Small businesses have a growing number of powerful applications at their disposal for connecting with customers and managing their employees. But as the number of small business mobile applications has grown, managing those programs is becoming more of a challenge. Connected Business Center, a project at the AT&T Foundry® in Israel, demonstrates one possible way to address this challenge. CBC is a homepage and working environment for small business applications, such as CRM, workforce management and other applications. CBC integrates all of AT&T’s network services (telephony, communication, VoIP) under one working environment. By doing so, CBC leverages AT&T’s core network APIs and provides added value around the new software-as-a-service offerings that small businesses need to be competitive.
CBC was designed with a mobile focus, using HTML5 as the front-end and Java on the backend side. CBC creates the same user experience for both mobile (currently iPad is supported) and desktop users. In addition, CBC creates an integration layer that connects different API end-points, provided by different services, thus allowing those to “speak” with each other very easily. Instead of using different login mechanisms, different clients and different web pages, customers will login into one working environment where they will actually use all the different AT&T services, along with new third-party services.
After looking at the growing SaaS market, AT&T began researching ways it could improve on existing products before deciding to focus on creating a unique working environment that is supported by all devices and leverages AT&T’s network APIs/services. Elad Mazaki, an innovation coach at the AT&T Foundry® in Israel, heads up the team working on this concept, and he’s responsible for leadership, product definition, daily agile development and architecture.
Elad considers himself “a Jack-of-all-trades, master of none. I have over 15 years of experience in the software market, which began while serving in the Israeli Army. I have a great passion for technology and for how it changes our life.”
In the next phases of CBC, AT&T plans to integrate CBC with our network policy components to increase the quality of service and bandwidth to CBC users:
- Marketplace leader. AT&T is taking strides for CBC to become the first marketplace of choice for any SaaS service providers, SMBs and enterprises alike, in addition to creating the largest ecosystem of SaaS developers.
- Beyond small business. AT&T is developing a CBC platform to be used for market segments beyond small business, including large enterprise and other verticals.
- Seamless next steps. With plans to support additional mobile platforms, AT&T is leveraging its network policy (PCRF/PCEF) to provide the best user experience/QoS and integrate all of AT&T’s small business services in one place.