Twilio, one of our competitors in the cloud communications space (covered by Jason Kincaid of TechCrunch), released an open-source, web-based PBX application called OpenVBX. The name is a little misleading as only the OpenVBX PHP web application that let’s you administer the PBX is open-sourced while the platform is designed to only run exclusively on Twilio’s services at $.03-$.05 per minute - UNTIL NOW!
By releasing OpenVBX, Twilio helped Teleku more than they currently realize. We have always supported the Twilio Markup Language (TwiML). We just needed a good test application that had extensive coverage of the Twilio API to finish our ability to test Teleku’s support for Twilio’s API and TwiML (in addition to our own easier API and PhoneML).
Teleku’s implementation of the Twilio API and TwiML has been enhanced and now more than 90% of OpenVBX’s features running on Teleku with no changes to the OpenVBX code base except for changing the URL of the API from https://api.twilio.com to http://api.teleku.com. This means that OpenVBX is now - well “open”. Customers are no longer “locked” into Twilio hosting to use OpenVBX. Since Teleku ultimately translates PhoneML and TwilML to VoiceXML, OpenVBX now runs on any carrier’s platform such as Voxeo!
So what are the differences? Teleku does not yet support transcriptions but we are working with PhoneTag and MyCaption to implement this feature soon. We also do not store recorded voice files on Amazon S3 rather we form post or email them to the developer to manage (this is a business decision that may change in the near future). Our phone number provisioning API currently does not support toll free numbers but it does support local numbers (just not by area code yet).
On the upside, Teleku runs on any telecom carrier’s network which means that you could deploy your OpenVBX application to Voxeo, XO Communications, I6NET/Asterisk, Plum, Syntellect, TellMe, Genesys, etc. Teleku supports speech recognition on all menu prompts and has many text-to-speech engine options that sound much better than Twilio’s robot voice. We also have a free SIP-based platform (Ninja), that allows free calls from any SIP client (in and out of the platform) as well as cool hacks like routing your GoogleVoice number through Gizmo (SIP Gateway) to Ninja (OpenVBX) for free calling. Our SIP support also allows you to use SIP Gateways such as VoxBone and VoIPJet (or any SIP Gateway provider internationally) to get a phone number (DID) that links to a SIP address for as little as $.01 per minute to run calls through Teleku/OpenVBX. Also, by linking your Voxeo developer account to your instance of OpenVBX running on Teleku, you get your own DID, SIP, Skype, and iNum numbers that ring right into your instance of OpenVBX. Again it’s as easy as doing a search and replace (3 hits) on https://api.twilio.com with http://api.teleku.com before installing the app or by updating the PHP source and twilio_endpoint database record in the settings table of OpenVBX.
We have registered http://OpenVBX.biz and directed our VoiceXML to Voxeo and we are able to place outbound calls, send outbound SMS messages, provision phone numbers (local), add mobile devices, create call flow scripts, link call flow scripts to numbers, and receive inbound calls and SMS messages that execute the associated call flow scrips which are running in TwiML. Other features such as creating tenants and sales/support workflows work as well.
For the good of the telecom industry, we hope that Twilio will allow Teleku to contribute code to this exciting new open source initiative, OpenVBX! We believe that for an application to be considered truly “open”, the customer should not be “locked” into a vendor’s platform. Teleku solves this problem by allowing developers to run ALL of their Twilio applications on any carrier they desire as well as by using lower-cost SIP alternatives to deliver game changing telecom solutions.
Check out this video demo of OpenVBX running on Teleku!