IVR Application in mission critical operation

The other day, I was discussing with Jarek of Ositron, my good friend from Poland, and he informed me about very interesting IVR application to be used in mining industry! Basically it is a simple outbound IVR application, but it can be very useful in automatic monitoring of miners working underground and alert.

IVR in Safety application

With fresh from the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for 69 days, this IVR application can at least raise an alarm in time!

How does it work ?
It is a simple outbound IVR applicaion which will dial every miner once in every 5 minutes. The miner does not have to do anything, but just pick the call once. IVR system will know miner is well and hearty. But if the miner does not answer the call from IVR, the IVR application would again call him n 2 minutes, then also if there is no reply from him, IVR would raise an alarm for human intervention immediately.
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Importance of script writing in IVR system

IVR system is not just a clubbing together of state of the art CTI boards, high end servers, very easy to drag and drop tool design IVR call flow for flexibility. One of the saddest part about IVR development is, the users may not appreciate about these technological break-through like SS7, ISUP, CPA ( Call Progress Analysis), accuracy and speed of speech recognition or the or intricacies involved in detecting disconnect tone, engage tone.

They simply care about what menus they hear and if the options they press or speak works! They are least bothered about the hard work some one may have put in to detect her key presses, or recognise heavily accented English numerals, but only if the IVR retrieves the information it promised in its menu. The appreciate only when they can understand the information read out to her listening first time without having to press a key to listen again!

It may not be possible to satisfy all the users of an IVR system, but by using well scripted menus in simple language and intelligently constructed sentences may surely help majority of the people to use IVR system without having to learn the IVR before using it.

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IVR Call Back as replacement of Toll Free Number

What is call back feature ?

Call Back feature is when a person call a number and then disconnect and immediately that dialed number calls back the person. Now the person can enter another phone number and get connected to that phone number! This kind of phone number which calls back a person is also known as DID ( Direct Inbound Dialing) or Direct Dial-in.

Implementing Call Back Service using IVR

Call back feature is implemented using a smart IVR ( Interactive Voice Response) System which performs three tasks :-

1. Detect caller ID and look up in a database if the caller id is a registered for call back service.

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Bulk Voice Calling

What is Bulk Voice Call ?

Bulk Voice Calling is broadcasting of pre-recorded voice message to many telephone numbers simultaneously or sequentially. It is voice or IVR version of SMS ( Short Message Service) broadcasting which is now a days widely used for various purposes. Bulk voice calling is also known as call blast, voice broadcasting, Automated Voice Campaigns, Voice SMS etc.

Bulk Voice Calling is picking up

Bulk voice broadcasting is normally a hosted IVR solution or part of any IVR system.

How does it work ?

Bulk Voice calling is essentially an outbound IVR ( Interactive Voice Response) System with one specific function, that is to dial telephone numbers from database or a list, and play a pre-defined programmed recorded audio file and play it when the called party picks the call. It also has to keep record of all success calls ( outbound calls which were picked by the called party and heard the recorded voice message) or abandoned calls which were not picked by the called party.
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Top 5 reasons for opting hosted IVR solution

IVR Hosting is growing world-wide and many people are increasingly opting for Hosted IVR solutions. Though hosted IVR Solution may not be able to replace On-Preimse IVR solutions in some cases, but here are top five reasons why one should opt for IVR hosting :-

IVR Hosting ay be your ideal IVR solution!

IVR Hosting ay be your ideal IVR solution!

1. Future Proof

With increasing number of CTI vendors as well as available CTI boards, it has not only become difficult to choose a CTI board, but it has also created a new risk, that is obsolescence! Many people may remember buying good old D/4PCI without any fear or consideration of going obsolete, but not anymore!
With recent advancement in speech recognition technologies, as well as complex IVR systems which may require data exchange between servers located at many places, one can safely say that, today’s IVR technology is going to be obsolete a lot quicker than before.

In hosted IVR solution, this is never going to be a problem for user! One can expect, the hosted IVR service provider will always be updated with latest technologies, features available in IVR technology.
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Open Source IVR ?

Recently, I have started getting mails about asking open source IVR as well as its availability for free, download-able from internet! Most of the people who have asked me about “‘Open Source IVR” have heard about Asterisk. Before going into the details about Asterisk, being open source IVR, I would like to clarify few things about IVR ( Interactive Voice Response)  System.

IVR system consists of  four components, one can say. They are :-

1. CTI ( Computer Telephony) board
2. Call Flow development as per requirement
3. Voice prompts, TTS ( Text To Speech) Engine  and ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) Engine
4. Host PC or Server for #1 through #3 above.

1. CTI ( Computer Telephony) board

CTI board is a hardware and I m quite sure, nobody will make it ‘open source’ or free for anyone! The other alternative is SIP ( Session Initiated Protocol) on VoIP ( Voice Over Internet Protocol). But for connecting to PSTN ( Public Switched Network), TDM based CTI Board is a must and there is no alternative, as of now!
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Outbound IVR : Interesting Implementation

Recently, I have come across some interesting outbound IVR ( Interactive Voice Response System) implementation. While it may not be the best outbound IVR arrangement, but it sure is the cheapest and most reliable in the circumstances in India. Just to mention, majority of the outbound IVR applications dial out a number, plays a recorded message and disconnect. It does not capture any response from the called party.

OUTBOUND IVR Implementation in India

How is this outbound IVR implemented ?

It uses a EPABX ( Electronic Private Automatic Branch Exchange ) which has minimum one PRI card in it as well as few FXO/CO lines. Then it uses normal SIM ( Subscriber Identity Module) of all available GSM operators available in India ( GSM Cards available on many EPABX models in India). There are also few equipment called “E1 PRI ISDN GSM Gateway” which allows connecting multiple SIMs at one end and E1/PRI link at the other.

Apart from this, it uses normal CTI board with E1/PRI connectivity and one smart outbound IVR with database connectivity.
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