Today, Voxeo’s IMified launches support for Twitter as an additional channel to help companies expand customer service. For those not familiar with the IMified core service, here is what it allows you to do in a nutshell:
The IMified platform acts as a gateway between instant messaging networks and your HTTP accessible web site, which can – of course – be dynamic and written in PHP, ASP.NET, Ruby or any other language/technology. The service currently supports AOL, MSN/Microsoft, Yahoo and – since today – Twitter.
An application connected to the IMified platform is in its simplest form a dynamic web page that resides on any HTTP server and listens for incoming instant messages then outputs a response. Developers may also “push” messages to users, as well as request a users presence via a REST API call to IMified’s server. You specify the endpoint URL in your applications settings.
IMified’s straightforward API hands the message text and some meta information over to you (such as the user’s IM network, a unique user id to track the IMified session, etc.) and your web application can process and respond to it in any way you want.
To get you started right away, IMified provides you with free Jabber accounts @bot.im. My three lines of PHP Jabber bot talks to you at email@example.com. You can then link AOL, MSN, Yahoo and Twitter accounts to your bot application. Following our pledge for using OAuth when building on Twitter, IMified does not ask you for your Twitter username and password.
Voxeo’s has a long track record in automating customer service scenarios, so typical solution examples are in the areas of Information retrieval, Emergency notifications, Order status, Package tracking, Virtual agents, Auto attendants and Identity verification.
As Twitter shares some aspects with instant messaging networks, namely direct messages, but on top of it has a public broadcasting and @reply layer, IMified’s Twitter bots can consequently also launch out to your web application triggered by @replies and direct messages. This opens up a variety of use cases.
Think automated troubleshooting tips based on messages tweeted to your corporate account that contain certain hash tags. Or tweeting “DM Lufthansa Flights from London to Amsterdam tomorrow” and an instant response with detailed schedule information from Lufthansa’s Twitter bot.
Creating a scenario where my bot steps in whenever anybody sends out a message containing #fail and @24z (my Twitter account) takes some ten lines of PHP code and 15 seconds of setting it up at the IMified developer website.
IMified’s Twitter support is based entirely on Twitter’s publicly available APIs. In order to circumvent posting API limits, Voxeo has applied to be whitelisted and been granted the privilege.
I’m intrigued to see how strategically clever Voxeo has selected and added more bits and pieces to it’s unified self services portfolio over the last 12 months.
Carefully continuing its outstanding support for the developer community and a well-thought-through integration of more capable components like the VoiceObjects dialog application server technology acquired in December 2008, Voxeo will likely outperform traditional vendors in the customer self service space in terms of innovation, ease of use and technical support.