources and speeding up deployment to days, instead of weeks or months. We also have customers that want to get into the code and customize for integration into their existing workflows or platforms, and they are looking for a set of well documented APIs and support from our dev team. These two examples are the most common approaches customers take when interested in maximizing the benefits of the iovox platform.

Q: You talk about “the platform” but what is that really?

A: Think about the platform as Lego bricks. There are pieces or modules that fasten together to create a solution for specific business problems. Not every piece is required for each use case, the structure can be modified at a later date, and things can be added on and/or removed as needed. In my opinion, this is one of the best parts about our system, the ability to use only the portion you need but knowing that you can access the other modules if required down the road.

Q: What are some of the different modules of the platform?

A: There are five main parts to our current platform.

1st is our Voice API. A lot of the action among our customers occurs in the Voice API, where customers activate features like WebCallback, configure sophisticated Call Rules, and set up number purchasing as part of an automated workflow when creating advertisements or new listings. There are analytics for reporting, call recordings, transcription functionality and so on. The Voice API has an impressive list of functions, centered around call handling and the voice portion of a conversation.

iovox api

2nd is our SMS API which enables the sending and receiving of SMS messages, customization of rules and even pushing SMS to voice where a regular phone call is placed and the SMS text is read out to the person who was called.

3rd is our Email API which can track emails associated with things like service notifications. We look at the basics like clicks and open rates.

4th is our Live Chat API which allows for analytics to be applied to chat-based communications sessions and allow co-browsing sessions where agents and users can navigate websites together.

5th is our Call Data API which enables customers to evaluate call data from their cloud or on-premise based PBX system. This is a unique feature in the industry as our Call Data API can ingest call records from anywhere such as Cisco UCM systems, Cisco’s BroadWorks platform, Asterisk based systems, Avaya and any mobile phone running our software. Once we have the data the customer can do different things with it such as speech analytics, sentiment analysis, quality control and so on.

Q: That’s quite the list. What are some of the more creative things you’ve seen developed with the APIs?

A: That’s like asking which of your children you love the most! We’re proud of all our deployments but some are more complex than others. For example, we have one customer who has 240+ call rules as part of their call flow, and our system, in real time, records calls, connects to external APIs, sends text messages and handles some very robust rule management in a very efficient manner. That is definitely another huge strength of the system, its efficiency.

Q: What do you mean by ‘efficiency’?

A: The platform is not chatty in terms of protocol overhead related to events that occur on the system. For example, some of our competitors have systems that require hosting in the customer’s environment in addition to an instance of the software with the service provider. That kind of set up adds an extra hop in the chain which can add latency and introduce service reliability issues.
In our system, the code is fully hosted in our own environment which eliminates that extra hop and makes the features and services more efficient.

Q: Does that make iovox a cloud storage provider?

A: Not exactly. We do host information in data centers around the world, and we are 100% GDPR compliant. However, our system is different from cloud hosting data centers in several ways. Lower latency levels are one, but another is that we are a tier 1 telecommunications carrier in several of the countries we support, which gives us a real advantage when working with global clients. We own our own hardware in every data center we operate in, and we believe that the additional investment translates into better service quality for our customers.

Q: What are other advantages for businesses who choose these APIs and iovox in general?

A: It’s kind of like buying a car. We provide you a fully functional car that you can drive off the lot, which you can make enhancements to with after-market wheels and tires, window tinting and so on, to make it your own. The level of technical expertise needed is fairly low for ‘off the shelf’ solutions and we are always there to help those customers that want to get into the code and customize for integration into their existing workflows or platforms.

When you compare that against some of the “tools” companies out there, with them you’re essentially buying a car kit and it’s a Do It Yourself (DIY) project. What we see often is that many businesses are looking for solutions that are flexible and can solve a real problem quickly without a big diversion of internal developer resources. Our platform enables us to help customers across a wide spectrum of use cases from turnkey to custom.

Q: It sounds like you’re not a big fan of DIY companies like Twilio?

A: Ha! No that’s not it. Twilio is an impressive company and it’s hard to argue with their success. They are a different business as they focus on the tools. We’re not trying to be Twilio, but there is definitely a subset of their users that would benefit from the flexibility and overall performance of our platform. We find that many companies out there do not have the developers needed to solve the kinds of problems they are trying to tackle after signing up for a DIY project. We support large brands like British Telecom and Web.com, and our technology is highly scalable, so we know our platform can stretch and can be delivered globally.

  • AutoTrader one of the UK's largest digital automotive marketplaces.
  • La Centrale France's leading marketplace for second-hand vehicles
  • BT one of the leading communications companies.
  • Zoopla one of the largest property portal marketplaces.
  • PAP a leading property portal platform.

Q: How do you support developers today?

A: Developers tend to get involved once the business discussions get serious and we typically engage with the customer’s dev team pre-sale to scope out what they’re trying to do as a business and what their goals are, and we make recommendations if we think there’s a better way to solve the problem. Once a contract is signed, depending on the complexity, we’ll be involved to make sure the technical onboarding and any API related support questions are answered quickly.

Q: What does it cost for a company to explore the iovox APIs if they were considering iovox but not ready to commit?

A: It’s always free. We also make ourselves available to answer questions and we have materials to share that can help.

Q: Is there code that someone could put on their site easily just to experiment with iovox technology?

A: Yes. In fact, our new WebConnect software is a WebRTC implementation that is really simple. Iovox WebConnect is low touch from a development perspective and turns any web site into a calling portal from the browser of a web visitor without the use of phone numbers. A simple Javascript code snippet for WebConnect is all you need, and it looks like this:



The snippet:

<div id="call_button"></div> <script> let options = { "selector":"#call_button", "linkId":"call_me", "credentials":{ "apiKey":"23f5943159bab396a229a8f1bb3332d8b02ae6b3", "actionKey":"78a9ce08b759a8bd0ec1d6e1403cbc4b55d53292" } }; let dialer = new IovoxDialer(options); dialer.createButton(); </script>

The result:


For anyone reading this, if they were to select the call button above or insert this test code onto their site, a call would be placed and a recording would be played saying: “Thank you for trying iovox WebConnect, if you would like to know more about this or any of our products please send us an email at hello@iovox.com. Alternatively, you can leave a voicemail after the tone and we will get back to you with the information you’ve requested.” If someone leaves a voicemail it will be emailed to hello@iovox.com.

Q: That’s very cool! We appreciate your time today Mark. As we wrap up, any final comments?

A: The biggest take away from this is that the flexibility of our platform allows customers to have an off-the-shelf solution, a partially customized solution, or a fully customized solution using the building blocks of our API. The level of developer involvement varies with each of these three scenarios but from our perspective, the platform enables iovox to far exceed ‘ordinary’ when it comes to serving call tracking customers.

Questions?If you’d like to know more about iovox solutions, or get access to our development environment always free of charge, give us a call toll-free from within the US at +1 888 369 9519 or send us an email at hello@iovox.com.

From outside the US please reach us at one of these numbers:

Las Vegas, USA +1 702 425 7505
London, UK +44 (0)20 7099 1070
Sydney, Australia +61 (0)2 8520 3530
Paris, France +33 (0)1 84 88 46 40

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