Teleku joins Tropo and Twilio in competitive Web telephony


The Web telephony space welcomes another competitor today: Teleku (a project of GetVocal, Inc.). For all you Web developers in search of telephony APIs, rejoice! for you have another set of programming goodies to choose from.

Why Teleku over competitors Tropo and Twilio? According to this TechCrunch piece:

So how does Teleku differ from Twilio? It’s a matter of flexibility, according to founder (and sole employee) Chris Matthieu. He says that when you use Twilio, it’s an all-in-one deal: you write your code in Twilo’s easy-to-use syntax called TwiML, which is then sent to Twilio’s telephony services in the cloud that are hosted on AWS. That’s great (and may be even preferable to some people), but with Twilio you can’t port your application to a cheaper service should one become available.

With Teleku, you can write your code using TwiML, or you can use Teleku’s own simplified telephony scripting language, called PhoneML. Your code is then sent to Teleku’s servers, which translate it into industry standard (but harder to write) VoiceXML. Matthieu says you can use that code on any of a variety of established telephony providers, including Voxeo and Plum Voice, and it will also work with enterprise systems that rely on VoiceXML.

Matthieu says this gives Teleku users a few advantages: first, they can swap between various providers if they find a better rate. And he also says that Voxeo and other telecom services have better optimized their servers than AWS has to work with voice traffic, and that they offer a few features that Twilio doesn’t yet, like speech recognition.

Finally, Teleku offers a wizard for building web-enabled telephony services for people who don’t have any coding experience at all. This allows you to select actions from a dropdown menu, like “Play”, “Speak”, and “Transfer” (you then fill in text dialogs to instruct the application what to say or what number to transfer to). You can drag and drop these actions depending on what order you’d like to execute each action. Watch the video below for a complete demo of the wizard.

Sounds like a good combination of features and user experience. VoiceXML is certainly the industry standard and would be a plus to developers who’d want portable applications. The behind-the-curtain star is certainly Voxeo, for providing the platform and speech recognition feature. But no doubt Matthieu did a tremendous job in designing PhoneML and the user-friendly online tool for making it work seamlessly.

And judging by the fact that founder/developer Matthieu tweeted last at 2:30am and got TechCrunched, he’s probably having a very busy day…

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