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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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Call Hunting is a smart feature which are available in many high end PBXes. Call Hunting feature is mostly known as Line Hunting in PBX world which is a normally a group number. There is one group number which one dials and the call may land of any lines in that group depending on some algorithm.

Similarly, there are call hunting scenerios in call centre where there is one toll free number with multiple lines. Anyone calls to that toll free number may land on any number which are mapped to that toll free number. Typically, any toll free number is mappwed to a PRI line which has 30 channels or lines.

In the age of cloud telephony, call hunting has developed into many more complex scenerios. There are no longer grouping of just PRI lines or landline telephone number or even PBX extensions, but there mobile numbers from different operators which could be grouped together and hunted as per some algorithm.
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Now a days, I keep getting news about starting cloud telephony service providers in almost all cities in India. This phenomena or mushrooming of Cloud Telephony Service reminds me of good old VAS ( Value Added Service) days in India in 1999-2006 during initial days of telecom boom. Similarly, VAS companies mushroomed during that day and after 10 years, nobody discusses about VAS industry anymore.

Cloud Telephony Service seems to catching up with old and new entrepreneurs with “Digital India” and “Smart City” campaign by present government. We can hope it will bring in positive changes and increase mass acceptability of IVR systems in India.
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Unseasonal rains destroys crops as well as it may delay some crops which in turn cause rise in prices int he market. With global climate changes, the occurrence of unseasonal rains have become quite normal in India as well as other countries. Specially in India, this has recently become a big problem as agriculture is mainly dependent on rain. There are many incidents in India of farmers committing suicide due to loss of crops due to unseasonal rains.

A simple outbound IVR can be used inform farmers in advance for any expected rains as well as educate them alternatives crops in case of unseasonal rain.
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