IMPACT: voice-enable your website

One of the coolest things I’ve seen this week at IBM IMPACT is some of the new technology that has just been made available in a WebSphere Feature Pack. The technology is for Communications Enabled Applications (CEA) – yes, it’s another one of those great technology industry TLAs! šŸ™‚

I sat down with Savio Rodrigues for a discussion and demo of the Feature Pack. It is very, very clever stuff. What it essentially enables is a simple “click-to-call” button on a web page which can create a secure voice and cobrowsing connection between two users. If you’re familiar with Skype, or voice chatting on Yahoo Messenger or Google Talk, you’ll understand the principle that there’s no need to make calls over the phone all the time – I’m increasingly making use of voice-over-IP technology for my day-to-day tasks, so this is a natural capability to expect in web applications as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve probably explained the cobrowsing concept in a clumsy way, but Savio has described the experience on the IBM CEA blog. There are also some great videos up on YouTube which demonstrate how this works. Here’s one of them:

The best part? The amount of effort required to build the functionality into a web page is really small. Obviously you need to be running on WebSphere, but the front-end website code is trivial, just a few lines of HTML and some Javascript includes.

The Communications Enabled Applications content was slightly low-key at IMPACT, compared to CloudBurst, BPM BlueWorks, and other big splashes – but don’t overlook this capability.

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