Computer Telephony Integration is a technology that permits integration or coordination of interactions on a computer and a telephone. It is also known as CTI or Computer-Telephone Integration. With expansion in the contact channels from voice to advanced methods like web, fax, and email, the description of CTI has also been expanded to incorporate the integration of all the above mentioned methods with computers.
A person using a CTI enabled computer will be able to dial a number, answer a call or end a call from his computer itself. It also provides the facility to dial a number from an address book saved on the computer. Many CTI systems also allow users to co-ordinate with teleconferencing systems. CTI is generally sorted into two categories:
- CTI allows user to control the telephone system.
- CTI allows telephone system to show the data through the computer.
Functions of CTI
Using CTI, the below mentioned functions can be implemented:
- Call information display to authenticate the telephone number of the caller
- Identifies a voice for message forwarding or authentication
- Determination of the procedure to process a call by using recorded voice or an already entered input
- Offer IVR (Interactive Voice Response) for callers
- Match the caller’s number with customer data and show it on display for the sake of reference
- Handle video and voice conferences
- Route the fax messages to the correct fax machine
- Pre-dial callers for outbound calling
- Agent state control- for instance, after-call work for a particular duration, it automatically switches over to the ready state
CTI Event Flow
A normal CTI application handles the event flow that is created by the telephony control during the entire process of a call. The sequence of events is as follows- call setup (initiating), call delivery (ringing), call establishment (answering), Clearing a call (hanging up) and ending a call. The other events that can be managed by a CTI during a call are- conference call, call transfer, call forward, hold a call and retrieve from hold.
CTI also has the ability to manage events associated with Automated Call Distribution (ACD) like- agent available, agent not available, agent ready, agent not ready, agent logged in.
Standards for Computer Telephony Integration
The standards for CTI application are:
- TAPI (Telephony Applications Program Interface): This is the Microsoft standard for CTI.
- CSTA (Computer-Supported Telephony Application): This is a European Computer Manufacturers Association standard for CTI and is approved by ITU.
- TSAPI (Telephony Service Application Program Interface): This is a standard by Lucent/Novell/AT&T for CTI.
The Bottom Line
Computer Telephony Integration is thus a robust collection of library routines that allows the application programs on your computer to co-ordinate with the telephone system. This is achieved by merging the ability of your telephone system with the functionality of your operating system.