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IVR Development

This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to IVR Development and custom IVR software and products. Business phone systems and toll free answering systems (generally 800 numbers and their equivalent) are very popular for service and sales organizations, allowing customers and prospects to call your organization anywhere in the country. The PACER and WIZARD IVR System is just one of many DSC call center phone system features..

What Is IVR?. An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) processes inbound phone calls, plays recorded messages including information extracted from databases and the internet, and potentially routes calls to either inhouse service agents or transfers the caller to an outside extension.

Contact DSC today. to learn more about our IVR services and IVR application development software.

Hosted Speech Technology

Extract From Jennifer O'Herron, callcentermagazine.com

As speech technology evolves, hosting of this technology becomes more and more viable.

Jennifer O'Herron in the callcentermagazine.com article "Hosted Speech Technology" states: "

Hosting is not a new notion in call centers. For quite some time, hosting providers have offered call center technologies such as training software and knowledge management tools with varying degrees of success.

However, one area where the hosting model is thriving is in speech recognition. Typically, speech rec was only available to companies that had the budgets big enough to invest in expensive speech servers and applications. Smaller companies without the capital or the resources to maintain these complex technologies were left in the dark.

Michael Kuperstein, CEO and founder of Metaphor Solutions (Wellesley, MA), which provides both hosting and on-premise solutions, says that it costs an average of $500,000 to $1 million to install a speech rec system on site. "Companies like Amtrak have high enough call volumes that they can justify spending millions to deploy a speech rec system," he says. "But 85% to 90% of the market can't afford to spend that amount of money."

According to a January 2004 report from The Yankee Group, authored by Art Schoeller, the speech recognition market reached maturity three years ago, just in time for a worldwide economic downturn. The timing was auspicious for hosted speech applications as they provided a low-cost low-risk entry into speech rec.

But the biggest boost to the hosting market has been the transition from focusing on proprietary hardware ports and software license fees to open systems based on VoiceXML. Through the use of a common language, application developers, platform developers and software providers all benefit from code portability and reuse.

VoiceXML also helps ease some of the issues that prevented call centers from outsourcing their voice self-service applications in the past, such as loss of control and security issues; with VoiceXML companies can retain their own databases on site.

And while VoiceXML is opening many new doors for call centers, it's also a source of confusion in the marketplace. If you ask ten different people to define "hosting," it wouldn't be surprising to get ten different answers. However, there are several common hosting models that you can choose from when considering outsourcing speech rec.

Breaking Down the Hosting Model

Once you decide that hosting is a viable option for your call center, you need to consider the different hosting models available. According to a January 2004 Yankee Group report, authored by Art Schoeller, the most common scenarios fall into the following categories. However, it's important to keep in mind that service providers still use many of these terms differently so it's essential to clearly outline what you expect the provider to be responsible for.

Complete hosting. The hosting provider supplies the communication lines, IVR/speech servers, applications servers, and usually professional services to develop, tune, and maintain the application.

Voice front-end hosting. The IVR/speech server resides at the hosting vendor's site while the applications server stays on the call center's premises. In this scenario, the hosting vendor still provides applications development and tuning bundled into its pricing model.

Hosted infrastructure. The call center takes responsibility for developing and maintaining its voice applications and simply uses the hosting provider to manage the communications lines, speech/IVR servers, and possibly the applications server.

Managed services/facilities management. The IVR/speech servers, applications servers, and communications lines run at the call center's site, with the hosting provider supplying staffing to install, maintain, and tune the applications and hardware. In most cases, this means that the call center actually owns all of the speech assets.

For the complete article, visit www.callcentermagazine.com.

Contact DSC today. to learn more about our IVR services and IVR application development software.