DSC Tech Library
CTI Computer Telephony Integration
This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to Computer Telephony and 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.
IP telephony: the ringing gets louder
While IP telephony is still restricted to closed user groups, the market is growing at a fast pace with deployments taking place across the enterprise, says SRIKANTH RP
VOICE quality and infrastructure issues dont hinder
the IP telephony market anymore. After the initial reluctance to adopt IP telephony,
companies across sectors are deploying IP telephony devices. Market research
firm Frost & Sullivan estimates the Indian IP telephony market to be worth
$30.38 million in 2003, with a growth of 199 percent from 2002. The firm expects
the market to touch $250.13 million by 2010, growing at a CAGR of 35 percent.
While India is still way behind in terms of IP infrastructure,
many organisations are looking at an evolutionary approach by integrating their
traditional network with an IP one. Though the market was initially driven by
the prospect of cost savings, today a majority of customers are looking at IP
telephony for using their excess bandwidth while taking advantage of new features.
The growing importance of India as a key VoIP market can also be seen from the
reports of analyst firms. IDC Asia Pacific estimates VoIP services in India
to be the second-biggest VoIP market in the region behind China.
Since IP telephony can ride on an enterprises
existing network, most companies which have a long-distance network in place
are going in for IP telephony deployments. And because an enterprise can straightaway
start saving costs in long-distance calls, vendors say that most clients recover
their investments within a year. Apart from the savings in long-distance calls,
organisations also benefit from flexible and centralised management. Most vendors
provide call manager software for maintaining a centralised list of contacts
which can be replicated across locations. Additionally, an enterprise gets access
to applications such as videoconferencing and e-collaboration. Then there are
other value-added options such as directory integration, calling party name
and number, dialled calls and missed calls.
Says B Ashok, vice-president, Cisco Systems, India and
SAARC, While the majority of enterprises are using IP telephony to cut
their communication costs, there are a host of other applications that they
can take advantage of. Apart from e-conferencing and collaboration, enterprises
can have an integrated call accounting and billing system. Call accounting systems
can provide integrated management, reporting and billing of VoIP and traditional
voice traffic, as well as Internet usage. In addition, applications such
as unified messaging can provide users with a single mailbox for voice mail,
fax and e-mail. With IP phones, you can also take your extension with youeven
if you are transferred from one region to another.
Adds Amitava Baksy, product manager, Hellosoft, In
the future, there could be applications such as interactive shopping. For example,
web pages could incorporate a click-to-talk button.
| Nirvana Business Solutions (NBS)
||NBS' clients are able to track calls
being processed by NBS on a regular basis, thereby leading to greater customer
satisfaction levels. The company has been successful in leveraging the scalability
factor of the IP telephony network. The deployment has also given it a 10-15
percent cost savings advantage over a TDM phone network.
||New applications such as IP telephony
as well as enhanced supervising software have helped the company improve
|Bank of Rajasthan
||Has VoIP network which connects 200 branches
and saves on STD costs. The bank is now planning to extend this network
to another 100 cities.
|| IFCI used to spend about Rs 40,000 per
location on STD calls every month, and the total bill used to be around
Rs 1,50,000. It installed D-Link 4-port Station Gateways (DG-104SH) at six
locations on its existing leased line network, and started using the VoIP
calling facility. After this was done, the PSTN billing between metros has
been reduced to around Rs 5,000 per location, and the PSTN bill has come
Role of BPO
While BPO firms are triggering the IP telephony revolution,
sectors such as manufacturing, banking and finance are increasingly demanding
IP telephony products.
Says Vincya, senior research analyst, Technology Practice,
Frost & Sullivan, The surge in call centre and BPO business in India
has stimulated growth in the IP telephony market; this segment contributes about
33 percent. Manufacturing is the next most important vertical contributing about
21 percent. This is followed by the banking and finance segment with about 13
percent. Other verticals such as transport and logistics, government, and travel
and hospitality contribute almost equally. The usage of IP telephony is
highest in the BPO industry since call centres provide multimedia customer interaction
products that need automation of many aspects of their business communications.
Some capabilities provided by players like Cisco include intelligent call routing,
automatic call distribution, network-to-desktop computer telephony integration,
IVR integration, call queuing and predictive dialling. A case in point is Nirvana
Business Solutions, a Bangalore-based BPO provider. Since the entire system
is web-enabled, the companys clients can track calls processed by the
company. Similarly, Phoenix Global Solutions actively uses IP telephony to improve
its customer relationship management.
Says Vijay Yadav, country manager, India & SAARC,
3Com, Any multi-location industry is best suited for deploying IP telephony
applications as this is where the business case is the strongest and easiest
to justify. This logically means that telecom service providers, banking and
finance organisations, BPO outfits and R&D centres (which are an extension
of global R&D operations) are potential markets for IP telephony deployments.
As the market matures and new services get launched on the voice over IP platform,
we will see wider acceptance across industries.
Adds Gunneswara Rao, director, VoIP, D-Link India, The
finance sector is a big opportunity for deployment of VoIP applications. D-Link
has delivered VoIP-based solutions to the Bank of Rajasthan, and the network
is spread across 200 cities in India. The bank is now planning to spread this
solution to another 100 branches.
Misconceptions about voice quality and issues such as
inter-operability and high cost are restricting
IP telephony deployments.
Explains Ashok, The relatively high cost of IP
phones has resulted in organisations limiting high-end phones to their top managers
while giving other users low-end phones. Additionally, the fact that IP calls
can be made only within a closed user group (CUG) acts as a hindrance to the
growth of the segment. As the CUG issue is in the hands of the government,
the common industry consensus is that once deregulation happens, IP telephony
deployments will grow exponentially.
Inter-operability is another key issue. Market analysts
say that most traditional phones, gateways, soft phones and call managers are
not inter-operable as they have their own proprietary systems. This limits the
freedom of corporates to choose components from different companies and integrate
them with their legacy systems. To avoid such inter-operability issues, most
vendors currently offer IP-phones based on industry-standard SIP. As Vijay Yadav
of 3com advises, Buyers should follow a cautious approach and check if
the products are inter-operable with third-party devices and applications.
While the quality of calls has improved, corporates
are not sure of maintaining quality if the number of users increases. Says Baksy,
The technology still has to prove it can provide toll-quality services
when the number of subscribers increases. Growth can be severely affected or
even reversed if this problem is not taken care of by the service providers.
It must also be remembered that policy restrictions make the IP telephony service
While there is still some resistance to IP telephony,
vendors believe that as more deployments take place, the confidence levels in
IP telephony applications will rise. It is still restricted to closed user groups.
Once the Indian government allows interconnection between IP phones and the
traditional PSTN networks, the growth of IP telephony will be phenomenal.