VoIP SPAM as We Know It

VoIP technology has clear advantages over traditional circuit switched telephony. One of the most prominent advantages of Hosted VoIP is its relative affordability as call volume scales up. We call it “price-performance”. Unfortunately ethical and legal business operators are not the only ones to take advantage of this benefit. Accessibility of hosted VoIP resulted in lowering the cost of predictive dialing (technology allowing a PBX system to place many calls automatically).

This spam takes interactive and non-interactive forms. By interactive I mean any unsolicited robotic calls that let you talk to a live agent. Non-interactive spam is typically presented as message broadcasts (be they text, voice or email).

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Anatomy of the PBX phone system

There are a lot of terms we use in the telephony world that most people don’t fully understand, even if they throw them about with abandon. This is not because those people are dumb or ignorant. Rather, it’s simply because the telephony world is filled with jargon and “alphabet soup” terminology that can make really simple systems seem much more complex than they actually are.

PBX vendors and hosted PBX service providers love to invent their own telephony language. But the truth is – the basic concepts of call switching are common regardless of whether your PBX phone system is hosted or resides on your premises and whether it uses analog, digital or latest VoIP technology. Clarifying these terms and removing the ambiguity surrounding their use is often all it takes to help owners and users understand the basics of phone systems operation.

With that in mind, let’s take a minute to clearly define some of the most commonly used terms in the world of telephony technology.

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A Word About YOUR Call Recording Storage

Call recording storage is not something most providers often speak of. It is considered an inner working of their infrastructure and usually is not visible to the public eye. Yet it is important for YOU to know that your hosted system is provisioned to record and keep all the calls you want it to. One of the great benefits of switching your business telephony over to Hosted VoIP lies in just how easy hosted systems make call recording appear. In a hosted environment you don’t need to worry about hooking up dedicated call recording devices or converting physical audio files to bits and bytes after the fact. Hosted PBX systems let you automatically record and save a copy of every single call running through your organization’s communication channels without giving the process a second thought.

Well, that’s not really true. All those recorded calls must be mixed, encoded and then need to go somewhere. If your hosted VoIP service provider’s storage systems aren’t robust enough or you will never get to take advantage of the full benefits offered by persistent call recording. After all, the great benefit of persistent call recording lies within the ability to pull up calls made years ago with little more than the click of your mouse. And you can’t do that if you only have enough storage to hold on to calls made within the last six months.

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Disruptive Nature of Automated Transcription and Call Indexing

In the past I wrote about the enormous complexities facing developers of speech recognition algorithms. These complexities are what keep seemingly promising new technology from reaching us. However, if history taught us anything, it’s that we, humans, are a creative and a relentless bunch and that sooner or later these technical challenges will be succumb to our ingenuity.

Over the last decade we’ve seen a number of incredible advances in the field of VoIP services and phone systems. From integrated video conferencing technologies to precisely calibrated self-learning algorithms for automated outbound calling and inbound reception, many businesses telephony services bear little more than a passing resemblance to their predecessors from the 20th century- and that’s a good thing!

Yet, as impressive as these improvements have been over the last 5-10 years, they are nothing compared to the advances we expect to see in coming years.

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The Bizarre Persistence of Toll Free Numbers

In a perfect world, technology would advance smoothly and predictably. Every year we’d see advancements within the technologies we know and love and  everyone would adopt these new technologies as they became available, and we’d all benefit from operating at the highest possible level our modern technology affords.

Too bad, we don’t live in this perfect world. Communication technology advances at a crawl and then surge forward, organizations fail to keep up even when the benefits are clear, and all of us have to negotiate an uneven technological terrain.

Most of these imperfections are due to economic reasons, but some of them lie within peculiarities of human behavior, lack of information and irrational attachments. To understand what I mean, look no further than one of the most stubborn holdouts of days of telephony technology gone by- the toll free number.

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