VoIP Advantages for the Contact Center Peter Sandstrom, Chief Technology Officer, Cyclix - Oct.6, 2009
VoIP is a technology that can bring savings to the modern contact center in a variety of ways. It has always competed well with TDM on a minute by minute price basis. But more interesting, VoIP allows the contact center the ability to do new applications services that simply are not possible to implement in traditional TDM circuit space. This article explores several of those "VoIP advantages", and attempts to show what is possible using VoIP SIP Trunking in a modern contact center.
It’s now the 21st century and IP networks have long since surpassed TDM networks in the amount of raw data that is being transported at any given moment throughout the world. The reasons for this are many, but in the short we find packet technology simply adapts better at transporting varying types of media then TDM technology does. Packet networks are also far easier to maintain. As a result natural selection has packet networks winning the evolutional battle over TDM networks and technologies.
With VoIP, the new possibilities of feature function for voice, and specifically voice to and from the contact-center, are creating new possibilities on a level not seen since the digital TDM T1 circuit was introduced.
This paper will explore several of those VoIP advantages for the contact center.
Specifically, we'll focus on:
- Freeing Inbound traffic from Geography
- Dynamic Traffic Control
- Call Re-direction and Routing
In so doing this paper should enlighten the reader to the possibilities of what could be done in a modern contact center using VoIP technology at its core.
The TDM Contact Center
Today’s TMD based contact center is setup up with circuit connections to one or more long distance providers, and to an incumbent LEC if inbound local DID services are required. These circuits are dedicated to that given TDM carrier. As a result in many cases this means the contact center has to deploy T1 circuits to many different carriers to get the overall needed blend of services; i.e. separate T1 circuits for outbound LD, inbound 800, inbound DID, etc.
Further, these T1 circuits are hard-wired to the TDM carriers switch at the other end. That results in a very static network topology that offers lots of limitations, and some very serious single points of failure.
Fig.1:The TDM Contact Center
Freeing Inbound TF and DID Service From Geography
Exploring these TDM limitations further, lets examine inbound DID traffic on TDM networks to the TDM contact center, and the numbers assigned to those services. In the TDM world any given contact center is limited to using DID numbers in the region it is located. The local central office, and its associated PSTN rate center, determines what that number is.
Such a situation forces a very limiting scenario on the contact-center by their TDM carrier for inbound DID services. Unless expensive point to point leased circuits are employed, there is no flexibility here to make the contact center appear to be in any other geographic rate center market other then what it physically is. That is a major problem, and an inherent design flaw built into today’s incumbent PSTN architecture.
But with VoIP, and SIP Trunking, we fortunately have a much different situation. This "geographical limitation" is completely eliminated. DID calls to a contactcenter connected via VoIP are still transferred through the traditional TDM PSTN rate center. But once the call passes through that rate center, and moves into the IP realm, it is freed from its circuit restrictions.
Once in IP space the call can be terminated anywhere’s the end user wants it to go. There are no limitations. The call can be transported to any signaling endpoint location on that IP network, anywhere in the world, with virtually no routing restrictions or price penalties. As such geographical limitations are removed and the call in the IP domain achieves what Cyclix terms “Global Number Portability (GNP)”.
In the case of Cyclix being the ITSP, once the call is in the IP domain it is routed to Cyclix’s ENUM routing Server™. Cyclix then routes and forwards the call across the Cyclix network, terminating it to wherever the client has defined the SIP endpoint to be. This location is determined by the customer, and not the phone company!
With this concept of “Global Number Portability”™ end point routing change orders now also become trivial. If the customer wants to change to a different geographical location, it requires little or no configuration on their part, and is generally instantaneous.
So back the contact center… by deploying VoIP technology in the contact-center it is now free to establish as many DIDs in as many geographic rate centers as it chooses, yet deploy physically in only one or more locations. It’s entirely up to the contact center designer, not the phone company, where to locate, and how many locations to deploy.
Summarizing, the ability to free telephony from its PSTN rate center, and the inherent geographical ties, is a major technological step for the contact center. This feature alone will be one of the key factors that spur future mass migration away from TDM networks to packet networks for voice telephony in the contact center.
Fig.2:The Global Number VoIP Contact Center