Well, after four years of toiling, the StarPound project is finally seeing the light of day. In the wee hours this morning, Wei Wang (CTO) and I published v1.1.0 RC1 of the open-source StarPound CORE platform to Sourceforge, and then published the new StarPound.net web site. The team has been working nonstop over the past few months to make this launch date – we’re tired, but we made it.
You can read a lot more about the platform over on the site, but I’ll serve up a quick description of it here, and share a little bit about where we’re going.
StarPound CORE is a beautiful fusion of business process management (BPM), telephony (VoIP/SIP, PSTN/TDM, cellular, etc.), and web services (SOA). What a mouthful. In other words, the platform gives you an easy way to turn your organization’s business processes into web (or voice) services. You can also use it to create any web service, not just those that are explicitly tied to some business process or telephony.
StarPound CORE is comprised of two key components: StarPound Studio and the StarPound Application Server. StarPound Studio is a visual process modeling tool that is BPMN compliant (very cool), and built on top of the Eclipse IDE. You create a visual model of what you want the voice/web service to do. You can drag/drop really cool things like calls to external web services (e.g. Salesforce.com, Google, etc.), call control tasks, IVR tasks, etc. Test it, then deploy it into the cloud on a StarPound App Server where it is ready to use. The service can be initiated by a person, a phone call, an email, FAX, SMS, or web application request via SOAP or REST.
The platform is 100% Java/J2EE, but obviously you can invoke deployed StarPound services using whatever language you are using (via SOAP or REST calls).
There is a lot more to our vision than what I’ve described, but at its core (no pun intended), that’s what the platform does. You can read more about our vision here.
What’s even cooler than finally releasing the first release candidate of the platform is that we’ve also released two sample open-source applications that were built on top of the platform (StarPound PBX and StarPound Call Center).
StarPound PBX is a full-featured, free, open-source PBX that gives you pretty much all of the features you’d need out of a PBX for your office:
And, it is scalable because it is built on top of the StarPound platform. Legally, I can’t mention any names, but one of the largest video game publishers in the world is now using StarPound PBX. And why not? It kicks ass.
StarPound for Call Centers is also mega-cool. It provides mission critical functionality for call centers, like skills-based routing, automated call distribution (ACD), inbound/outbound, predictive dialing, workflow management, queue management, CTI integration, call recording/monitoring, screen pops, agent dashboard, supervisor dashboard, remote agent support, etc. Again, free and open-source, and another really cool example of the types of apps you can build on top of StarPound CORE.
Right now we’ve got a ton of really exciting business and partnerships in the pipeline on the commercial side of things, and I’ll be writing some more about those things down the road as we work through them. But I can tell you that we are enjoying a tremendous push into the enterprise call center space, online marketplaces/exchanges, and scalable cloud services.
On a semi-related note, we’re also exploring opportunities to invest capital and resources in new startups that are in a position to take advantage of this new platform for creating disruptive applications within specific vertical markets. More on this soon … but you can read the official particulars here. We have a couple of deals that we’re already considering.
Now with all the cute cuddly launch comments out of the way, I’ll add this: We have a long list of incumbent industry players that we’re going after, in multiple markets and sectors. And we’re coming fast and going for your jugular. Let the games begin.
Hats off to the whole StarPound dev team for this launch (Wei, Andrew, and the guys in St. Pete) – it has been a long time in the making, and I know that everyone is ecstatic right now about where we’re going with the company. Good stuff …