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It may not be easy to define a successful IVR ( Interactive voice response) System. In single line, one IVR system could be termed successful when it has lowest abandon rate by both genuine new and old callers. When an IVR system is designed to perform some specific task for a caller, if the caller completes those tasks using the IVR easily at the shortest time possible, then the IVR will have very less abandonment rate and the IVR could be termed successful IVR.

For example, if one IVR system retrieves outstanding bill for telephone number, the caller should be able to hear his/her outstanding bill at the shortest possible time, without failure with having to choose minimum options, either using DTMF/Key-press or voice command. If the caller disconnects the call before he hears his outstanding bill amount, then it would be ‘abandon of IVR call’. But if the caller listens to his outstanding bill amount, and then disconnects the call, it is ‘successful IVR call’.

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CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) Boards, Also known as CT Boards (Computer Telephony boards), is the interface between various IVR software running on the computer and the telephone network. It is normally a PC add-on boards which is installed inside PC/Server Chassis and which is connected to telecom network physically with through E1 or Analog FXO.

With introduction of VoIP communications, CTI is no longer just hardware based, it can also be software and using existing network interface cards in the server of PC. For example, Dialogic HMP 3.0 is software CTI like solution for VOIP or SIP phones. With 3G being introduced, we might see end of CTI boards!

Indian CTI market is getting crowded with new vendors now a days. Gone are the days when CTI boards mean Dialogic. We now have almost all vendors opening shop in India from all over the globe. Many Chinese companies have opened office in India and selling low cost CTI boards in price sensitive market like India.

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Dialogic Corporation (“Dialogic”), a global provider of world-class products and technologies for multimedia and signal processing, today launched its inCloud9™ network, a free, cloud-based developer network designed to make it easier and more efficient for developers to test Dialogic products while building new

Dialogic Launched InCloud9

applications. Specifically, the inCloud9 network provides application developers with access to products, technical documentation and support for creating innovative new voice and video-enabled value-added services, without requiring local server hardware or a development environment.

Developers can securely develop applications using inCloud9 resources that are functionally partitioned and assigned to them. They are initially provided login credentials that enable them to access the site via a VPN connection. Development tools can then be accessed to create prototype applications that can be functionally tested with dedicated server resources running both Dialogic and third party products. inCloud9 also serves as a community for developers, and allows them to communicate and interact with others that have similar interests.

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I attended VAS Asia 2010 held today in New Delhi. While writing my previous post about widely used IVR systems in India, I put IVR for Value Added Service at the top. If the overwhelming presence of CTI board manufacturers with stalls and two IVR platform provider any indication, then we are surely seeing some boom in IVR VAS in India! Incidentally, the last year too, there were many CTI board manufacturers in the same exhibition!

VAS Asia

VAS Asia 2010 Conference

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The usage of IVR is growing in India. IVR has been used for long time in India like any other country in the world. These IVR systems were majorly used as train status information, flight status information and other few complaint lodging/booking system. And at that time ( before 1997), India had very low telecom density. After telecom boom in 1999, telecom density in India has grown to over 44% by 2010. Until recently, India was adding almost 10m telephone ( both land line and mobile) users per month.

Usage of IVR has also seen growth int the same period. Also, IVR systems are being used in many new areas increasingly. In my opinion, there are four major areas where IVR is being increasingly used in India :-

1. IVR as Value Added Service
2. IVR in Call Center/Contact Center
3. IVR in payment gateways
4. IVR for traditional usage like complaint management, Railway enquiry etc.

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What is IVR short code ?
IVR (Interactive Voice Response) short code can be defined as special telephone number which has ‘less’ digits in it than traditional full length telephone number. This kind of special ‘short code’ are mainly used for special purposes like customer care for telephone/mobile subscribers, VAS ( Value Added Service) access either SMS/MMS ( Short Messaging Service/Multimedia Messaging Service) or IVR based, public utility services etc.
With recent ‘VAS boom’ all around the world in telephone and mobile industry, short-code has become quite well known and many people want to ‘have’ it! While, short code is nothing but telephone number with less number of digits in it, it has become very special special as it is always associated with some special service as well as special charging for calling to it! For any VAS short code, it is charged premium while for any customer care service, it is free of charge for the caller.

Different countries have different policies about short code used for IVR access or SMS/MMS access. Normally any short-code has length of 5 digits and can have customisable suffix for specific service.

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What is IVR short code ?
IVR (Interactive Voice Response) short code can be defined as special telephone number which has ‘less’ digits in it than traditional full length telephone number. This kind of special ‘short code’ are mainly used for special purposes like customer care for telephone/mobile subscribers, VAS ( Value Added Service) access either SMS/MMS ( Short Messaging Service/Multimedia Messaging Service) or IVR based, public utility services etc.
With recent ‘VAS boom’ all around the world in telephone and mobile industry, short-code has become quite well known and many people want to ‘have’ it! While, short code is nothing but telephone number with less number of digits in it, it has become very special special as it is always associated with some special service as well as special charging for calling to it! For any VAS short code, it is charged premium while for any customer care service, it is free of charge for the caller.

Different countries have different policies about short code used for IVR access or SMS/MMS access. Normally any short-code has length of 5 digits and can have customisable suffix for specific service.

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One of the advantages of using Donjin boards is easy portability of C++ codes written for Dialogic boards to Donjin boards! It should not take more than one hour for porting C++ codes from Dialogic boards to Donjin boards. Though, recently introduced KeyGoe series of products from Donjin has totally different API than of Dialogic, but its TDMA CTI boards like DN300, DN600 etc. uses ‘similar’ API as that of Dialogic boards!

Dialogic


Donjin also uses Dialogic-like Device Configuration Manager which is easier to configure than Dialogic DCM. Though I think Donjin Device Configuration manager lack many features which Dialogic DCM provides. Like Dialogic, Donjin also provides ‘text’ file based various configuration for telephone interface, caller ID etc. depending on the protocol. Donjin has more user friendly diagnostics tools that Dialogic.

Donjin Boards support Dialogic API

Here is the step I used for porting Dialogic C++ codes to Donjin boards in less than an hour:-
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Recently, I came to know that Airtel ( Mobile Service provider in India with largest number of mobile subscribers, around 135 millions) charges caller to its mobile subscribers at the Rs. 0.5 per 3 minutes when they call their helpline number ( customer care) and speak to

AIRTEL Charges for speaking customer care


any human agent. The charge starts as soon as some human agent answers the call and the IVR prior to that is not charged. Apart from Airtel, few others telecom/Mobile operators have also started charging customers for speaking to their customer care executive. And they have consent from TRAI ( Telecom Regulatory Authority of India).

I think the logic behind Airtel charging customer for ‘talking’ human agent/customer care executive is to discourage subscribers speaking to human agent and encourage using the ‘self help’ or ‘Do It Yourself’ IVR right from booking any complaints to find out any information about Airtel. This will surely help them reduce ‘human agents’ in their call centers and bringing down cost of operation further. Also, there may have been many spam calls and this kind of charging may help them reduce these spam calls.

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Recently, I came across a news of phasing out of government managed call center in Indian city, Jaipur, aimed at providing single-window facilities for civic issues like sanitation, water supply and road repair etc. The reason for phasing out of the call center is due to less number of calls and huge burden of cost for running the call center! Quite logical!

Jaipur: The much-hyped call centre, which was launched in August 2008 to provide singlewindow facilities for civic issues like sanitation, water supply and road repair etc, may be phased out soon. The centre seems to be economically unviable and a huge burden on the government. Moreover, the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) has to dish out Rs 2.5 lakh every month for a few hundred calls.
During a review meeting chaired by directorate of local bodies (DLB), director Jogaram said in the last one month it was found that running the call centre was an expensive affair. “As the coordinator of the centre, we found that we need to make the centre costeffective. Therefore, we have decided to reduce staff strength by June 1, 2010, besides some other corrective measures,” Jogaram said. Source : Times Of India.

While, any intelligent IVR ( interactive voice response) system should have been enough for providing information as well as registering any request from its citizen, government agencies went ahead with implementation of call center! Most probably, IVR companies in India are not promoting features and functions of IVR systems in India!

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