Being developer lead at DIDX keeps me very busy in doing exactly that…leading the development improvement and education. In October 2017, I traveled to Orlando for Astricon because I wanted to learn more and share with my team later. We participate in OpenSIPS, Cluecon, Kamailio World, and Astricon whenever possible each year for this reason. At these open source communications events we gather information and develop lasting relationships. Being one human and and with the time constraint it was little bit difficult to do everything I wanted at Astricon 2017. We software developers have a little different mentality than just for business. I end up realizing I should have asked for more business cards, connected with more on LinkedIN and open source forums. So much I saw, heard and studied!
Although I love the Astricon guys who produced the networking activities, I couldn’t connect or reconnect with everyone. This article gets its inspiration from this very conundrum! Proper workflow. Let me elaborate how can we use DID numbers to enhance modern workflow.
Our modern lives are crowded with different types of communication bombarding us. A customer can be calling you, messaging you, sending Facebook chats, popping into Whatsapp, posting emails and using other ways of communication, like one big tornado scattering everything in the head and the workflow. Data pings us on these all media and on top of that, on different devices like smart phone, tablet, e-Reader, FitBit, laptop and more. We try to retrieve all our data on mobile phone, but it is not easy to keep up with all information in that one place on such a tiny screen.
Seven years ago, I was employed by a company in which our communications operations were highly inefficient. Every agent was busy practically 12 hours per day on phones/email/calls/faxes and mobile, running around in circles. I created a solution just by adding a very expensive Bluetooth earphone and connected our mobile phones with computer. Now, we were able to use our mobile SMS with computer, place and receive calls with our computers. Email was already on the computers. We were finally and practically hands free to do all work quicker and more fluently with less stress! We controlled everything through our computers, on the bigger screens. Sometimes when I was on call, I was also using SMS response or receiving response as was practical in handling the customer during call. That made my worklife much more productive.
Things would be great if our communication was only composed of that on phone, SMS and email. Today…not a reality. We are locked down in a world where our sales/customer faces are handling much more than those three modes of communication. We add Whatsapp/LinkedIN/Facebook/Twitter/Viber/Instagram/Skype and many more. Companies do not want to put restrictions on customer to one way of communication. We at DIDX, for example, want to communicate with our customers in the way that is most comfortable for them. Our inner selves, our company customer appreciation strategy is strong. We believe our work is customer-focused, and the customer is always right.
Programmable! What is this dilemma?
You will hear of many things labeled programmable. For me, most important is a direct inward dialing number (DID number) which must be programmable. This way most of our communication is unified on one device, in my case, my computer. As a software developer, for me, these DID numbers are life-changing stuff. Let us discuss how I use a DID number to make my life, especially work life more unified and organized.
A standard computer allows me to check my email. I removed the hassle of SMS on a separate device by connecting my mobile phone to my computer, but it was not a good enough connection. It still requires me to remain close to my computer to access my data. If I have a DID number that supports SMS, my issue is resolved without any complication. I can use my browser or my mobile phone to send and receive SMS, whichever is most convenient at any given time. Both worlds meet together. There is another cool thing; my contacts remain constant on both locations. Awesome, but get ready to be surprised more… keep reading.
What about unifying and managing additional methods of communications?
Even with the above improvements in unifying and organizing my data, there are still other apps I use pretty regularly. For example, my WhatsApp data is reserved to my phone still! Where should I go for help? No worries. There is one Arab guy who made an open source API to handle this. We can use our DID number, integrated with WhatsApp using this API. Now, our WhatsApp data, just like our SMS, is available on mobile and web. I know you will ask: what about WhatsApp web? But see it is about data in one place.
Please note there are some issues related with WhatsApp Web. It is said that the special API made by the Arab guy violates WhatsApp terms, and that the guy who made the API received a few notices. Perhaps there is no issue with just one fixed number? I hope in the nearest future that WhatsApp will reconsider their terms and conditions in the name of our global quest for simplifying life, especially worklife. WhatsAPP does not allow API integration because of the potential it presents to encourage spamming. There must be a way to keep spamming from happening while enabling API integration..
You said something about voice?
The beauty of the DID number is that it can be easily integrated with Asterisk or FreeSWITCH and a termination provider. They have great voice quality. I can be reached like a local call by my customers if the DID number is local to him, and I can use the same DID number to call my customer. I can also use speech to text facilities to grab all data which customers might want to use to call.
Instagram and other similar services all have APIs available and can easily be integrated in my computer or other device system to have everything I need to communicate…unified and organized.
It means when I open email, I have the option on my message to call/SMS/WhatsApp… oops! But what about Facebook that so many of us use? Keep reading
Social platform communication
Practically, all social networks enable API integration, so I can integrate my Facebook/LinkedIn portals, too. Now, I can collect that information and make available as needed for my office workflow. Everything is collected and unified. I can use any good open source CRM like sugarCRM or Vtiger and keep everything organized that is related to business in the window of my browser.
Is it not cool? Many companies are working to build the most efficient unified communications setup,, but due to the nature of technology, it is up to your startup as to when and how you will do so. You can also check DIDX.net (company where I work) and other DID providers to take advantage of the power of local DID numbers from every nation. Who knows? Ideally, you might be the founder of another great startup that pulls DIDs and all these unified communications features and more together that are required to run a truly modern business workflow.
Please comment whatever you think. I will deeply appreciate your feedback of debate and further elaborations.
Written by Kamal uddin Panhwar Senior Software Developer DIDx INC (didx.net)