Avaya upgrades software for interactive voice response

Changes make it simpler to create and adapt IVR

Avaya announced Tuesday at the SpeechTEK2007 conference that it is enabling a voice-recognition front end to customers' self-service applications that are based on Web services.

So if a bank has an automated balance-checking application that customers navigate by selecting touch-tones on a phone keypad, Avaya's Voice Portal software can make the same Web-services infrastructure navigable by voice commands without modifying the back end.

Voice Portal 4.0 software supports call control extensible markup language (CCXML), making it possible for voice-response features to be added to Web services backends that also support this standard language. Before, adding voice recognition required reworking the application itself to communicate via voice XML.

The new version of the software also supports automated outbound call applications. So a medical office could blend its test-records application with Voice Portal and Avaya's Dialog Designer tool to automatically call patients to give them test results.

Similarly, the new capability could be blended with an appointments application, and call patients to have them confirm appointments using speech.

Avaya is also upgrading Interactive Response, its TDM-based speech and self-service software. Interactive Response 3.0 includes features that make it possible for applications designed for Voice Portal to be used through Interactive Response as well. Before, Interactive Response required its own applications.

The 3.0 software includes reports that can help monitor costs savings generated by IVR applications and how well IVR is accepted by customers. It generates reports on how many calls are completed via IVR vs. a live call agent, and details which IVR transactions customers are more likely to complete. This can help set strategies or refine applications to make the more attractive to customers, Avaya says.

Dialog Designer, Avaya's IVR-application development tool, now has support for CCXML as well as SIP signaling and IBM speech technologies, making it simpler to create new applications that rely on these protocols and languages.

All the software upgrades are available now.

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Tim Greene

Network World

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