DSC Tech Library
Computer Telephony Integration
This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to CTI Computer Telephony Integration software and products.
Computer Telephony Integration CTI software is a rich set of phone software library routines that enable application programs to control your phone system.
This comprehensive CTI software lets you increase employee productivity, enhance customer service and reduce costs by combining the capabilities of our PACER phone system with the custom functionality of your Windows, Unix or Web applications.
Data collected by your phone ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) or IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems can be passed to your existing PC, Unix or Web applications through our phone software.
The PACER predictive dialer can automatically call your customers and pass only connected calls to your agents. With our computer telephony software, your telephone and computer work together to provide cost-saving benefits.
Computer Telephony for the Enterprise
By Michael Sampson
Two separately architected enterprise technology systems--the telephone system and the computer system--both enable the flow of information among the individuals in an organization. Recent technological developments allow for the merging of these two systems, providing a far richer channel for information flow. This is the technology area called computer telephony.
Computer telephony applies the power of the computer to the functions of the telephone, seamlessly merging the two worlds (and making it natural for users to wonder why things weren't always this intuitive). Computer telephony isn't a product in and of itself; rather it refers to that class of products that leverage the two capabilities for business benefit. This chapter focuses on the enterprise deployment of architectured computer telephony solutions.
For a network manager, the business case for implementing computer telephony is the elimination of costs associated with planning, managing and administering dual network infrastructures and their associated internal and external links. Bringing together the two worlds also enables the consolidation of delivery device requirements, and as a result, lower cost systems. And this technology simultaneously delivers end-user benefits. Users receive a richer man-machine interface in the computer because computer telephony harnesses the computer's visual capabilities for communication tasks. End users can employ a wider range of interpersonal skills in communications, rather than being limited by single media tools, such as only voice through the telephone and text through e-mail. Computer telephony converges multiple communication tools into one, simplifying communication tasks by piecing together the key strengths of each individual tool.
This chapter of the Network Design Manual will overview how to plan, implement and use computer telephony communication tools within the enterprise. Two main sections present this information--the first outlines leading computer telephony applications by analysing both the business case for implementation and specific implementation issues; the second, general deployment concerns. First, however, an introduction to telephony is presented as background.
What is This Thing Called "Telephony"?
To properly plan computer telephony applications, it's vital to appreciate the fundamental differences between telephony and data networking.
The two major differences are circuit versus packet networking and the terminal intelligence involved. The telephony world uses a circuit-switched technology paradigm, which means that an entire physical line is used to carry the communication signals between two or more parties. The initiating party instructs their telephony network node (a telephone), to connect through a series of private and public te lephony switches to the telephone of the person they want to speak with. A path through these switches is created for the duration of the call, and then torn down when the call is complete.
The voice signals are delivered in the order in which they were spoken, so that the person hearing the communication can understand what is being said. The circuit-switched paradigm is very different to the packet-switched paradigm of data networking, whereby a stream of communication is decomposed into a series of discrete information packets, transmitted through a network infrastructure to the terminating device, and re-created using the header information associated with each packet. It is irrelevant with data that the packets may arrive in a different sequence to that in which they were created; the header information provides enough clues for the terminating device to re-create the original communication in the proper way. Further, multiple separate communication events can be transmitted simultaneously through a single physical line because of the optimisation and efficiency characteristics engineered into the packet paradigm.
Michael Sampson is the Managing Director of Teamlink Communications Limited, a privately-held company based in New Zealand. Teamlink works with dynamic companies wanting to leverage telecommunication-based information technology for business success. Michael can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org