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AT&T throws latest API at VoIP providers

Call Management API allows multiple apps and devices to use the AT&T phone number for IP communications


Published: 8 January, 2013

READ MORE: US | AT&T | Applications | VoIP

AT&T has been holding its developer summit alongside the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and its chief focus has been on the Digital Life platform for all kinds of connected devices. However, another point of interest - also aiming to enhance AT&T's role in the changing mobile ecosystem, and keep it well away from the bitpipe - focused on its latest API (application programming interface). The Call Management API is designed to fend off over-the-top voice services by allowing customers to retain their AT&T phone number across all devices.

The API is in alpha testing, and CMO David Christopher pointed out that, though some OTT offerings span both PCs and handsets, they still require users to sign up for a new number, which then has to be programmed to forward calls to an existing cellphone ID. By contrast, AT&T's API will allow partners to add web telephony functionality to non-phone devices, such as tablets, consoles or in-car systems, while still using the same mobile number. Developers will be able to tie IP voice, messaging and social networking apps directly to AT&T phone numbers and extend a single number to multiple devices and applications.

The API is powered by Voxeo Labs' Tropo platform and also harnesses IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) - AT&T's is from Ericsson - and the emerging WebRTC standard, part of HTML5. This allows users to access their communications in real time from a browser.

AT&T also announced that it was changing its pricing structure for the API Platform to allow developers to get one million API calls per month on the Platform for $99.

And the operator announced its Alpha API program, to allow developers to offer ideas for new APIs and have them to be sponsored into Alpha by third parties to increase collaboration.

Among the 'proof of concept' APIs already available are text-to-text translation, based on AT&T's Watson speech recognition engine; and customer profile, which could make it easier and quicker for users to make mobile purchases by securely auto-populating a purchase form.

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