Is it You or Your Answering Machine?

Alan Percy : The SIP Invite
Alan Percy
| Observations by Alan D. Percy on VoIP enabling technology, industry and our personal reach for success.

Is it You or Your Answering Machine?

answeringmachine.jpgAs humans, we can tell the difference right away - usually.  I'm not sure about you, but more than once I've called someone, then started chatting with what turns out to be their voice mail or answering machine.  Feeling fooled, I usually stammer through leaving a message, often forgetting why I called in the first place.

If you think about it, what are the tips that we hear when calling someone that tell us that they answered and said "hello" vs. voice mail?  The words being said?  The length of the greeting?  Recognizing the persons voice?  Of course, all those things tip us off as to whether is was a person or not.

The challenge is, how to teach a computer to tell the difference.  Why?  Many outbound voice applications need to know whether you or your voice mail answered the call.  Flight cancellations, school closings, tornado warnings and many other applications would prefer to communicate directly with you, but would settle for leaving a message. 

Creating these applications has gotten a whole lot easier with the work that Genesys and AudioCodes has been doing this last year on outbound Call Progress Detection (CPD) and Answering Machine Detection (AMD).  As a matter of fact, the company announced that AudioCodes has completed the rigorous test suite that Genesys has developed for reliable AMD.

What this means is that AudioCodes has embed a detection algorithm into their digital media gateways and E-SBCs that with reasonable certainty can determine whether a live person or an answering machine or voice mail has answered a call.  With AMD, automated applications can be programmed to leave a message for the called party, leaving often timely and useful information (example: "flight 123  has been canceled and we have automatically re-booked you on flight...")

One of the interesting tricks with AMD is that once an answering machine is detected, determining when to start the automatic message playback.  This is done through "Beep Detection", signaling the application to start the pre-recorded message.  Beep Detection makes sure that the called party gets to hear the entire message without having to repeat it multiple times.

Reliable CPD and AMD makes notification and outbound applications much more efficient, reducing trunking costs for the contact center and improves the customer experience.

If you'd like to learn more about outbound applications with Genesys and AudioCodes, both companies are exhibiting this week at G-Force in the Seattle Sheraton.  Other resources are available at

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