WSO2Con Insights – West Interactive Solves Multichannel Communications Challenge With Cloud Solution Powered by WSO2 Carbon Middleware

As the leading provider of technology-driven communication services, West Interactive has developed and managed large-scale, mission-critical transactions for clients’ communications needs for more than 25 years. However, Pranav Patel, West Interactive vice president ofWest Interactive logo systems development, explained in a presentation at WSO2Con US 2013, past solutions deployed by the company weren’t flexible enough to support today’s dynamic business needs.

For West Interactive, the solution was to create West Connect, a cloud solution powered by WSO2 Carbon middleware that enables organizations to provide an improved, personalized experience for their customers.

The Multichannel Challenge

The primary business of West Interactive is to provide contact center solutions, which include cloud-based interactive voice recognition (IVR) and speech automation, mobile applications for customer care, and a hosted contact center—all based on carrier grade, scalable and reliable platform. The company now handles some 4 billion minutes of customer engagement annually.

“Today’s challenge is that there are multiple channels available,” Patel observed. “It’s no longer just a phone call or an IVR that people use to get in touch with your enterprise or customer care.  You have mobile apps, text messages, social media, email, the Web—and enterprises have to manage those and provide customer care solutions across all these channels.”

Patel then explained that, because today’s consumers demand anytime and anywhere access West Interactive-PranavP to data and services, across more channels of communication than ever before, it is not enough to simply provide the channels.

“These channels have to be wholly integrated,” Patel said. “The systems that provide these should be very intelligent—that’s the business challenge at hand.”

In seeking to address these business demands, West Interactive realized that the solution would rely, not on extending its existing legacy systems, but by taking advantage of a service-oriented architecture (SOA) based on modern middleware technologies.

West Connect for Modern Communications Demands

The resulting solution was West Connect, a cloud-enabled middleware platform based on a SOA, which is equipped with a set of technologies and core services that are open and flexible. It sits between the top layer of the architecture where there are applications across different channels, and the West Manage API services below, which is where the company can expose services or APIs for customers to use.

Describing West Connect, Patel noted, “The vision here is to build several services on top, as it provides for multichannel communication, multi-tenancy and services like identity management, context awareness, analytics, notifications, rules engine, and more.”

PranavPatel-WestWest Connect is based on several products within the cloud-enabled, fully multi-tenant and 100% open source WSO2 Carbon enterprise middleware platform. These include WSO2 Application Server, WSO2 Data Services Server, WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), WSO2 API Manager, WSO2 Identity Server, WSO2 Governance Registry, and WSO2 Business Activity Monitor (BAM)

In describing the roles of the products, Patel explained that, “The API will need WSO2 API Manager and Identity Server for exposing the APIs out. West Connect is essentially WSO2 ESB, Governance, and BAM. A lot of the services reside on the Application Server, and when you talk to databases you use the WSO2 Data Services Server.”

The WSO2 Advantage

Patel recounted the factors behind West Interactive’s decision to work with WSO2; “We wanted something we could do a POC with, that would start out quickly and wanted a low cost of entry. The flexible, pluggable architecture made it even much better; we can choose and pick only the products we want. And a low infrastructure footprint—we can run several of these products on a VM.”

WSO2 API Manager was also a major selling point for Patel. “API Manager really gives our business the ability to go outside, not just internally, cataloguing the APIs and providing the APIs with documentation as part of the API store.”

Looking ahead, West Interactive is evaluating how other WSO2 products can contribute to expanded capabilities within West Connect.

According to Patel, “We still continue to evaluate all the WSO2 products out there and we can easily see some fitting right here, business rules, complex event processing, and also how to use things like App Factory. The work continues.”

For more information about how West Interactive uses WSO2 products to power West Connect, view Patel’s WSO2Con 2013 presentation.

WSO2Con-US-2013-West-Connect-Powered-by-WSO2

WSO2Con Insights – Algar Telecom Delivers Innovation Through Next-Gen Server-Side JavaScript Framework

As telecommunications continue to compete on service, they  look at new ways to enrich the customer experience. For Algar Telecom, one of those ways is enabling customers to create their own Web applications using the popular JavaScript language.
At WSO2Con US 2013, Cesar William Alvarenga, front end engineer at Algar Telecom, described how the company  is taking advantage of Jaggery, WSO2’s server-side JavaScript framework for composing Web applications.

Building on Initial Success

Before describing the company’s use of Jaggery, Alvarenga began by talking about the company’s first project using WSO2 software: Algar Telecom OCS (online charging system). OCS is used to charge customers in real-time, based on their service usage, and all mobile and fixed line traffic will run through this platform. The traffic is passed through WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), transforming the data and integrating with legacy services.

“Today we are processing over 200,000 transactions per day and this number will increase every day,” Alvarenga said. “The performance of the ESB is agreeable and it supports our telecommunication requirements.”

CesarWilliams2Algar Telecom also uses WSO2 products to support its Coreo platform, which is used to deliver a range of applications. For example, Alvarenga noted, an application could let a user send in the airport and flight number and receive the flight information—all using SMS.

Currently Algar Telecom deploys WSO2 ESB and WSO2 Business Activity Monitor (BAM) across the Coreo platform, Alvarenga explained. WSO2 ESB is used to create an interface between all the Coreo modules and transform the data, while the company uses WSO2 BAM to collect and present all of the platform’s data. The company is now testing Jaggery to facilitate Web app development.

The Jaggery Advantage

“Web developers love JavaScript, but typically must alternate between two languages when they want to build applications on the server side,” Alvarenga said. “Using Jaggery allows our developers to work strictly with JavaScript to build Web applications across the Coreo platform.”

With Jaggery, users can generate HTML and they can exchange messages with JSON, CesarWilliamsAlvarenga observed; “Another benefit is you can reduce the number of layers in your solution. You can access directly the ESB or database for example, and this helps the developer to build a small solution, accessing directly the main services.”

Working in JavaScript using Jaggery also supports Algar Telecom’s vision of a mobile platform that inherently supports Web-native applications.

“I think the future evolution shows that the mobile platform will support these Web  applications,” Alvarenga said, “Today we have some operating systems that support only this type of application, like Ubuntu phone, HP WebOS. Tizen from Linux, and Firefox OS from Mozilla. Using Jaggery, you have a lot of functionality, so if you know JavaScript, for the server-side application, you don’t have to do much. It’s very easy.

Alvarenga wrapped up by providing a detailed explanation of how Jaggery is used with the Coreo platform—using the Jaggery template to generate HTML for the user, granting access to the user with Jaggery and an OAuth module, executing the application using the WS-Request module, and using the ActiveMQ module to get the result back to the user.

For more information about how Algar Telecom is using Jaggery and other WSO2 solutions to develop web and mobile applications, view Alvarenga’s WSO2Con 2013 presentation here.

WSO2Con-US-2013-Using-Jaggery-in-Telecom-Web-and-Mobile-Applications

WSO2Con Insights – How Boeing Transformed Commercial Aviation Using WSO2

Keeping airplanes in the air and operating safely and efficiently is the job of Boeing’s commercial aviation division—specifically, the service known as Boeing Edge, which provides support and service to the manufacturer’s aviation customer base.

As Boeing senior product manager Jim Crabbe explained at WSO2Con US 2013, providing this level of agile, informed service, and allowing customers to share information among many disparate systems, brought about the need for platform as a service (PaaS), which is powered by WSO2 software.

“Our Boeing Edge solutions need to help customers’ planes spend less time on the ground, and more time in the air,” Crabbe said. “For airlines, time is of the essence, and creating operational efficiency requires connecting people, processes, and sources of data.”

Boeing’s job, Crabbe explained, is to reduce the complexity of these mission-critical processes. “Some airlines are running very old applications and systems, but they work and they’re solid,” Crabbe said. “The cost of moving those systems to a new state is large, and could disrupt their operation.

That’s where Boeing has taken on these challenges to help our customers—how to break free from their data, and how to integrate better with the applications and products we provide to them, to create business process-driven workflows and new applications.”

Boeing chose the entire stack of WSO2 solutions for its PaaS—including WSO2 Private PaaS and WSO2 Carbon multi-tenant enterprise middleware products—because of WSO2’s reputation, and its commitment to open source.

“Our development direction has always been a service-oriented architecture, so we use open-source modular solutions whenever possible,” Crabbe said. “We like to leverage emerging technologies and try to stay vendor-agnostic because our customer ecosystem uses a wide variety of tools and software. That’s where working with WSO2 has been so advantageous.”

By using WSO2 solutions to build its PaaS solution, Crabbe observed that Boeing has been able to leverage the advantages of the cloud, such as elasticity and scalability, helping the company to deliver services in a consistent manner. “For example,” Crabbe said, “We can tie in line mechanics with maintenance systems, and allow users to upload pictures and other documentation, and integrate it with the back-office system of the airline.” Jim Crabbe

Deploying a flexible PaaS built on WSO2’s modular solutions helps Boeing maintain the agility it needs to support its customers, Crabbe noted: “We need to be able to continue to innovate, and we can’t be afraid to try something new.”

Another way Boeing provides value, Crabbe told attendees, is with data governance. “That means the right data to the right person for the problem at hand,” Crabbe told attendees. “You have to put your data governance process in place and protect your API, but enable people to do the work they need to do.”

For more information about Boeing’s use of WSO2’s platform, view Crabbe’s WSO2Con US 2013 presentation.

We head to Strata 2014 this week

This week we head to Strata 2014 taking place in Santa Clara, CA. The O’Reilly event for the data community kicks off tomorrow, where WSO2 is a Exabyte sponsor. strata2014_refresh_logoI will be presenting the talk “Tracking a Soccer Game with Big Data”  on Wednesday the 12th of February at 4.50 p.m.

My session is based on the annual DEBS event processing challenge last year which included a data set generated by a real soccer match in which sensors were placed in the soccer ball and players’ shoes.  We used complex event processing (CEP) and MapReduce based technologies for this challenge to track and process data, achieving throughput in excess of 100,000 events/sec. I will detail how we extended the solution to conduct batch processing using business activity monitoring (BAM) using the same framework, enabling users to obtain both instant analytics as well as more detailed batch processing based results.

Late last year we released WSO2 Complex Event Processor (CEP) 3.0 and WSO2 Business Activity Monitor (BAM) 2.4. Working together, the integrated WSO2 products provide the industry’s first solution for enabling data streams to be analyzed simultaneously in real-time (with WSO2 CEP 3.0) and via batch processing (with WSO2 BAM 2.4). As a result, enterprises have unprecedented flexibility for analyzing the vast streams of events coming into the organization to gain valuable insights into their business.

See here for more details about the WSO2 Platform for big data analytics or sign up for the upcoming webinar series where we will examine how IT professionals can collect, analyze and visualize big data in real-time models and off-line decision support models using WSO2 BAM and WSO2 CEP.

As a special give-away at Strata, we hope to give out the latest Apple Mac Pro to one lucky winner who drops by our booth! So if you are planning on attending the conference, come on over to booth #901. I’ll be happy talk about how you can address your big data challenges too.

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 – Dr. Srinath Perera, Director of Research at WSO2

Strategic Alliances for the Win

Partnering with WSO2 is a win-win-win.  System Integrators can pair their implementation talents with the advanced capabilities of the WSO2 platform and our expert support services to build customer solutions with higher value.  With the open source license and the productivity of the platform, these projects can be more profitable and repeatable for the integrator.  And WSO2 support business expands to more customers.  Everyone wins!

2013 saw significant growth in our partner program, and we continue to expand that even more vigorously in 2014!  We are working closely with partners around the world on some innovative projects with fascinating customers.

One of the success stories of 2013 is Yenlo, a Netherlands-based integrator who found the WSO2 platform a better business proposition than the old-guard proprietary stacks.  Yenlo has deployed WSO2-based projects at multiple customer sites, extended the ESB with an ebMS adapter, built a simple appliance, and started offering fully hosted services.  One of these success stories is detailed in a new case study now available on the WSO2 web site.  The decision to focus on the WSO2 platform has contributed to Yenlo’s rapid growth.  They now are expanding beyond the Netherlands with new offices in five other countries in Europe and North America.

In recognition of all this momentum, and our efforts to continue and accelerate it, we have announced a Strategic Alliance.  This status recognizes the broad investments and success that Yenlo has achieved, and helps us team up on broader opportunities to promote and deploy Yenlo implementations and WSO2 technology to more customers worldwide.

If you are a partner, I hope you see the Yenlo success as a demonstration of the power that WSO2 can bring to your bottom line.  The need for next-generation open source solutions is vast – and the pool of opportunities only continues to grow!  If you are an user, I encourage you to contact Yenlo or any of our other partners when you need an expert partner for your WSO2 project.  We are always happy to provide introductions!  After all, it’s a win-win-win.

– Jonathan Marsh, Vice President of Business Development, WSO2

WSO2Con hits three cities in 2014!

We are excited to announce not just one, but three WSO2 user-conferences, taking place in three different cities this year. The first of which is WSO2Con Asia, on March 24 – 26 in Colombo, Sri Lanka,  followed by WSO2Con EU in Spain, June 16 – 18, and WSO2Con US in San Francisco, October 27 – 29wso2con-2014-asia

The 2-day conference and in-depth tutorials day of each WSO2Con will showcase how a connected business seamlessly integrates people, process, and data across an extended value chain, decreases interaction cost, and automatically adapts business activity in response to market events. The sessions will focus on:

  • New enterprise integration architectures
  • Cloud technologies that transform application delivery
  • Enterprise mobility solutions
  • Enhancing business opportunities with big data analysis, enterprise governance and security
  • Agile enterprise application development platforms

wso2con-2014-euWhile the first cut of the agenda for WSO2Con Asia is now online, Call for Presentations (CFP) is now open for the event in Spain. We look forward to receiving your submission on how the revolutionary WSO2 enterprise middleware platform as has made an impact in your organization.

 

 

So do save the dates and start making plans today to join us at a WSO2Con closest to you! See wso2con.com for more details.

Tasha Hettiarachchi, Senior Marketing Officer at WSO2, and General-Chairperson WSO2Con 2014

Open Conversations on the New Business of Enterprise Software