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Computer Telephony Terms Defined

Automatic Call Distributor (ACD): ACDs are automated systems that answer calls and attempt to route those calls as quickly as possible to the right person or agent. Often they will answer calls with "Your call will be handled in the order it was received." Sometimes ACDs will prompt you to press a few touch-tone digits so that they can route your call more quickly.

Computer Telephony (CT): This term refers to technology that applies computer intelligence to making, receiving, and managing telephone calls. CT technology encompasses products such as voice and fax messaging, auto attendants, fax-on-demand, fax servers, and interactive voice response (such as automated order-entry systems). Core technologies include voice recognition, text-to-speech, and more recently, the Internet. In other words, CT systems automatically handle and process phone calls. These systems often let callers control various aspects of the call using either a touch-tone phone or spoken commands.

Computer Telephone Integration (CTI): This term refers to connecting computers (usually LAN-based) to a telephone PBX or switch. With the proper supporting software and hardware, these workstations can then have a screen pop that displays the contact database record of the calling party even before the person at the workstation answers the phone. CTI improves the efficiency of call handling, especially in multi-agent call centers.

Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN): PSTN is the worldwide voice telephone network­fancy name, easy concept.

Definitions adapted from Newton's Telecom Dictionary from Flatiron Publishing.

The Computer Telephony Conference and Expo '97

Newton's Telecom Dictionary, Eleventh Edition
Author: Harry Newton
Publisher: Flatiron Publishing * 800-542-7279
New York, July 1996
Code P08003
Price: $27.95, 1288 pages
Want to get a firsthand view of the latest Computer Telephony products? If so, you'll want to attend the biggest annual showcase of CT technology. The Computer Telephony Conference and Expo '97 will be at the Los Angeles Convention Center on March 4, 5, and 6. More than 400 companies are expected to exhibit, and six seminar tracks will cover everything from tutorials to employee productivity to Internet/intranet applications of computer telephony technology. The Killer App Theaters run continuous big screen product demonstrations throughout the show.
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