There have been many attempts at providing easy to use “IVR Toolkits”, visual tools with drag and drop facility by many companies world wide. Apart from this, VXML has also been standardised and being used by many PBX manufactures as well as many large scale cloud IVR Service provider.
Still, it is not easy to develop a practical voice application which starts solving problems of a company. There is always a learning curve for developing voice applications. I had a chance to interact with few young engineers recently and I got few interesting feedback from them what they think about developing voice applications:-
1. It is scary as it seems to interact with hardware directly
Many feel, since it is a software that deals with very well known ‘hardware’ called telephone, not visible on a computer screen unlike traditional computer software, it must be low level programming. Most probably, it is partially true.
But, with IVR Toolkits like VBVoice or other visual tools, one does not bother about hardware at all.
2. Overwhelmed by telephony jargons like SS7, ISDN PRI R2MF etc.
Many students get overwhelmed by these telecom jargon which they hear for the first time or they do not have any practical hands-on experience with. So, they either check Google or ask some one and fail to get enough information. Some are too general or some are too technical, not easy for a beginner to learn.
3. Difficult to get access to CTI Hardware
It is not not easy to get CTI hardware, and it is not only about cost, but also about information from where and how to buy one. First, there are not many CTI vendors in may cities. They are not easily found in Google search. CTI boards are sold by companies which follow certain procedure for selling its product, (like PO – Purchase Order, Online Payment/DD Check etc), which students or normal enthusiast find difficult to follow.
4. Costly to make calls and test
Not many people or students have access to PBX where making calls is free during testing of any voice applications. Even if some people have access to PBX, those may not be high end ones which has ISDN or SS7 connectivity. So it becomes difficult and costly proposition for new developers or hobbyists to develop voice applications.
This is completely in contrast to regular or traditional software development where it does not cost any to test a software on a PC.
Most probably, with cloud IVR gaining popularity, these challenges will be overcome.