Session Routing Engine demo
Here at Netaxis our watchword is innovation and excellence. Ok that’s two watchwords. We probably have more but these two are the ones specifically relevant to today’s article which is all about how we can use our SRE (Session Routing Engine) to enable super cool and highly innovative services.
For those who don’t already know VOIP network operators use our SRE principally because:
- It has a very simple and intuitive graphical interface (see screenshot below) making it easy to quickly design and implement innovative features/scenarios
- Carrier grade – huge scalability
- Very open to cloud APIs
- Lots of other good reasons
What is the demo all about?
Firstly this demo is not intended to be a bullet proof one size fits all this is everything you can do with the SRE. It is something we threw together in a very short space of time to illustrate the flexibility and power of the product which it does in a very impressive way.
The demo replicates IVR/media server functionality implemented in the SRE. The IVR logic – press x, do this, press y, do that etc – has been constructed using the existing Service Logic Editor.
Contrary to classic IVRs where announcements are usually studio-recorded first and “assembled” later, this media server relies on real-time text-to-speech and speech-to-text. These services are provided by Google Cloud, mostly powered by their Deepmind AI.
The demo also showcases the SRE interfacing with external IT systems instead of trying to do be a stand alone all in one system. This is an illustration of how you could rapidly innovate without having to build everything yourselves.
Go on – try it out
The following section describes the functionality we have quickly implemented with this demo. To start your journey, call +32 2 588 93 10. Netaxis staff doing this should use their mobiles as the number will be matched against a directory and you will be asked to talk in your mother tongue. We have lots of different mother tongues at Netaxis.
You will be greeted with an IVR menu with the following DTMF options:
1. Leave a voicemail
Voicemail service with automatic conversion speech-to-text and notification by SMS and visual voicemail on mobile app.
This is like a traditional voicemail but where you don’t need to connect back to listen to your messages. After the beep, leave a voicemail message in the indicated language (again for Netaxis staff this should be your native language as the system should have detected your mobile number in the directory) and then press the # key.
The audio sample will be sent to the Google Speech-to-text service and the resulting text will be saved in the voicemail database. An SMS notification will then be sent with the transcript. For this to work you will have needed to call using an SMS enabled device, ie mobile phone.
You can read your voicemails through your mobile web interface at http://84a5b696051b.sre.bxl.netaxis.be/ . Layout works best through a mobile interface but you can also open it from your laptop. Sample screenshots below. Note the multiple languages. Pretty cool.
2.Report an SRE Bug
Dictate to the IVR the bug you want to report. This will be transcripted, translated and saved in our internal Asana project management system directory and be viewable by the project team. Again this is a demo of interfacing with IT systems. Sample screenshot at end of this email.
A variant could be to open Zendesk tickets by phone and they could be delivered via speech-to-text within the application.
Note this is just an example use case. We don’t get so many bugs in SRE that we need an automated reporting system specifically for them 🙂
3.Sample announcements in various languages
This demo will query Google Cloud translation services to several target languages and apply text-to-speech to them. Useful if you want to learn some Japanese…
4.Weather service demo
Type a 4-digits Belgian ZIP code (example: 1000 for Brussels) and it will query an external service (JSON RPC) to retrieve the current weather conditions and real-time text-to-speech them to you.
5.SRE technical details announcement
Just a sample announcement with technical details about the SRE.
What’s going on “under the hood”
Here we are demonstrating the SRE working in Asynchronous mode. Execution is not request/response but request/wait for event (DTMF)/dispatch event/proceed.
A few new nodes are implemented:
- text-to-speech: converts any text or SSML (Speech Synthesis Markup Language) to audio
- speech-to-text: the conversion is reasonably good (if you have an accent from Liège (or Glasgow you are doomed!). The biggest drawback is that the PSTN/SIP trunk to Sigma is in G711u/8000 Hz which is not well suited for some Europeans and lacks definition. With HD codec (in a pure-SIP environment) it would give much better results
- record media: record RTP packets to later send for speech-to-text conversion
- translate text: many languages/directions are supported
- collect DTMF: to build the menus
Some observations apply. The audio quality is not always good – you can sometimes hear “clicks” here and there when switching announcements. The demo relies on using our call simulator product Sigma for the SIP stack. This presents some challenges as it is not really carrier-grade and synchronous. Were we implementing this in a production environment a custom SIP stack on the SRE would be better.
- all of this is still very “proof-of-concept” so with bugs but it is designed to show the art of the possible
- no simulation is possible directly from the Service Logic Editor due to the asynchronous nature of the execution
- Google supports hundreds of different languages/voices. This demo makes use of just a few of them
- Google Cloud is used in this demo, but it could be interfaced with other Text To Speech services such as Amazon Polly, Acapella etc
That’s it for now. We hope you agree that this is pretty impressive. It’s just something that shows what you might be able to achieve if you use the Netaxis Session Routing Engine as part of your service infrastructure.
Get in touch to find out how you can benefit from the SRE. Ee’d love to hear from you.
Netaxis Solutions is a rapidly growing company based on the innovation of its VoIP carrier focussed technologies. The company has expanded from its original base in Brussels, Belgium to now include offices in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Italy and France.