I am currently working on two projects for my company and even though these projects are not directly related to my position, I am honored enough to be given the chance to be the chief engineer. Have you heard the term cloud computing before? When I heard this term for the very first time, which was like months ago, I suddenly thought of a bright, white cotton candy (don’t ask). So, to me the term is pretty cute and I like it actually, compared to other newly created words like the utility computing or grid computing. So, what is cloud computing you ask?
To put it in simple words, cloud computing is a computing style that provides a combination of services, software and connection that are robust in functionality and yet, very simple to be used. So basically, you will have all these internet services (think of Google or Ebay or any web-based software) in the “cloud” and what you need to do is to access it from your machines or smartphones or PDAs provided that you have internet connection. Sounds familiar? Yes, the practice is old and has been out there for years but the term is new and the concept is more clearer. The neat thing about cloud computing is that it covers all other computing trends such as the IaaS (infrastructure as services), SaaS (software as services), PaaS (platform as services) and not to forget, the Web 2.0.
Our company’s QuickSchools.com website is already shaped to follow the design of Web 2.0 and most recently we adopted two new features namely known as ‘Click to Chat’ and ‘Click to Call’. The idea is to be able to provide a direct communication platform between the website visitors and the QuickSchools.com salespeople. After few weeks of research, the team decided to select two free, web service APIs; Twilio and Zopim. Twilio is a product that totally eliminates the needs for advance telecommunication or network knowledge for the development of voice application. As long as you are familiar with XML and one of the many server-side programming languages, you are good to go. This application is just perfect for our click-to-call apps. And you know what, it is so simple to deploy that you may just develop this on your own website or blog, in like 1 hour! We are still working on building this on our website since we want to implement some routing map for the calls and we are now expecting for it to be live and running in couple of days, God’s willing.
Another application that we adopted is Zopim and this is to provide the click-to-call functionality to our QuickSchools.com visitors. This Singaporean product resembles very much to the Facebook chatbox interface. So, in a way, it’s pretty intuitive and easy to be used. The coolest part is that we are also able to route the messages to specific salesperson based on the timezone when the message are sent by the visitor. The routed messages can also be sent straight to the chosen IM (instant messenger) and the conversation can be continued there, without having the salesperson logging in into the Zopim’s dashboard. The click-to-chat apps is totally live now on our website and we have been getting quite a number of messages from the visitors lately.
Now, imagine this. You are visiting Amazon.com for your monthly online shopping spree and after few minutes of surfing, you feel like you have some questions regarding the product and you want the questions to be answered right then and there or you may just have some concerns that you would like to forward to them. Wouldn’t it be cool for you to be able to just open the chatbox on the website, type in you questions and have them answered within few minutes? Or, wouldn’t it be much cooler if you can just click the “Call Me Now” button and after few minutes, your phone starts to ring and when you pick it up, it’s the Amazon’s agent, all ready to answer your questions and clear up your concerns? Well, you certainly can do that on our QuickSchools website! cool eh?