A phone service is basically an application, written like a script, that the IP phone executes to acquire and display targeted information. The information accessed can be as simple as a weather forecast or restaurant menu, or as complex as a voice-response system for pharmacists mixing compound drugs.
Anyone with a basic understanding of Web development and the right tools can create phone services. Services are created using the objects, tags, and tools provided in the Cisco IP Phone Services Software Developer's Kit available as a free download from the Cisco Developer Support Web site (cisco.com/warp/public/570/avvid/voice_ip/cm_xml/index.html). In addition, the new Cisco Press book, Developing Cisco IP Phone Services: A Cisco AVVID Solution (see sidebar) provides expanded tools, detailed code samples, object and tag definitions, and advanced techniques to help you create the services you require. There's also a Web site called HotDispatch (www.hotdispatch.com/cisco-ip-telephony) where you can hire an independent application writer to create a service to meet your unique requirements. Or you can select a service from the variety of existing applications already for sale.