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After advent of mobile phones, SMS was the preferred way of reminder service for anything , may be flight schedule, bank EMI payment, loan or insurance payment reminder, school fees or anything. But for last few years, I think, outbound calling has become the main or preferred reminder service.

While speaking various IVR Service providers ( mostly cloud telephony service providers), I have learned that, the number of voice calls now range in millions per day in India! Bulk of which is for reminder services alone! Reminder services have also become quite interactive where user can press a button and choose to stop reminder for the same information or message confirming he had recieved the message. This is purely interactive and does great justice to its name, Interactive Voice Response System!

I think here are the reasons why outbound IVR calling have become popular and widely accepted in India :-
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Back to blogging about IVR

I have not been blogging about IVR ( Interactive Response System) for almost five years now. Recently, I have taken up an consultancy work on “Clout Telephony” project, so I was checking this blog. I have realised that, though I have not been adding any new blog post, this blog has still been getting read by people in IVR world as well as cloud telephony.

Many things have changed in the last five years. One notable change for me is disappearance of “Dialogic”. Once upon a time, Dialogic was almost synonymous with IVR. Once texting and chatting appeared in telecom domain as entertainment or ‘time pass’ activity, but have become dominant tool as customer service tool.
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Speaker recognition has been in speculation and we had bloggged about Speaker Recognition in 2010 how it could help IVR industry and finally Aculab, a global provider of API-driven advanced speech and signal processing technologies, is pleased to announce the latest version of its voice biometric system, VoiSentry.

Aculab is based in Milton Keynes, UK and is one of the most respected name in IVR world. Their product, latest version of its voice biometric system, VoiSentry has speaker recognition facility, as per their press release on 23 April 2020. Here is the press release :
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COVID19, the pandemic of 2020 has locked down more than half of the world crippling economies of many countries! With more than 2.4 million infections and more than 170 thousand death worldwide ( till today 21 April 2020), effect of COVID19 will likely to continue to be felt till next few months even after it subsides or some vaccine is discovered/invented.

In this time of social distancing and lock-down, work from home, IVR can be useful in many ways. While most companies/organisations/industries are trying to procure thermal imagers for screening for elevated body temperature or fever detection, IVR could also come in handy for general business activities.

Here are few IVR applications which could be of some help in fighting COVID19
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The most widely used Cloud Telephony Service in the world is Outbound Voice Call, also known as Bulk Voice Calling, Reminder Service etc. The operation remains same while its used with many ways, to cater to many purposes. Few of the variants are known as Auto-Dialer where its used in call center and connect to a human agent.

The process remains the same. An outbound call is triggered either manually, automatically or with some logic and when the called number is connected, either a message is played and disconnected or another call is made to a call center executive and both get connected. In some other outbound bulk voice calls, the called party is requested to choose some option and depending on her choice, some further task is performed.
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What are Pesky Calls?
Pesky calls are those which come to your phone uninvited and try to sell you some products which you may or may not want. These kind of calls could be useful to people who are not busy, now a days there are only few people carrying a phone who are not busy. So, these marketing and promotional calls are nuisance to many people and irritates everyone.

While there are even laws against such pesky calls, National Do not Call registry (NDNC) which altogether stops such pesky calls once registered, still this problem persists. It has come down but people have also started missing information about good offers, discount sales in nearby stores. In this difficult economic conditions, these information are useful.
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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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