How to choose an Asterisk Application Developer
There are many resources on the internet to assist people looking to develop and innovate with Asterisk. These resources include documentation from the Asterisk project itself, many HowTo articles and innumerable blog posts written on the subject. There are also plenty of examples, including those found in our blog. Developing for Asterisk may involve any of several APIs that Asterisk exposes. For most people, the best way to develop for Asterisk is to use a development framework. Of course, we recommend Adhearsion for that purpose, and it has a proven track record in that domain.
Once you have selected your tools, the next thing to consider is the features you will require. There are many features and options available to the voice application developer. The choice of features will play a large part in the eventual cost of deployment as well as the complexity of licensing and running costs. For example, will your use require text-to-speech? What about speech recognition? These two tools in particular usually require licensing software from a third party, such as LumenVox or Nuance. But most features can be implemented directly in Asterisk, without any need for external licenses. These features include dialing outbound, receiving calls inbound, linking calls together, forming conference bridges, playing audio prompts and recording audio to a file. These tools may sound simple, yet they are capable of sophisticated functionality in the hands of a skilled application developer.
Tools of the trade
Some tools or “voice building blocks” to consider (and their acronyms):
- Text-to-speech (TTS)
- Speech recognition (ASR)
- Answering machine detection (AMD)
- Interactive voice response (IVR)
- Conferencing or bridging, typically with 3 or more parties, often with administrative controls
- API integrations – connect to external data sources such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or other issue tracking tools or databases
- Technology gateways: connect the public telephone network (PSTN) to SIP/VoIP, or even web browsers with WebRTC
How do I hire an Asterisk Application Developer?
When searching for a developer to help realize your ideas you should carefully consider your options. Large companies offer a reputation and prospects of a long-term partnership, but also often cost significantly more. At the other extreme you may be able to find individual developers who are willing to do the work. But there are many dangers with this option, since individuals are usually better at the technology than managing a project. Quality may suffer, or perhaps even worse, deadlines may be unrealistic or impossible. A middle ground is to hire a small firm, one that has earned a reputation for quality of service and a track record of delivering projects. You may pay more for this than you would an individual (and less than you would to a large consulting firm), but the value derived from the relationship will be much greater.