Avaya has launched a new application that allows Voice over IP (VoIP) services to be offered as part of an enterprise wide service oriented architecture strategy.
The telecoms software vendor has dubbed its technology Communications Enabled Business Processes (CEBP), and the white goods manufacturer Whirlpool has been trialling its application.
The main benefits of VOIP deployment have, so far, been limited to the cost savings from retiring legacy phone systems and the added productivity of a small number of voice/data applications -- almost exclusively for call centres.
CEBP exposes an array of voice communications features as Web services, which can be called upon by any number of applications from IT operations to supply chain management.
One customer, Whirlpool, has been experimenting with a pre-release version of CEBP for more than a year. Brian Murphy, director of e-services in Whirlpool's global development division, has already applied CEBP's array of services to IT processes, shortening response times. "If a system goes down ... that's an issue we want to be able to do something about in minutes, not hours. Straightaway, we want to be in action mode," he said.
Avaya sees CEBP as a way for enterprises to optimise business processes and respond swiftly to events.
For example, a rule could be created so that a temporary interruption at a manufacturing plant might cause an ERP system to ping CEBP, which would send an automated advisory message with a return receipt to the appropriate manager via phone, e-mail, or SMS.
In the event of a serious business continuity issue, the Notify & Conference feature could be invoked, initiating voice calls to a preset list of people and dropping them all into an emergency conference call.
In other instances, CEBP could merely ensure that composite workflow applications, which are often cited as a major payoff of SOA, aren't stopped in their tracks by people who aren't sitting at a computer and can't respond promptly.
Avaya is not the first vendor to provide a Web services platform for voice communications capabilities. Last September, BlueNote Networks introduced its SessionSuite SOA Edition, designed to enable developers to embed telephony capabilities in a range of applications. But Avaya's large customer base and professional services group could help jump start the use of voice-based Web services.
Whirlpool's Murphy, for one, is looking at expanding the use of CEBP in a number of areas, including supply chain management and manufacturing. "We're taking a strategic look at all parts of our business," he said.