In case you missed the recent news from Alcatel-Lucent, the telecommunications equipment maker is the latest to throw its hat in the applications ring. GigaOm offers a good overview of both the future potential and current shortcomings of this new offering.

From a high-level, the primary benefit is tied to the open APIs that will allow developers to tap the assets within service-provider networks.  If all goes according to plan – the groups will then be able to work together to differentiate their applications and build new revenue streams. However at the moment, the options are limited and only mobile location applications are supported.

BroadSoft is quite a few steps ahead in the application marketplace arena. While we both use a RESTful API architecture, that is where the similarities end.   With a full 18 months under our belts, the BroadSoft Xtended program has attracted more than 2,000 developers. Plus our platform enables applications that integrate with business-process software, mobile clients, desk phones and other devices to offer a much broader range of applications.

Alcatel’s marketplace-deployment model is also quite different than ours —they give service providers a gallery of applications and then  point you to the developer. And as we announced just this past quarter at our annual users conference, we now have complete ecommerce enablement of our marketplace. Consumers can now download apps directly and start using them. Here are a few very cool examples of apps that can be found on the BroadSoft Marketplace, which were unveiled at our annual users’ conference in our always popular "Show Me the Apps" session:

  • Microsoft CRM intergration – this full-service CRM app, delivers streamlined communications options for users that enable them to quickly find and communicate with the right person, improving work flow and, more importantly, customer satisfaction.
  • Our app that integrates with Mobile Max  extends real-time communications to the mobile device with one number, one device, and one address book.

In short, our business model is creating integrated, real-time communication options that you can quickly take to market, delivering a superior communication experience to consumers.  That’s where apps are more than just the next big thing – they are a real game changer.