While working in Cloud telecommunication domain, there are certain terms that one needs to be aware of viz., PRI, IVR, call server, softphone, MPLS, ILL, MPLS, DTMF, SIP, IDC. Let’s understand each term.
“The Primary Rate Interface (PRI) is a telecommunications interface standard used on an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) for carrying multiple DS0 voice and data transmissions between the network and a user. PRI is the standard for providing telecommunication services to offices.”
A PRI is a physical line which is used for voice and data transfer. Each PRI will have 30 ports/channels. In a cloud-based telephony setup there can be 15 connected concurrent calls through a single PRI.
Example: When you call Airtel or any call center. Initially you land on their IVR System- , here your call is occupying one port and when you choose to talk to their executive, their system dials the executive and patches the call which consumes the 2nd port.
How Cloud Telephony works?
“Interactive voice response (IVR) is a technology that allows a computer to interact with humans through the use of voice and DTMF tones input via keypad.”
Call Server -
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“A call server is a particular form of application server that manages the setup or connection of telephone calls.”
It’s the server on which a new call lands.
Soft Phone -
“A softphone (software telephone) is an application program that enables voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone calls from computing devices.”
Attending calls through PCs, IP based hard phones.
“Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is a type of data-carrying technique for high-performance telecommunications networks that directs data from one network node to the next based on short path labels rather than long network addresses, avoiding complex lookups in a routing table.”
Through MPLS there can be a point to point connection established between the call server and the Core IDC, which avoids latency and improves quality of service.
“An Internet leased line is a premium internet connectivity product, delivered over fiber normally, which is dedicated and provides uncontended, symmetrical speeds, full-duplex.”
It’s not a point to point connection but better than a regular internet connection, with high speed and good connectivity.
Types of Calling
IP telephony (Internet Protocol telephony) uses the internet to deliver calls as packets of data on shared lines. Also known as VOIP it is the real-time transmission of voice signals over the internet or private data network
PSTN (The Public Switched Telephone Network) is the network of the world’s public circuit-switched telephone networks. The PSTN is made up of fiber optic cables, microwave transmission links, communications satellites, undersea telephone cables, telephone lines and cellular networks. All of this equipment is inter-connected by switching centers which subsequently allows any telephone in the world to communicate with another.
A integrated data center is a facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. It generally includes redundant or backup power supplies, redundant data communications connections, environmental controls (e.g., air conditioning, fire suppression) and various security devices.
Understand DID, SBN and TFN
DID stands for Direct Inward Dialing. When a PRI is procured from the telecom operator, it comes along with 100 DID numbers to which the callers can dial. First number of this set is called as a pilot number. So, all these numbers can be directly called or a caller can call the pilot number and get connected with other numbers in the form of extensions through a PBX.
SBN or SNS -
Single board number or single number solution is a landline number which remains same throughout the country but the callers prefix their location STD code and dials out and is charged for a local call.
Example: Dominos number
Toll free number in India typically starts with 1800. Callers will not be charged any amount for calling a TFN as the charges on behalf of caller are bore by the TFN subscriber.
There is also a partial TFN in which callers from any location will be charged for a local call and other charges are bore by the subscriber.
Disaster Management -
To achieve disaster recovery, maximum of 4 DIDs (a landline number) can be mapped to a TFN which acts as primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary numbers. By this, when call lands on a TFN it is first routed to the primary DID and if the DID is down due to various reasons then the call is routed to secondary DID and so on.
Basics of Call Center Domain
It’s place where calls from the customers and other entities are handled by the organization.
Agent: Executive of the organization who front faces the calls to/from the customers.
After call work are the activities (like tagging the call) done by the agent after call is successfully completed.
Provision given to an agent where he can transfer the Current call to another agent or pool of agents.
Provision given to an agent where he can open a conference and take other members into the current call
It’s a call monitoring mechanism where supervisor can listen to a live call between the agent and the customer. There are various levels of achieving it viz., being only in listen only mode, being able to communicate only with the agent, being able to completely intrude into the call (like conference)
Agent who is in both states (inbound and outbound) of calling simultaneously
It’s the time taken to transfer the data packets from one point to another
Quality of Service:
It’s the performance observed by the stakeholder considering error rate, uptime, latency, bandwidth and other performance metrics.
Inbound Call Center
It’s the call center which handles only the calls initiated by the customers.
Automatic call distribution: It’s the system that routes all inbound calls automatically to a particular department or agent.
Most idle agent: It’s the logic that’s followed by the system while routing the call to an agent. It calculates the idlest agent based on the talk time spoken by all other agents in that skill till that point in time.
Skill based routing: It’s the process of routing the calls, to the relevant skill where there is pool of appropriate agents, as per the navigation of the customer at IVR level.
Priority based routing: It’s the process of routing the calls to the agents based on the predefined priority set by the supervisor
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Outbound Call Center
It’s a place where calls are initiated by the agents in the customer care center for various purposes like marketing campaigns, grievance handling etc.
Manual dial: It’s the process of agent entering a number to be dialed and gets connected with the customer.
There are different types of dialers through which outbound calls can be done efficiently.
Progressive dialer: It’s a dialer in which calls are automatically initiated by the system, giving the call making control to the supervisor and at the same time it saves the agent time by avoiding manual entry of customer’s phone number.
- Data has to be uploaded in excel sheet in a progressive campaign.
- System automatically initiates the calls to the data provided and connects to the available agents.
- You can choose either to dial customer first or dial by holding agent.
It’s a dialer in which:
- Data has to be uploaded in excel sheet and agent can see one contact at a time with the information uploaded in the excel sheet.
- Agent can click on dial whenever he is ready.
This works best when you have large volume of data where you are not sure about its freshness.