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Communications Glossary

What is an Abandoned Call?

silent call is a telephone call that is generated by a predictive dialer (or dialer) that does not have an agent available to handle the call immediately. In this instance, the dialer may terminate the call or receive a silence (“dead air“) or a tone from the telephone company which indicates that the call has been dropped.

In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) uses the term “abandoned call” instead of silent call in its regulations applying to telemarketing. “Abandoned call” in non-FTC contexts may refer to a caller who decides not to await answer before hanging up.



What is an Auto Dialer?

An auto dialerautodialer, or autodialler is an electronic device or software that automatically dials telephone numbers. Once the call has been answered, the autodialer either plays a recorded message or connects the call to a live person.

When an autodialer plays a pre-recorded message, it’s often called “voice broadcasting“, or “robocalling“. Some voice broadcasting messages ask the call recipients to press a button on their phone keypad. For example, in opinion polls, recipients are asked to press one digit if they support one side of an issue, or another digit if they support the other side. This type of call is often called “outbound interactive voice response“.



What is Asynchronous Communication?

In telecommunicationsasynchronous communication is a transmission of data, generally without the use of an external clock signal, in which data can be transmitted intermittently rather than in a steady stream.[1] Any timing required to recover data from the communication symbols is encoded within the symbols. A notable exception is the RS-232 port and some asynchronous derivatives, which still have an external clock signal available, although not commonly used. The most significant aspect of asynchronous communications is that data is not transmitted at regular intervals, thus making possible variable bit rate, and that the transmitter and receiver clock generators do not have to be exactly synchronized all the time.



What is an Automated Attendant?

In telephony, an automated attendant (also auto attendantauto-attendantautoattendant or AA, or virtual receptionist) allows callers to be automatically transferred to an extension without the intervention of an operator/receptionist). Many AAs will also offer a simple menu system (“for sales, press 1, for service, press 2,” etc.). An auto attendant may also allow a caller to reach a live operator by dialing a number, usually “0”. Typically the auto attendant is included in a business’s phone system such as a PBX, but some services allow businesses to use an AA without such a system. Modern AA services (which now overlap with more complicated interactive voice response or IVR systems) can route calls to mobile phonesVoIP virtual phones, other AAs/IVRs, or other locations using traditional land-line phones.



What is Call Duration?

In telecommunications, the term call duration has the following meanings:

  1. In telephone systems, the time between the instant a circuiti.e., off-hook condition at each end, is established (a) between the call originator and the call receiver and (b) the instant the call originator or the call receiver terminates the call.
  2. In data transmission, the duration of the information transfer phase of an information transfer transaction.



What is a Conference Call?

conference call is a telephone call in which the calling party wishes to have more than one called party listen in to the audio portion of the call. The conference calls may be designed to allow the called party to participate during the call, or the call may be set up so that the called party merely listens into the call and cannot speak. It is sometimes called ATC (Audio Tele-Conference).

Conference calls can be designed so that the calling party calls the other participants and adds them to the call; however, participants are usually able to call into the conference call themselves by dialing a telephone number that connects to a “conference bridge” (a specialized type of equipment that links telephone lines).



What is Direct Inward Dialing (DID)?

Direct inward dialing (DID), also called direct dial-in (DDI) in Europe and Oceania, is a telecommunication service offered by telephone companies to subscribers who operate a private branch exchange (PBX) system.[1][2] The feature provides service for multiple telephone numbers over one or more analog or for digital physical circuits to the PBX and signals the dialed telephone number to the PBX for internal routing to a PBX extension.



What is an Emergency Communication System?

An Emergency communication system (ECS) is any system (typically, computer-based) that is organized for the primary purpose of supporting one-way and two-way communication of emergency messages between both individuals and groups of individuals. These systems are commonly designed to integrate the cross-communication of messages between a variety of communication technologies, forming a unified communication system intended to optimize communications during emergencies.



What is Interactive Voice Response (IVR)?

Interactive voice response (IVR) is a technology that allows a computer to interact with humans through the use of voice and DTMF tones input via keypad.

In telecommunications, IVR allows customers to interact with a company’s host system via a telephone keypad or by speech recognition, after which the customers can service their own inquiries by following the IVR dialogue. IVR systems can respond with prerecorded or dynamically generated audio to further direct users on how to proceed. IVR applications can be used to control almost any function where the interface can be broken down into a series of simple interactions. IVR systems deployed in the network are sized to handle large call volumes.



What is Internet Telephony (VoIP)?

Voice over IP (VoIP) is a methodology and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. Other terms commonly associated with VoIP are IP telephonyInternet telephonybroadband telephony, and broadband phone service.

The term Internet telephony specifically refers to the provisioning of communications services (voice, faxSMS, voice-messaging) over the public Internet, rather than via the public switched telephone network (PSTN). The steps and principles involved in originating VoIP telephone calls are similar to traditional digital telephony and involve signaling, channel setup, digitization of the analog voice signals, and encoding. Instead of being transmitted over a circuit-switched network, however, the digital information is packetized, and transmission occurs as IP packets over a packet-switched network. Such transmission entails careful considerations about resource management different from time-division multiplexing (TDM) networks.



What is Multimedia Message Service (MMS)?

Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is a standard way to send messages that include multimedia content to and from mobile phones. It extends the core SMS (Short Message Service) capability that allowed exchange of text messages only up to 160 characters in length.

The most popular use is to send photographs from camera-equipped handsets. It is also used on a commercial basis by media companies as a method of delivering news and entertainment content and by retail brands as a tool for delivering scannable coupon codes, product images, videos and other information. Unlike text only SMS, commercial MMS can deliver a variety of media including up to forty seconds of a video, a single image, a slideshow of multiple images, or an audio plus unlimited characters.



What is a Predictive Dialer?

predictive dialer dials a list of telephone numbers and connects answered dials to people making calls, often referred to as agents. Predictive dialers use statistical algorithms to reduce the time that agents spend waiting between conversations, while minimizing the occurrence of someone answering when no agent is available.[1]

When dialing numbers one at a time, there are two sources of delay. First, only some fraction of dials are answered. So, for example, if 1 out of 3 dials are answered, a predictive dialer might dial 3 lines every time an agent becomes available. Second, even dials that are answered take some time before being picked up. If it typically takes 10 seconds for someone to pick up, and conversations typically last 90 seconds, a predictive dialer might start dialing at 80 seconds.[1]

Dialing one number at a time, solely with agents, typically keeps agents utilized for only 40 minutes per hour (33% idle time). However, predictive dialing can increase utilization to 57 minutes per hour (5% idle time).[1]



What is a Router?

router[a] is a networking device that forwards data packets between computer networks. Routers perform the “traffic directing” functions on the Internet. A data packet is typically forwarded from one router to another through the networks that constitute the internetwork until it reaches its destination node.[1]

A router is connected to two or more data lines from different networks (as opposed to a network switch, which connects data lines from one single network). When a data packet comes in on one of the lines, the router reads the address information in the packet to determine its ultimate destination. Then, using information in its routing table or routing policy, it directs the packet to the next network on its journey. This creates an overlay internetwork.



What is SMPP Messaging?

The Short Message Peer-to-Peer (SMPP) in the telecommunications industry is an open, industry standard –protocol designed to provide a flexible data communication interface for the transfer of short message data between External Short Messaging Entities(ESME), Routing Entities (RE) and Message Centres.[1]

SMPP is often used to allow third parties (e.g. value-added service providers like news organizations) to submit messages, often in bulk, but it may be used for SMS peering as well. SMPP is able to carry short messages including EMSVoice Mail notifications, Cell BroadcastsWAP messages including WAP Push messages (used to deliver MMS notifications), USSD messages and others. Because of its versatility and support for non-GSM SMS protocols, like UMTSIS-95 (CDMA), CDMA2000ANSI-136 (TDMA) and iDEN, the SMPP is the most commonly used protocol for short message exchange outside SS7 networks.



What is SMTP Messaging?

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is an Internet standard for electronic mail (email) transmission. First defined by RFC 821 in 1982, it was last updated in 2008 with the Extended SMTP additions by RFC 5321 – which is the protocol in widespread use today.

SMTP by default uses TCP port 25. The protocol for mail submission is the same, but uses port 587. SMTP connections secured by SSL, known as SMTPS, default to port 465 (nonstandard, but sometimes used for legacy reasons).



What is an SMS Gateway?

An SMS gateway allows a computer to send or receive Short Message Service (SMS) transmissions to or from a telecommunications network. Most messages are eventually routed into the mobile phone networks. Many SMS gateways support media conversion from email and other formats.



What is Text Marketing?

Direct Text Marketing is a form of SMS marketing. This includes using a medium which involves text messaging over a mobile device and can be done from a mobile phone or in bulk using an SMS Aggregator and distributor online. Some businesses provide the entire service including creating the messages and sending them via an aggregator on behalf of a business.