First the Telephone, then the Computer. What’s Next?
Michael A. Lee – Systems Consultant AIT
October 26, 2000
Before computers, the most productive tool used by far has been the telephone. Nowadays, the computer has achieved similar if not equal status. It is no surprise then that innovators around the world would eventually attempt to combine these two technologies.
Such was the topic of discussion at AIT’s “CTI Breakfast Seminar” at New York University, in downtown Manhattan. AIT Global, Inc. , a global association of information technologies professionals, invited professionals from diverse areas, such as the financial, educational, and social service arenas, to join together on the morning of October 26, 2000, to share their knowledge and experiences regarding the implementation of CTI.
CTI stands for Computer Telephony Integration, where computers are used along with the telephone, to add intelligence to the end users use of the telephone. For example, several of the gathered professionals were responsible for maintaining call centers, which route incoming telephone calls to the appropriate group or individual. By implementing CTI, much of this process can be automated thereby increasing the responsiveness and decreasing the amount of errors that are likely to occur in the process.
AIT president, Michael Lackey, opened the conference, stressing the relevance, and timeliness of CTI in corporate workplace. He then introduced several members of NYU’s technical staff, who were gracious enough to host the conference, prepare the discussion materials, and present their implementation.
NYU presented their successful implementation of a CTI project. Their project involved the integration of computers into their telephone system to route internal support calls. This implementation required the combining of their existing telephone and data networks, along with the integrating of several software applications and various database back ends. Their implementation allows callers to be identified immediately upon connection by the telephone. Bringing up pertinent information about the caller and call history on the computer screen of the individual handling the support call.
Their implementation spearheaded a dynamic, informative conference with ample room for questions and answers. Questions not only involved the technical aspects of the solution, but also the management of the project and personnel. Several of the attending professionals shared their experiences and concerns regarding CTI. The conference, being hosted by AIT/NYU, rather than by the specific vendor, was free from any marketing propaganda and instead focused on real world implementations. The presentation often evolved into roundtable discussions where every professional was welcome to add their opinions and views.
The conference was quite informative; I can’t help but think that all of the attendees walked away with ideas for their own CTI projects and a better overall understanding of practical uses for CTI.