KOOKOO is a cloud telephony platform developed by Ozonetel Systems Pvt.Ltd., a Hyderabad based Telecom company, which is spearheading cloud telephony in India by providing a easy interface between web application and telephone. It s completely indigenous technology developed from scratch by Ozonetel team headed by C. Chaitnaya, which uses their own proprietary CTI hardware as well as software.
KOOKOO was developed in 3 years and it has so far handled more than 600 million telephone calls in last one and half years after its launch, told to us by Chaitanya in recent email communication. Kookoo is being called Twilio/Tropo of India with a difference that Kookoo uses ISDN PRI lines for receiving and making calls while Twilio uses SIP primarily.
One can simply visit KOOKOO website, sign up then start integrating both inbound and outbound voice calls with desired call flow without having to worry about telecom jargons as well as worry about SLA ( Service Level Agreement) with telecom operators. Kookoo offers simple ‘pay-per-usage’ model where a user pays only for their usage.
Here is the complete interview with C. Chaitanya, the chief architect of Kookoo platform.
1. Have you developed your Cloud Telephony Architecture Kookoo from scratch ? How difficult was that ?
Yes. KooKoo has been built from scratch by us, including the telephony hardware. Initially we tried to work with some open source solutions and imported hardware and found that they had fundamental issues on scaling. Also good hardware was costly, while the cheaper one didn’t offer the right supportand has no visibility in terms of what shape it would take in future, building platform on them would have either raised the cost big time, or would have been big risk for the platform future . So we built the hardware and adapted certain open source to implement the complete stack on our own. This gives us the flexibility to tweak at any level of the stack and be competitive.
It was a very hard process and had involved more than 3 years of solid engineering effort. In fact, we are still improving the system and building stuff. Last month the new design of our boards went into fabrication, this would fire the new kookoo media servers starting November.
2. How big is your team ? Do you get CTI manpower easily in India ?
We are 24 people development team and 16 people support team to take care of the NOC and support. Teams are structured to handle different layers of the platform. Core telecom team takes care of the hardware, driver, core stack and exposes telephony function as a simple API. From there the application team takes over. Because of abstraction we need more application developers who don’t need CTI know how.
Core telecom team carries immense experience on telecom side, with their prior experience on rolling out sizeable solutions on Avaya, Nortel, Cisco etc., so we never have had to really look around for CTI developers so far.
Since this tech is complex and manpower is scarce, that’s the idea behind Kookoo.
3. Are you raising your own telephony infrastructure for Kookoo or will you allow users existing telephony infrastructure ?
Currently complete infrastructure is hosted and managed by us. Only infrastructure that users can bring in, is his existing set of E1 trunks that can be terminated on our platform. One of our Business model is PAAS, where KooKoo is made available as a platform service.
4. How are you interacting with developer community ? Where and when did you conduct some Kookoo developer workshop, if any ?
Interaction with the community is through Hackathons and developer relations and events. A lot of evangelism happens to sensitize developers about KooKoo.
5. Do you think cloud telephony is growing in India ? Which industries, in your opinion, are most receptive to the idea of cloud telephony in India ?
Cloud telephony is growing a lot in India as has been evident in the uptake of our platform. We have replaced on premise solutions in a lot of traditional contact centers as well and all our products have been well received. Our stack has handled more than 600 million calls in the last year and a half and that shows acceptance of the platform.
6. What are major challenges ( if there is any), in your opinion, in India for development of cloud telephony in India ?
There are many challenges that are specific to India. Biggest is the TRAI/DOT guidelines, anything that you plan has to be carefully vetted if its in line with the guidelines. Secondly Telecom operators relationship, adding new telephony infrastructure is a slow process, and getting the uptime as per the SLA is a challenge (because of issues like fibre cuts etc). Even though we are with Telcos in their datacentre we have fall backs links from other operators. Approx 40% of our NOC team time is spent on getting resolution for trunk issues, links flapping/latency/packet drops. Running multi location operation, and meeting user expectation is a big challenge as cloud is imperative to uptime.
7. Could you please tell 3 most exciting Voice Applications developed by your developer community ?
We have TwitterVoice(http://www.kookoo.in/twittervoice), VoiceBuzz for Facebook(http://www.kookoo.in/voicebuzz) and Kiri, Apple Siri on KooKoo( http://blog.kookoo.in/2012/10/apple-siri-clone-in-kookoo-wins.html)
8. How do you compare Kookoo with Twilio, Tropo or Aculab Cloud ?
KooKoo has been called as the Twilio/Tropo of India. So we pretty much provide all the features that these other platforms provide. Only difference would be that their stack is mainly on SIP whereas we run on top of the E1(ISDN) cloud.
9. Answering Machine has not really picked up in India, can cloud telephony and Kookoo help here ?
That’s more to do with Behaviour then technology. We neither like to leave voicemail nor are bothered to hear them, missed call list works best for us, we call back. Our Product Bizphone makes it absolutely hassle free , we have seen couple of user adopting as they want people to leave message, but they are not so many.
10. Do you see any competition of Kookoo in India ?
For KooKoo, at a platform level, there is no competition in India. At least, none that I know of. Although, there is competition for product http://www.bizphone.in which have been built on top of KooKoo