Open-source software has been used, shared, and integrated to provide a wide array of products, functions, and features since the beginnings of network-based computing. Open-source software offers an array of benefits for businesses and users alike, and when utilised effectively, can deliver a real competitive advantage.
We explore the benefits of open-source software for specifically communication and highlight some of the innovative ways open-source software is enhancing and advancing Speakerbus’ own SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) model for Trader Voice.
The open-source software movement
The open-source principles are not new, as the concept of “free software” dates back to the 1980s, and the open-source movement started seeing spikes in popularity from the early 2000s. However, with the advent of the Cloud revolution, its usage has accelerated and expanded to provide the cloud-based services we all know and love (like Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Web Services) and the supporting infrastructure (e.g. Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform) they're hosted on.
The collaborative approach of open-source software has enabled various technologies, including website hosting, data storage, and audio processing. It continues to be used and expanded by a diverse range of contributors, household names like Microsoft, Google, Apple and smaller enterprises have also added to, and use, the approach.
What are the main benefits of open-source software?
There are several advantages businesses can gain from using open-source software solutions, either in-house or through a solutions provider. Here’s some of the key benefits of open-source software:
- Flexibility - Developers can see how the code works and make changes to meet specific organisational and client needs.
- Agility - Every business requires agility, and open-source delivers just that, offering multiple ways to attack and solve a problem without writing code from the start.
- Security - The open-source software’s community-based nature means that many people are contributing to the code, but it also means that more people are inspecting it too, identifying vulnerabilities faster and pushing out more regular updates.
- Community - The code is openly available, and any developer can make suggestions. This type of approach cannot be matched by proprietary software companies, where there is a process for customisation requests and take time to review and execute, which comes with costs attached.
Open-source software is, by nature, more effective than building software solutions from the ground up, which more than likely have an open-source alternative that does the same thing already available. Because of this, solution providers can benefit from streamlining their development using open-source software.
How has Speakerbus embraced open-source software?
Speakerbus utilise open-source software in a variety of ways. We select best-in-class technologies to allow us to bring products and features to market faster without the need to 'reinvent the wheel'.
For example, at Speakerbus, we use Docker technology to provide scalable containerised soft endpoints that offer clients voice trading tools with a flexible, right-sized Graphical User Interface (GUI) easily deployed to a user's browser. We leverage open-source encryption technologies to provide secure connections between these Docker Containers and the user's GUI desktop to improve security further.
Designing to industry standards allows for greater compatibility and integration with other products to provide synergies that increase the capabilities of products and systems. For instance, using the industry standard of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) for voice call set-up allows for greater compatibility with existing PBX technologies.
Looking forward, Speakerbus and Private Wire partners will be migrating traditional Private Wire capabilities to SIP. This will provide greater deployment flexibility and geographic independence, which simplifies datacentre deployment by minimising proprietary hardware.
Additionally, our use of industry standards such as SNMP and Syslog allows system administrators to use a wide variety of Network Management Systems (NMS) to observe and manage their overall estate.
Open-source communication software and Speakerbus’ API
Application Programmable Interfaces (APIs) allow technologists to enable disparate systems to talk directly to each other. This can allow workflow enhancements for end users and system administrators with the ability to manage the system with ease.
As Speakerbus is committed to utilising open-source software, designing to industry standards, and developing APIs that enable customers to get the most from our platforms and products, we currently provide APIs for call control and recording within our Trader Voice communication solutions.
We are adding configuration capabilities into the toolkit to allow our eco-system partners, clients, and developers to offer adjunct features that will improve workflows and system management. These could provide:
- System Configuration - Speakerbus CMS API will be used to configure accounts (add, move, or change).
- Entitlement Review - The ability to check which users are entitled to what activities.
- DRIFT Management - The ability to review client configuration policies that match deployed devices.
- Usage Analytics - Used for voice records, usage billing and other analytics.
- CTI - Integration for third parties to place and receive calls.
- Engineering Dashboards - APIs can be used to monitor the system status.
Summary: Looking ahead with open-source software
Open-source software is an opportunity to streamline technology systems and enjoy the advantages that come with it. As service providers like Speakerbus continue to tap into the capabilities of open-source software, greater customer satisfaction will naturally follow.
Speakerbus intend to leverage the full benefits of open-source software for our critical communication solutions. Looking over the horizon, bringing the technologies, approaches, and capabilities together allows Speakerbus to embed Trader Voice into our client's workflows - creating a simple, seamless, scalable operation that will be easier to support and manage.