An API is an ‘Application Programming Interface,’ which is a fancy way of saying that an application (or app) is designed to support another app or series of apps. APIs often integrate to enhance the productivity, usefulness, or appeal of other programs. These can be part of a computer system, tablet or smartphone, or even websites, including social media outlets.
A voice API connects applications that are rooted in the Internet to phone services or those that utilize the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). This allows Internet-based services to act as telephone gateways, so that the developers of such systems (VoIP services, for example), can enhance the end-user experience.
A programmable voice API, therefore, is a program that enables people to make, receive, and manage calls, call waiting, and other features commonly associated with traditional phone services via the Internet. It is directly associated with VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, and one of the primary reasons these programs work.
Voice APIs are utilized in a wide range of applications and not just for average individuals to be able to make and receive calls. They can be used within call centers or through cloud-based systems. They can also be utilized to track call data and integrate with artificial intelligence (AI) to improve logistics, training, and the customer experience for companies around the world.
Whenever there is an application that focuses on communication, it has the ability to leverage voice API. Due to programmable voice APIs, there has been a significant increase in the development of Internet and cloud-based communication systems and apps.
What is VoIP?
VoIP has become a more affordable way for businesses to integrate a phone system within their operations than it would cost to utilize a traditional phone service. While there are many advantages to relying on VoIP for business, there are also a couple of key disadvantages, but thanks to programmable voice API, those negatives are rapidly diminishing.
One of the most significant had long been if power service is disrupted, such as during an emergency. In the event of power loss to the building or region where a business operates, the VoIP service wouldn’t work, since it relies on Internet signal and power to the modem and/or router.
However, thanks to voice API tools and integrations, this particular challenge or limitation can be significantly diminished by utilizing phone-based apps where the business number can ring through to a cell phone (as long as Internet access is still possible). Cell phones generally maintain signals during power outages, so long as the closest tower has alternative power sources.
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When making or receiving calls using VoIP systems, a person will initiate or receive the call through their Internet Service Provider (ISP). An outgoing call, for example, will start with the user on their computer-related device or smartphone. This is generally done through an app or adapter. Then the signal is broken into what are called packets, which are small amounts of data sent through the Internet router to the VoIP provider and then to the person being called.
Once the packets arrive at their destination, they are reassembled and all this takes place in a matter of milliseconds. Any delay is barely noticeable, if at all. Each person’s voice (on the call) will be digitized into bytes of data, which become the components of those ‘packets.’
The original method of traditional phone calls transmitted voice through circle switching, and though it is still effective, it is not nearly as cost-efficient as packet switching.
If the Internet signal for both parties (or all parties for conference call features), is solid and stable, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between VoIP calls from those generated across a traditional landline phone.
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Does programmable voice API work with cell phones?
Today, the answer is simple: yes. That’s due in large part to programmable voice API. The same method that allows a person to make and receive calls on their desktop, laptop, or tablet using a VoIP service allows them to make those same types of calls using their cell phone.
While the essential basics of most VoIP apps and companies are the same, not all providers offer the same benefits, cost savings, or stability and clarity of calls. Also, some will provide different features, offer better customer support than others, and so forth.
When you integrate a VoIP app on your phone, you would open that app in order to initiate a call. Instead of the phone call going through your basic phone service, it will go across the Internet signal. If you are not connected to a hotspot (the main Internet router, either at home or at a business), then the call will utilize your ‘data.’ This basically refers to how much information you can access (usually over a month timeframe) based on your cell phone carrier’s agreement and plan.
If you are not connected to WiFi and have no more data to use for your phone service, then VoIP will no longer work.
Why would someone use programmable voice API on their phone if they can already make calls with it?
A VoIP service will have a different phone number associated with it than what the person would have for their cell phone. This allows people to operate a separate business number, work remotely, and not have to share their direct cell number with potential customers. This offers privacy, separation between work and life, and numerous other benefits.
Is WhatsApp a programmable voice API service?
Essentially, yes, WhatsApp’s calling service is VoIP in its basic sense. While different to some degree with regard to the app and other features, it is an app that uses the Internet to carry images, videos, and voice from one party (person) to another. That is the essence of what VoIP is and does. WhatsApp deploys VoIP to enable users to make and receive calls.
One of the key differences between WhatsApp and other VoIP services is that WhatsApp is free to use and doesn’t provide a direct phone number. In order to utilize WhatsApp, you need to use your cell phone number as a calling point in most cases.
Remember, VoIP uses your phone data unless you are connected to WiFi with your cell phone, in which case the call will go through the router and ISP. Programmable Voice API is merely an integration that allows systems that use VoIP to work properly, so voice API itself doesn’t utilize data.
If it weren’t for voice API, many of the call features we have access to today on our computers and other devices wouldn’t be possible.