Introducing important new features.
With the 1.0.2 release of the IBM Voice Gateway, IBM continues to invest in critical features needed to deliver state-of-the-art, Watson-powered Voice Agents for both voice and SMS (Short Message Service). This article outlines some of the important new features delivered in this latest release, including the following:
- A new REST interface for placing outbound calls
- A new microservice for running manual, automated, and load tests against Voice Gateway and/or Voice Agent deployments
- MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) support
- Monitoring interfaces for integration with standard monitoring platforms, such as Prometheus/Grafana
- The beta release of the Insights Dashboard
Another significant change in the 1.0.2 release of Voice Gateway is that all Docker images now run on top of Red Hat UBI (Universal Base Image) instead of Ubuntu. With this change, all Voice Gateway images are now Red Hat certified. Note that this update resulted in image changes that may require environment configuration modifications. Please review the “What's New” section in the IBM Voice Gateway Knowledge Center for details.
There are also a number of smaller updates that were delivered based on numerous customer requirements. You can read more about these updates in the “What's New” section of the IBM Voice Gateway Knowledge Center.
Outbound calling interface
The ability to initiate outbound calls from Voice Gateway is a fundamental feature needed by predictive dialing applications wishing to use Watson to interact with callees through voice automation. A REST API is now available in Voice Gateway for creating outbound calls from Watson. Through this API, developers can specify any SIP or TEL URI to call and, once connected, have Watson interact directly with the callee.
Voice Agent Tester microservice
The Voice Agent Tester (VAT) is a new tool for running manual, automated, and load tests against Voice Gateway and/or Voice Agent deployments. This new microservice is described in detail in a separate blog. Please go to the Voice Agent Tester blog for details.
Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
The ability to send images and other types of media in the context of an automated voice or SMS session with Watson has been one of the most-requested Voice Gateway features. With the 1.0.2 release, Voice Gateway now supports actions for sending MMS messages during a voice or SMS session with an end user. Voice Gateway can also receive MMS messages, enabling callers to send photos to an automated agent powered by Watson.
Voice Gateway now supports the ability to integrate with open, cloud-native monitoring tools such as Prometheus and Grafana. With this release, Voice Gateway now supports the ability to monitor metrics such as call concurrency, call latencies, and call peak usage in real-time.
The monitoring API also provides the ability to monitor various system metrics, such as heap usage, CPU usage, and more. Through monitoring tools, it's now also possible to configure alerts based on these various metrics. You can query Voice Gateway to get the full list of metrics that can be monitored by calling http://<host>:<http_port>/metrics/ for system specific metrics or http://<host>:<http_port>/metrics/application/ for Voice Gateway-specific metrics.
Beta release of Voice Agent Insights
Voice Agent Insights provides insights into how end users are interacting with your Watson-powered Voice Agents. This microservice includes a dashboard designed to query the same Cloudant databases to which the Voice Gateway and Voice Agent with Watson services can be configured to publish reporting events to today.
If you are using the existing call data record (CDR) reporting capabilities, you will be able to analyse and understand that existing data. Through this new dashboard, you can quickly gain insights about your BOTs across a large number of calls, enabling you to identify problem areas that need attention more quickly and measure the success of the solution. It can also be used to identify whether changes to the Voice BOT are actually resulting in improvements or not.
Included with this beta release update is support for OpenID Connect for authentication and authorization. The Voice Agent Insights microservice can be integrated with any third-party OpenID Connect Provider, or developers may use the included Voice Agent OpenID Provider to setup and run the Voice Agent Insights dashboard directly off a developer machine.
You can learn more about these and other new features in the IBM Voice Gateway Knowledge Center. Also, get your questions answered quickly by joining our public Slack channel. Here are the instructions.