IVR Interactive Voice Response
This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to IVR and interactive voice response software as well as automatic call answering solutions.
Business phone systems and toll free answering systems (generally 800 numbers and their equivalent) are very popular for service and sales organizations, allowing customers and prospects to call your organization anywhere in the country.
Our PACER and Wizard IVR systems add another dimension to our call center phone system solutions. An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) processes inbound phone calls, plays recorded messages including information extracted from databases and the internet, and potentially routes calls to either in-house service agents or transfers the caller to an outside extension.
Business Advantages of VoiceXML
By John Hibel
you're thinking about investing in proprietary technology
or utilizing your existing interactive voice response
(IVR) system to voice-enable your web site, think again.
If you don't invest in VoiceXML today, the chances are
pretty good you'll be porting your investment to VoiceXML
in the foreseeable future. Here's why:
VoiceXML-based applications offer unprecedented flexibility,
whether deployment means purchasing equipment, outsourcing
via hosting services, or a combination of the two.
of Internet infrastructure. Most enterprises today
have a web infrastructure and an IVR infrastructure.
VoiceXML lets you eliminate separate silos of equipment,
maintenance and support.
best-of-breed. Open VoiceXML solutions allow for
the separation of applications, platforms and speech
engines so you can select best-of-breed at each layer.
products are available today. The VoiceXML 1.0
specification was published nearly a year ago, and
its promise is being fulfilled. Several vendors are
shipping VoiceXML platforms, and a community of more
than 350 member companies is actively engaged in the
activities of the VoiceXML Forum, proof that VoiceXML
is more than just a trend. In addition, according
to data published by companies with on-line VoiceXML
development tools, there are in total over 10,000
registered VoiceXML developers.
have traditionally deployed IVR systems on premises,
with hosted systems accounting for less than 10% of
the IVR market over the past several years. Because
applications are tightly integrated to proprietary IVR
systems, enterprises preferred to deploy systems on
premises to maintain control over their applications
and to integrate them with legacy systems.
VoiceXML the application is separated from the speech
and telephony resources. The application, written in
VoiceXML, resides on any web server. The speech resources
(speech recognition and text-to-speech) and telephony
resources reside on a VoiceXML Gateway Server, which
is linked to the web server via an IP network. The web
server hosting the VoiceXML application and the VoiceXML
Gateway Server can be co-located, or they can be a continent
apart communicating via the Internet.
Figure 1: Components of a VoiceXML System
separation of the application from the telephony resources
gives enterprises added flexibility when making purchasing
decisions. While it still may be very attractive to
put both the application and the VoiceXML Gateway Server
on premises, outsourcing to a VoiceXML hosting company
can be much more attractive than outsourcing with proprietary
systems. In a hosting scenario, the enterprise can locate
the VoiceXML application on premises and therefore maintain
total control of the application, including updates
and changes. A hosting company provides access to a
VoiceXML Gateway that executes the application on demand.
The enterprise, which avoids incurring a capital cost
to deploy on premises, typically pays the hosting company
a per-port or a per-minute access fee. This VoiceXML-enabled
architecture allows expensive speech and telephony resources
to be shared in a way that leverages economies of scale,
while at the same time enabling enterprises to maintain
control over their IVR applications.
applications written in VoiceXML can be portable among
platforms (see footnote),
enterprises can select or change hosting partners with
relative ease. Since VoiceXML Gateways do not require
prior "knowledge" of a VoiceXML application--
the application is delivered on demand--it isn't necessary
to incur the significant up-front setup costs generally
required to host a proprietary IVR system. With VoiceXML
applications, the setup can be as simple as pointing
the VoiceXML Gateway to the correct URL.
gain additional flexibility by deploying a combination
of on-premises and hosted VoiceXML. Hosted systems can
complement on-premises systems by providing additional
capacity during peak periods of demand. Consider an
enterprise that runs annual promotions and experiences
very high call volumes for only a few weeks at a time.
The enterprise can invest in capacity necessary to cover
normal call volume, and contract a hosting firm to provide
capacity during the peak season. Likewise, if traffic
spikes unexpectedly, a hosting firm could provide additional
capacity very rapidly because of the minimal setup required
to host VoiceXML applications.
of Internet Infrastructure
enterprises today maintain a Web system for customer
contact via computer and an IVR system for customer
contact via telephone. Each separate system used to
mean separate investments, separate programmers needed
to write applications, and separate staff to operate
and maintain the system. Obviously, this is a very expensive
makes it possible to build telephone services while
reusing existing Web infrastructure, and that makes
it possible to share and utilize resources in a much
more efficient manner. VoiceXML applications reside
on web servers where they can be maintained with the
same resources used to maintain traditional Web applications.
VoiceXML applications can even share the same back-end
links to legacy systems and databases that have been
developed to support web applications.
Figure 2: VoiceXML--Evolution of a Web Infrastructure
development in VoiceXML can leverage the same familiar
development tools used by Web developers. Application
developers familiar with XML or HTML can learn VoiceXML
very rapidly. What is more, the large and rapidly growing
community of VoiceXML developers makes it much easier
to find application developers familiar with VoiceXML,
much more so than it was to find developers familiar
with proprietary service creation languages.
Wizard Simplifies Development
DSC provides IVR software including our IVR wizard development tool for creating interactive voice response applications.
Our IVR software lets you increase IVR development productivity by providing a visual development environment. IVR applications can be defined in minutes using this sophisticated, yet easy to use development tool.
DSC also has available a comprehensive IVR software library known as our IVR Wizard Software Development Kit. This optional package is available for programmers and systems adminstrators who wish to manage IVR programs fromLinux IVR, Unix, or Windows IVR operating environments.
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.