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Many Session Initiation Protocol features are now available through open APIs for a variety of platforms. While voice over IP only refers to voice calls, SIP encompasses the set up and release of all calls, whether they are voice, video or a combination of the two.
Because SIP establishes and tears down call sessions, it brings multiple tools into play. SIP services enable the use of multimedia, VoIP and messaging, and can be incorporated into a website, program or mobile application in many ways.
The APIs available range from application-specific APIs to native programming languages, such as Java or Python, for web-based applications. Some newer interfaces are operating system-specific for Android and iOS. SIP is an open protocol, which makes most features available natively regardless of the SIP vendor. However, the features and implementations for SIP service APIs are specific to the API vendor.
Some of the more promising features include the ability to create a call during the shopping experience or from the shopping cart at checkout. This enables customer service representatives and customers to view the same product and discuss and highlight features within a browser, creating an enhanced customer shopping experience.
The type of API will vary based on which offerings you use. Before issuing a request for a quote, issue a request for information (RFI) to learn what kinds of SIP service APIs a vendor has to offer. While this step takes time, it will allow you to determine what is available and what you want to use. You will want to determine the platform or platforms you wish to support. Some APIs may be more compatible with specific platforms, which will require some programming to work with other platforms.
Make sure to address security in your RFI. Some companies will program your APIs for you. If you don't have the expertise, or aren't sure what you're looking for, then it's advantageous to meet with some of those companies to learn what security features you need.
Dig Deeper on VoIP and IP telephony
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