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All About the API: Zang to Grow Communications PaaS Offerings

By Rich Tehrani
July 21, 2016

This week at the All About the API 2016 show in Las Vegas, I got a chance to catch up with keynote presenter Davide Petramela to talk about Zang. The company is a division of Avaya focusing on Platform as a Service – it isn’t unlike Nexmo or Twilio - but the difference may be the Avaya tie-in, meaning, the company can draw on years of telecom heritage and experience. In some ways, it may be closer to Kandy from GENBAND.

His keynote focused on Disrupting the Pace of Innovation.

"The next level of innovation in the digital economy is driven by the ability to embed communications right into cloud-based applications,” Davide said. He continued, “Zang is on the forefront with dramatically simple tools and APIs that enable developers and designers to build their vision in a heartbeat."

In a conversation, he told me the company wants to double-down on the concept of open-APIs and make development as easy as possible. He also said he wanted a line-of-business owner to be able to develop apps. This echoed the sentiments of Gareth Smith of Microsoft who said yesterday, “Citizen developers will grow as IT becomes more pervasive in the enterprise.”

Davide stressed that using Zang, developers can focus on the UI and build solutions on a globally accessible cloud with security and user-authentication built-in.

“Without APIs, products are useless.” Their goal, he said, is to make the cloud as open as possible by exposing the APIs to the platform and to the applications built on the platform.

He cited an example – a company is using Salesforce and in a meeting is able to build a virtual meeting room which connects to Salesforce. This functionality would allow the team to set up and execute the campaign while in the meeting – saving precious time and resources.

Using their APIs, you can add a meeting room easily, allowing you to communicate in text and then escalate to video via a script based on their API.

Davide also cited Zuzapp, a mobile customer engagement and messaging app used by hotels. He said the company can focus on the UI while letting Facebook and others handle social and Zang handle communications.

Zang uses open REST APIs which are comparable to those used by others in the space and pricing is comparable as well according to Davide. It’s about half a cent per SMS and call but if you need them to support and maintain the app, the cost is 2 cents and 4-5 cents respectively.

The company’s new Engagement Designer has a drag-and-drop interface which means easier app development in the future.

I asked about DevConnect – the developer program for Avaya hardware and he said they have developers who use both but these groups aren’t tied together.

A lot of new products are in the works – video rooms, contact center and a full-service cloud to name a few.

In my presentation at the All About the API event I mentioned that APIs aren’t new but there seems to be a law similar to Moore’s at work in this market – meaning APIs building on each other are ever-more powerful. If I were to formalize it, Tehrani’s API Law says APIs are at least twice as powerful each year for similar or lower cost.

And this is the point of Zang and frankly many other companies providing programming interfaces. Davide said developers can now focus on the UI and let others handle things like CRM, communications and many other services.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Group Editor-in-Chief, TMC

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