Unified Inbox Aims to Simplify Communications with Launch of UnificationEngine

Unified Inbox, a global Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) company, has launched UnificationEngine, a platform that makes it possible for developers to integrate multiple communication channels using a single API. UnificationEngine features a collection of pre-built connectors that allow developers to quickly add specific communication services such as Email, Facebook, Twitter, and Weibo to applications. The platform also allows developers to build custom connectors for communication services that are not yet available as pre-built connectors.

Launched in 2010, Unified Inbox began as an application that allows users to integrate messages from different communication platforms using a single, unified inbox. The backend that powers the Unified Inbox application has now been made available as UnificationEngine, a new Internet of Communications platform. UnificationEngine simplifies the process of integrating email, social media, and other communication channels with third-party applications.

UnificationEngine features a number of pre-built connectors for services including (but not limited to) Email, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, SMS, Twitter, Weibo, and Xing. The platform also allows developers to build custom connectors for Web services that provide standard APIs. Developers can choose to sell custom connectors in the UnificationEngine marketplace or make them available as open source.

When the UnificationEngine receives an API call, it decomposes that call and figures out which services it needs to talk to next. It communicates with the external services by using connectors.

Unified Inbox aims to simply communications with the launch of UnificationEngine. Instead of having to integrate different communication services using multiple APIs, UnificationEngine allows developers to add multiple communication services to applications using a single API. The UnificationEngine API makes it possible for a message to be sent to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Weibo, and other platforms using only one API call. The API call is addressed in a single protocol which the company refers to as "uib://."

Unified Inbox Chief Technical Officer Aby Varghese told ProgrammableWeb that "With IoT, science fiction is now science fact. Each communications protocol, social media platform, and messaging app has its own unique set of features and capabilities – text, images, videos. How can a software developer or maker expect to keep up with public and closed APIs that are constantly changing? And the number of new channels that global developers must support are increasing by the hour. We eliminate the headache by providing a single, simple API that allows them to talk to any messaging gateway – on our way to creating an inclusive unified messaging protocol."

ProgrammableWeb also reached out to Unified Inbox CEO Toby Ruckert and Chief Marketing Officer Ken Herron who explained that UnificationEngine has a few similarities to iPaaS platforms such as SnapLogic and MuleSoft CloudHub. However, UnificationEngine focuses on communication protocols and is an Internet of Communications (IoC) platform designed for the Internet of Things (IoT). Herron explained that the company likens UnificationEngine to the Babel Fish, a universal translator featured in the popular science fiction comedy book series "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" created by Douglas Adams.

"What does the UnificationEngine do? It provides all of us, as both individuals and businesses, with the storied Babel Fish; fast, easy 'translation' between communications channels," Herron explained. "In geek speak? We translate what a software developer or maker sends to the UnificationEngine, in the format and content that each communications platform can handle through their official API."

"The smart rubbish bin 'talks' to the robot in your home and says that it needs to be emptied. The robot calls in a drone and takes the trash out, hands it over, the drone flies it to the dump. It's a future vision of what should work when M2M and unified communication/messaging plays well together."

Ruckert and Herron explained that the company has created several projects such as Outbox Pro, Unified Pro, SocialGrow, and MediaFlow which are among the first use cases for UnificationEngine. In addition, UnificationEngine has made it possible to actually measure the flow of communications and analyze communications performance. The company is currently developing the Media Flow Analytics Tool in collaboration with the University of Auckland and Darl Kolb, Professor of Connectivity, University of Auckland Graduate School of Management. Media Flow allows users to monitor their media use and provides insights into their communication use patterns.

"I envision a future where the devices I use live in my Contacts, just like the humans I know. If I want to talk to my car, my houseplant, my fridge, or my washing machine, I don't want to have to download four different apps, that's not just overload, that's chaos," Ruckert told ProgrammableWeb. "Instead, I want my devices to be able to talk to me, naturally, and on whatever communications channel I happen to be using at the time – be it a social network like Twitter or Weibo, a chat app like Whatsapp or WeChat, or a legacy channel like SMS or email. And it must be as simple as texting my car to start the A/C. We provide a better way for software developers and the maker scene to access the entire Internet of Communications, empowering them to easily leverage IoT's full potential for their users."

For more information about UnificationEngine, visit https://unificationengine.com/

Janet Wagner is a freelance technical writer and contributor to ProgrammableWeb covering breaking news, in-depth analysis, and product reviews. She specializes in creating well-researched, in-depth content about APIs, machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, analytics, GIS/maps, and other advanced technologies.