Broadsoft has been around for a decade now, offering a VOIP application platform to telecommunications service providers – depending on who you get your VOIP from, you may already be using Broadsoft software and just not know it. With today’s launch of Broadsoft Xtended, they’re trying to build on this foundation to build an entire marketplace and developer ecosystem around their products.
There are two main pieces to Broadsoft Xtended. First, there’s a developers program, which offers information on how to create applications and mashups that use the web to integrate with the Broadsoft API. This program will launch at the end of March, though some early partners already have access to this information and you can register for more information now. You can think of the API as a way to add VOIP features to any web application: dialing numbers, transferring calls, putting them on hold, and so on.
The second piece of this initiative is the Broadsoft Xtended Marketplace, which will show you the sort of things that other people are doing with the platform, and let you download them. You can think of the marketplace as making a three-way match between consumer, developer, and VOIP provider; there are plans to add an e-commerce component so that Broadsoft will handle billing, somewhat similar to Apple’s announced plans for iPhone software delivery. Already, there are a dozen or so applications here, adding voice capabilities to things like ACT!, Facebook, Salesforce, and WebEx.
People have been talking about “convergence” for years, of course, and they won’t stop that any time soon. What Broadsoft Xtended brings to the table is a way for any web developer to get involved in driving convergence – and of course, from the company’s point of view, making the Broadsoft platform more attractive to their provider customers. It’s an interesting play, and one that savvy web workers may well benefit from in increasingly capable applications.