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Bring your app on every desk

Bring your app on every desk

Auerswald has attended the droidcon Berlin. „droidcon is a global developer conference series and a network focusing on the best of Android. The idea behind droidcon is to support the Android platform and create a strong network for developers and companies.” We made a session and invited the participants to stage for an open discussion.

The question was: „What can you do with an Android deskphone and what is required to be successful?” While mobile smartphones address every potential user (from the school kid to the executive) the usage of a deskphone has more of business angle. The discussion had two major discussion points: one was to identify use-case scenarios and integrated in this discussion was how to do it, which APIs and possibilities does Auerswald offer to get everything working?

Use-cases aka What does it mean to replace the dumb phone on your desk with a smartphone?

There were several other smart scenarios besides the standard use cases like synchronized address book (Exchange, Google, etc.) and calendar to talk about, which really show the power of smart devices compared to closed boxes normal phones and PBXs usually are. The power of APIs enables to integrate EASILY and cost efficient functionality.

In the group we found following useful scenarios:

CRM integration: Have an app to identify incoming callers: is it an important client or just the customer who is not paying his bills? Show up notes about the customer. After the call, the app could write back to the database that there has been a conversation with this specific customer.

Call Center scenarios: For inbound call centers the agent could immediately identify for which client the call is. Relevant information can be pushed directly to the display. For outbound calls the dialing can be made really easy. The call plan could be integrated into an app; the physical buttons on the phone could be used to enter multiple choice (yes/no) answers by the client.

Call a cab widget: Would ease the life of secretaries to call a cab. One press and the widget shows the secretary the time until the cab will arrive.

Nagios monitoring over buttons: An administrator in the group brought up the scenario in which the multicolor LEDs in the buttons could show server/network status. It’s immediately visible when the status changes from green to yellow or even red. A button press could retrieve exactly the affected system.

Fleet control: Another similar scenario to monitor the status of a fleet of trucks, delivery drivers, etc. With one glimpse of an eye the scheduler can see and react to delays or incidents.

How to get things going

Auerswald uses a standard Android open source package and only extended the stock Android where needed. The intention of Auerswald is to document and offer all required APIs for developers to access every part of the device. While the SIP phone app (from Auerswald) uses standard phone APIs, and the keypad (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,*,’) use standard input mechanisms, the phones also have additional function keys with tricolor LED (green, yellow, red) and different states (on, off, blinking) which are not available on other Android devices. To gain access to these keys, Auerswald implemented an API, with which a button can be assigned to a specific app. This API is documented on the website. The website also covers additional information about app provisioning, software updates in closed networks and central manageability.

While most interfaces already rely on Android standards and may be used, the technical design of the phones required some modifications. The biggest modification concerns the audio processing, while the standard audio path through Android is not optimized for low latency, Auerswald implemented its own audio path with echo canceler and different audio optimizations for phone scenarios. Currently the engineers are working in enabling apps to gain access to these technologies so that apps can benefit from this low latency and phone optimized audio.

We were happy to figure out potential use cases and hope that companies and app developers see the potential our devices have to offer. We are looking forward to see the ideas and possibilities come true.

Über den Autor:
Tim Köhler, Leiter Produktmanagement, Auerswald GmbH & Co. KG

Pic by droidcon Global| Droidcon Berlin 2015 - Tag 1 |flickr | keine Änderungen vorgenommen | CC BY-SA 2.0
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