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Voice Mail and Computer Telephony Glossary


Computer Telephone Integration, or CTI, is a modern solution for a modern problem: Information Overload. Coordinating faxes, e-mail, voicemail messages, and personal information managers (PIM's) is a formidable task faced by the United States' 70 million "knowledge workers". Enhanced worker productivity and customer service are just two benefits of a good CTI system.

Audiotext (also spelled Audiotex) is a voice processing application that acts as a "voice bulletin board" and broadcasts menus of information to callers who access the information by entering touch-tones.

Automated Attendant
The computerized replacement for a human operator that answers calls, routes them and takes messages. An automated attendant acts like a "super receptionist" who works at computer speed 24 hours a day.

Automatic Number Identification (ANI)
The name used by US exchanges for the system that identifies the calling number. (See Calling Line Identification).

Call Center
Any location within a company where quantities of incoming and/or outgoing calls are handled by people, telephones and computers.

Call Processing
The technology whereby telephone and computer systems work together to handle incoming calls, including receiving the call, transferring it to the proper extension and/or taking a voice message.

Calling Line Identification (CLI)
The name used by exchanges outside of the US for the system that identifies the calling number. (See Automatic Number Identification).

Computer Telephone Integration (CTI)
The technology that connects a computer to a telephone system and lets the computer take control of the commands.

Integrated Messaging
Also known as unified messaging, a system whereby users receive all of their fax, e-mail, voicemail, and eventually video mail messages on their desktop PC screen.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
A voice processing system that interfaces with a database and gives callers specific data based on unique information they have given it, either by entering certain digits on the touch-tone phone or via speech recognition. Banking by phone is an example of an IVR application.

Local Area Network (LAN)
A short distance data communications network used to link computers and peripheral devices (such as printers, CD-ROM drives, modems, etc...) under some form of standard control. A local area network allows anyone on the LAN access to databases and programs running on client servers, as well as the ability to send messages to and work jointly with others on the LAN.

Personal Information Manager (PIM)
Software applications which allow the user to organize personal information. Similar to an appointment book but personalized and programmed into the PC.

A point of access to a telephone system, a computer, or a network.

Audio signals within a voice processing system that are designed to guide the caller through the system, i.e., "If you know your party's extension, you may enter it at any time during this message."

Speech Recognition
The ability of a voice messaging application to understand human speech and transfer it into digital or analog signals.

Telephony Application Programming Interface (TAPI)
A set of guidelines developed by Microsoft and Intel Corporation for connecting individual PC's directly to telephones. TAPI is designed to be used in small business networks.

Telephony Services Application Programming Interface (TSAPI)
A set of guidelines for software developers, produced by AT&T and Novell, Inc., connecting a corporate telephone system with a computer network's server. TSAPI is designed to be used in large business networks.

Universal Mailbox
A single point of access to all messages, including voice, e-mail, and fax communications. By having all messages stored in one location rather than three separate ones, users can better control and manage their communications.

Voice Mail
A message that is left in the caller's own voice and retrieved by the user at the user's convenience from any touch-tone telephone. Voice mail has been found to be more effective then written messages because it keeps calls confidential, simplifies decision making, saves time and money, eliminates inaccurate messages and telephone tag, and allows people to use their time more productively.

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