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Registering and disposal of public grievances in a democratic welfare state should be top priority for any elected government. It may not be possible to monitor all public services by the state all the time, so in order to provider better services to citizens, an easily accessible and usable system for citizens to lodge a grievance and complaints should be in place. It will help citizen be part of governance as well as good monitoring system of the public utility services.

IVR ( Interactive Voice Response) System could be low cost, yet the easiest and most user-friendly, easily accessible system for any citizens to lodge grievances as well as complaints for any public utility services. While in India, IVR system has been put to use in Railways, Gas Booking System etc., usage of IVR in public grievance redressal system or complaint management system has not really taken off.
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March 30, 2016 OpenVox Communication Co.,Ltd, a global leading provider of the best cost effective VoIP gateways and Asterisk® solutions, has announced today to release a brand new series of analog gateways. With features of small size, exquisite enclosure and high performance, the iAG Analog VoIP Gateway is specially designed for saving space and maximizing cost savings which is ideal for SMBs and SOHOs.
Be different from VoxStack series, the OpenVox iAG series has no moving parts and built to last, it includes 4 models and available in 4 or 8 FXS/FXO ports. It can be configured for different country uses, provides a wide selection of codecs including G.711A, G.711U, G.729, G.722, G.723, ILBC.The OpenVox iAG analog VoIP gateway uses standard SIP protocol, includes all analog gateway features and compatible with Leading IMS/NGN platform, IPPBX and SIP servers.
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Analog IVR can be defined as those IVR which uses Aanlog CTI boards and analog telephone lines while Digital IVR can be defined as those IVR which uses digital CTI Board and uses PRI/BRI lines, E1/T1 ISDN/SS7 protocols. While all boards are digital, but analog CTI boards has completely different interface with telephone network.

Advantages of Digital IVR over Analog IVR
1. Caller ID detection or ANI facility
While analog IVR ( using analog CTI board and Analog telephone Line) can also detect caller ID, but its not reliable and also its very slow. Normally caller ID is detection takes at least one ring and most of the time it takes two rings. So IVR picks a call after two more 3 rings. In Digital IVR ( Using Digital CTI board and PRI/ISDN lines), caller id detection is fast, accurate and IVR can pick calls instantly. Increases user satisfaction.
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VoxeBone, a major VOIP Service providers in the world, has launched Vox800 service in India on 13th Nov 2015. VoxBone will provide India specific toll free number starting with 000800 numbers will be available to non-Indian residents and enterprises based outside India.These numbers will be accessible to 90% of mobile and landline numbers, as VoxBone news letter claims.

VoxBone has tied up with an Indian operator for providing this international toll free numbers. It is going to be inbound only service which means, calls will be only inbound to the toll free number and no outbound call will be supported.

As per Indian laws presently, VOIP is highly restricted and VOIP calls originating from VOIP servers in India can not be terminated on its PSTN numbers.
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Number Masking in India

I keep getting queries about “Number masking” while making outbound calls. I find many people have confusion/questions about definition of number masking, caller id etc. So I thought I would try to post about “Number Masking” while making out bound IVR calls or bulk voice calling.

What is “number masking” ?
As the name suggest, “Number Masking” is masking the caller id ( originator ID) of caller to the called part. For example, if my mobile number is “ABC”, and if I call “EFG” number, “EFG” should get caller ID ( CLI ) as “XYZ” instead of my actual number “ABC”. I hope this should be acceptable definition of “Number Masking” or caller ID masking.

Why people seem to ask for “Number Masking”?

Most of the Bulk Voice Outbound Call Service providers in India provide services using PRI lines. Every PRI line has a fixed 10 digit number known as “Pilot Number”. This pilot number is displayed on the called party. Typical caller ID one gets to see for any promotional or marketing ( “Pesky calls” as media likes to call it) starts with +91 140 XXXXXXXX here in India.
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Continuing with How to Start Cloud Telephony Business in India from last post where I posted about difficulties in promoting voice services, I would like to add  in this part II how one can setup the cloud telephony service infrastructure.

Here is list of few infrastructure one must have to start a cloud telephony service business

  1. PRI Lines or Telephony lines
  2. CTI hardware
  3. IVR Software
  4. Websites and other Web Services
  5. Support Team
  6. Backups

PRI lines are used to receive or make outbound telephone calls and these lines are provided by any telecom service provider in selected cities/states.

One must have CTI hardware like Dialogic, Donjin, Sangoma or any other which acts as an interface between Telephones and Computer.

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Toll Free Number in India

Almost all telecom operators in India provide toll free numbers in India. Also, all private operators except BSNL( Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) and MTNL ( Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited) which are government enterprises, can also provide international toll free number.

All operators terminate/forward their toll free number to their own telephone numbers only. Which means, if one applies for a toll free number from BSNL, she will have to get at least one BSNL telephone number too. While I last spoke to BSNL, they do not forward heir toll free number to any GSM phone numbers. Other private telecom service providers forward their TollFree numbers to any number, be it GSM/CDMA or landline numbers.
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I think this is a topic that many people seem to be asking each other or in Google search. I also get many inquiries, emails about the same. So I thought, I would post what I think about starting a Cloud telephony Service company in India.

Last couple of years, some Cloud Telephony companies came into existence in India and with their aggressive social media campaign as well as venture capitalist funding, they have become famous and talking point in many tech discussions.

While all these look good, the situation may not be that good. Being in IVR industry and blogging about IVR since 2008 ( Yes, not many of these Cloud telephony Companies did not exist in 2008!) I can suggest everyone in one sentence

“Do not start Cloud Telephony Service company without VC (Venture Capitalist) Funding and if you are not very patient.”
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One business process which is likely continue in near future is, alerting a customer about change of any status in her lodged task or availed services. For example, the lodged task could be like flight ticket, wait listed train ticket, service complaint, banking credit/debit or any other services. A flight may be delayed due to many reasons and it becomes very important for air lines to intimate the customer about the delay to avoid an agonising wait at the airport. Such unwanted wait not only annoys the customer, but it can also cost money to the airlines.

There are many ways to avail any of the above services. For example one may book flight ticket using the following ways :-
Various platform are available for lodging complaints
1. Smartphone APP
2. Website
3. Mail
4. Email
5. Phone Call to airlines ticketing division.
6. Personal Visit to airlines sales office
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In this age of much hyped cloud IVR, there are still some users who still use on premise Interactive voice response system on analog telephone lines. In one typical and unpredictable problem while using analog line is, sudden high voltage in the telephone line and damaging the CTI board. While this problem is not frequent and many CTI boards are equipped to handle this kind of voltage fluctuations, still it may happen anytime anywhere and there seems to be no permanent solution to it!

Recently, I had learned similar experience while speaking to an Analog IVR user. IVR systems works fine but suddenly it stops working as the CTI board stops working, unable to sense incoming calls. Finally, they had found a solution to it, by using FCT ( Fixed Cellular terminal). yes, they have changed their analog landline number to mobile phone number which is connected to CTI board. The previous landline number was forwarded to this mobile number and the existing system kept working, callers did not realise about the changes which had taken place!

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