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September 11, 2006

AOL Set to Open AIM Phoneline Access for Developers

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

AOL is delivering on its promise to provide developers with open access to its popular services. The company is opening its new AIM Phoneline service to developers.

The Open AIM Phoneline initiative will enable both device manufacturers and voice applications developers to create new applications and tools to extend the value and functionality of the AIM Phoneline service as well as introduce new features and peripherals to more than 43 million US AIM users.

Through three new applications programming interfaces (APIs) that AOL will introduce in the fall, developers and manufacturers will be able to personalize the AIM Phoneline service by offering ringback tones and unique ring tones for frequent callers; enable a wide variety of ESB devices like speakerphones and phone adapters that will allow a standard cordless phone to initiate and receive calls via the AIM Phoneline service; and build new call management functionality into the AIM Phoneline service.

Such new call management could include context and relevance-based call handling that would treat each call on the basis of rules that use Caller ID, online presence, calendar activities and more.

AOL intends to start showcasing examples using these APIs from companies such as iotum, a Voice 2.0 company that will demonstrate intelligent incoming call handling using the iotum Relevance Engine, and MyNuMo, an online content community allowing artists to create, show and sell digital content.

The hardware device API will also be made available for testing features. Mvox Technologies has launched the provision of its handsfree and wireless MV900 and USB MV100 speakerphones with AIM Phoneline.

Ragui Kamel, senior vice president and general manager of AOL’s voice services, noted that the company recognizes the value of the developer community in driving information innovation and rapidly delivering new and compelling services. Through leveraging the popularity of the Open AIM program and opening the AIM Phoneline platform, AOL is excited about helping to unleash the creativity and bring about new and unique voice communication services to one of the largest online communities.

AOL will promote its partners’ applications and devices at an online store as part of the Open AIM Phoneline program. Users will be able to access the online store simply by clicking the “Shop” link off of the AIM Phoneline dashboard.

The Open AIM Phoneline initiative builds on the success of AOL’s Open AIM(R) program, for which more than 50,000 developers have already registered, and empowers companies, communities and independent developers to build customized plug-ins, communications clients and mash-ups that access AOL's global instant messaging network.

AOL is using its proven name and success to advance its platform’s availability for various manufacturers and developers. This move will enable substantial advancements for these organizations, as well as create further healthy competition in the industry.

There is very little that AOL can do without competitors jumping to the response and we will likely see this happen again with this announcement. This is all good for consumers, however, as it will help to drive costs down and services up – a welcome combination for any user.

What’s the number one VoIP conference in terms of attendance? What’s the leading VoIP expo for exhibitors in terms of lead generation? And which VoIP industry event will feature special attractions for service providers, resellers, and the enterprise and SMB market as well as an overview on the Future of IP Telephony? Answer: INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & Expo, WEST, which runs October 10-13, 2006. See you in San Diego!


Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC and has also written for To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.

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