Vendor Profile: Startel & Professional Teledata – Delivering on the Promise


Professional Teledata


The goal of Startel/Professional Teledata (PTD) is to be a complete technology solution provider. CEO and president Bill Lane indicates that they are now the largest vendor in the TAS industry, but this is not what makes them different from other vendors. Startel/PTD sees itself as a partner to their customers. They work in concert with customers to build relevant, cost-effective, complete solutions with the goal of bringing technology to bear in increased profitability, efficiency, and enhanced experiences for their customers and their customers’ clients.

It all starts with innovation. The following are a few examples of how Startel/PTD continues to deliver superior technology solutions to its customers.

Technological Innovations

  • One hundred percent soft switch (released in 2009)
  • Cloud-based SMS solution
  • Open source soft switch
  • Utilization of the robust Microsoft SQL Server as the database repository within its contact management center (CMC)
  • Logical scripting software
  • HIPAA-compliant system validated through annual third-party audits
  • Interactive video monitoring software
  • Platform independent billing solution
  • Multi-tenant hosted solution with coast-to-coast high availability
  • Hosted solution housed in a SOC 2 Type II- and SOC 3 HIPAA/PCI-compliant data center

There are, and will be, many more innovations for Startel/PTD. Why does innovation matter? Because innovation makes their customers money, saves money, ensures compliance, or provides the confidence that their customers’ competitors are behind them, not ahead. The size of Startel/PTD’s growing research and development team results in a hastened pace of innovation. Increased innovation benefits their customers by delivering an ever-increasing number of new products, integrations, and technological capabilities that provide customers with an edge over their competitors. Another by-product of their ever-increasing research and development efforts is the technological advances it provides to their customers.

Integrations: Long ago Startel/PTD made a commitment to utilize standard APIs and protocols when building their 100 percent software solution. This makes it not only possible but relatively easy to integrate with customers’ critical third-party software. A major benefit of integrations for Startel/PTD customers is that they are able to more effectively accommodate their clients’ requests and thus provide them with the ability to acquire and retain more clients. Some of the integrations Startel/PTD have performed to date are Law Ruler, Amion, QGenda, Clinical Solutions, Parlance, Nuance, and dvsAnalytics.

The process of requesting integrations is open to all Startel/PTD customers. While Startel/PTD may not choose to perform every integration requested, they do promise to evaluate each opportunity fairly. Integrations that benefit the largest number of customers receive greater priority and are typically free, while integration services that are unique or benefit only a subset have less priority and minor fees.

Partnerships: Why are partnerships important? Because the savings Startel/PTD enjoys due to key third-party software and hardware partnerships enables them to offer their customers more cost-effective solutions than could otherwise be obtained. Just like any large retailer, volume purchases result in increased price concessions. Startel/PTD passes those cost savings on to their customers. Some of their partnerships include Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Avaya, Lenovo, and Dell EMC.

Customer Feedback Mechanisms: A Listening Ear: In order to build a comprehensive technology solution, it’s necessary for Startel/PTD to listen to their customers. In an effort to do so, they have constructed an array of opportunities and platforms to gather as much quality feedback as possible regarding existing product enhancements as well as new product development.

Startel/PTD employs a product manager model similar to that which large corporations enlist to gather customer feedback. Product managers are customer facing with the goal of collecting, assimilating, and providing customer input to development resources within the organization. Product managers gather customer ideas and requirements through on-site visits, focus groups, alpha and beta testing, and a variety of other means. By tracking product enhancements, features, and functionality, they are able to prioritize each item and present them to the product review committee within Startel/PTD that ultimately decides development priorities.

This disciplined approach to product development serves Startel/PTD customers well. It maximizes the development effort by streamlining the process of customer feedback, batching the results, and efficiently communicating development needs to the software engineers who ultimately build the products. Other ways Startel/PTD lends a listening ear to customer issues and ideas include:

  • Regularly scheduled wish list meetings
  • Semiannual product advisory board meetings
  • “Ask Startel/PTD” sessions at annual user group meetings
  • Open “wish list” sessions at annual user group meetings
  • Dedicated customer experience director level positions
  • Customer site visits

Professional Research and Development Team: Startel/PTD claims the largest research and development team in the TAS industry, and the group is ever growing. Startel/PTD only hires about 5 percent of the software engineers they interview. Prior to becoming permanent members of the research and development team, each engineer undergoes prescreening grades, intense interviews, practical application tests, and a ninety-day trial period where they are assigned a small, individualized project to complete. Startel/PTD only hires and retains software engineers who love technology and exhibit potential for becoming architectural software engineers.

The result of this stringent hiring system is that Startel/PTD deploys software engineers who develop products from the ground up without the crutch of expensive third-party code libraries that often contain royalties and thus are more expensive to produce. By utilizing royalty-free software code based on open source wherever possible, Startel/PTD’s products are the most cost-effective on the market.

Software Assurance: Startel/PTD is committed to providing customers a cost-effective and complete technology solution. Eight years ago, they did away with the traditional pricing model and implemented comprehensive low-cost pricing of the Startel solution coupled with software assurance.

At the same time Startel/PTD introduced the concept of “core technology.” Any product deemed to be core technology – whether new or an enhancement of existing products – will cost nothing for customers who subscribe to their single support plan. An example of this is the new Startel auto-dialer launched in spring 2016 at the annual Startel National User Group (SNUG) meeting.

A completely new product, the auto-dialer was deemed a core technology because it did not require a separate infrastructure to support it. Therefore, by implementing simple comprehensive solution pricing and the core technology concept, Startel/PTD has reduced the total cost of ownership for its customers. This helps users keep more of their profits while at the same time providing them with more revenue generating opportunities.

Startel/PTD is successful today because they are technology savvy, listen to their customers, and build relevant and quality products. In addition, they have implemented an efficient and disciplined royalty-free product development process and are able to pass on volume-pricing concessions to their customers.

Startel CorporationTo discover more about what makes Startel/PTD solutions the best in the industry, visit www.startel.com or www.professionalteledata.com or contact your local Startel/PTD sales representative.

Vendor Profile on Szeto Technologies

Vendor Profile on Szeto Technologies

Szeto Technologies is a manufacturer that specializes in developing equipment for telephone switching and voice and data communication. For thirty years, Szeto has provided technical solutions for the teleservices industry to automate and enhance call center service offerings. Its latest product includes the SSS-100 Call Linx, a Linux-based system with an Asterisk telephone switch.

What is Linux? It is an open source, free computer operating system. Open source means it is reliable and secure, maintained by technical users worldwide. Free means it is license-free, which makes the use of this operating system cost-effective.

What is Asterisk? It is a Linux-based telephone switching software, originally built for simple phone systems. Its comes with a voice logger and a license for VoIP SIP (voice over internet protocol session initiation protocol) phone line capabilities.

Szeto products offer turnkey solutions. Users of its equipment include telephone answering services, call centers, radio paging services, airlines, and the US military. Szeto has integrated this software to function seamlessly with its Call Linx TAS system.

Call Linx Platform: Call Linx is comprised of local and remote workstations, connected to the servers via a computer network. Functions and features are always designed with an architecture that emphasizes redundancy, reliability, capability, and flexibility, which are the main criteria for a teleservice system.

As telephony, computer, and Internet technologies evolve, Szeto relentlessly experiments with and develops new features and functions for its products, providing tools to help its customers stay ahead of their competitors. These capabilities help Szeto users streamline operations and diversify revenue streams. Sometimes they are custom integrations to a user’s specific requirements; other times they are separate modules that create new service offerings.

Powered by Linux, Szeto’s SSS-100 Call Linx TAS system is built to be reliable, flexible, and user-friendly. Its call answer screen is window-based and graphical. All functions are easy to navigate. No command keys need to be remembered, and the auto-fill technique keeps typing at a minimum.

Call Linx has many expanded features to reduce the stress in processing calls, not only making the task pleasant and enjoyable, but most importantly minimizing errors and ensuring service reliability. Popular features like Linx Scripting, Linx OnCall, and Linx Appointment are all fully integrated. Coupled with automatic message delivery functionalities, it is a powerful system.

Industry technology has changed in the past thirty years. While answering calls, taking messages, and delivering messages continues to be the basic services offered, the nature of how these services are handled has changed considerably. Computer technology gives rise to service automation. The widely accessible Internet has fueled market expansion.

Call Linx Automation: Call Linx provides many automatic functions to relieve operators from manual executions of routine functions. This is especially valuable during peak rush-hour traffic. Some of these functions improve work quality and reduce operator workload. Some examples are:

  • Automatic forwarded line check with automatic call-forward confirmation
  • Automatic identification of subscribers to operators
  • Automatic telephone line audit to assure phone lines are working properly
  • Automatic follow-up calls and reminders
  • Automatic inhibition of call recording during credit-card entry

Call Linx also provides many automatic functions for the purpose of call processing and message delivery efficiencies. It helps to decrease operator-training time, minimize typing errors, and increase delivery accuracy. Some examples include:

  • Auto-fill for repeat entry in scripted processing
  • Auto-fill entries based on caller profile
  • Auto conditional call branching based on caller answer
  • Automatic selection of message recipient dynamically from on-call lists
  • Automatic Web launch
  • Order entry and nearest dealer locator

HIPAA-Compliant Secured Messaging: Information security and privacy has become a major concern to clients using call centers, especially for the medical professions. Szeto Technologies offers bidirectional secured messages in two fashions: generic label and private label. Generic label is identified on the phone by an app icon designed by Szeto Technologies, whereas private label is identified by a unique app name and an icon supplied by the call center service provider.

Software for both options resides in the customers’ equipment and is owned by the call center. Features include:

  • Bidirectional messaging between the teleservice company and subscribers and among individual subscribers
  • Speed and cell phone battery conservation
  • Reminds subscriber and operator if message delivered is not read after timeout
  • Messages read or deleted by the recipient are logged for traceability
  • Mobile APP can be locked to add security
  • User-defined quantity and duration of messages to be retained in the device
  • Personalized ring tone for certain models of cell phones
  • Allows multiple recipients and multiple personalized contact groups for message broadcast
  • Messages can be delivered later

As a tool to enable call centers to sign up new customers already subscribing to third-party secured messaging service, Szeto Technologies also provides interface software with third-party providers (such as TigerText, OnPage, eVigil, and DocHalo) via specially designed APIs (application program interface).

The Future: The digital communications and Internet world is continuously developing new technologies and protocols. The engineering team at Szeto Technologies is committed to keeping their clients steps ahead in this ever-changing industry.

Szeto firmly believes that every piece of equipment its customers use should be oriented to their unique business needs. All Szeto products are customizable and flexible. They are designed to be simple to use, smart in functionality, and cost-effective.

Learn more about Szeto Technologies at www.szeto.ca.

Vendor Profile: Alston Tascom

Alston Corporation started by building billing and test systems for the telephone companies in the mid-sixties. Then in the late 1970s, AT&T contracted with Alston to build a telephone answering system that they could install in their central offices. The system was built; however, the business portion of the deal fell through, so Alston had a system with no customers. Alston decided to sell the system direct, and Tascom’s first system was installed in 1980. It was a thirty-two-seat redundant system, and for many years Tascom dominated the large system market. Tascom was the system most everyone wanted, the Cadillac of the industry.

Today Tascom’s largest deployment is over one hundred seats, very different from that first system. Here’s a brief story from those early days: Remember when (before TSA checks) you could walk (or run) onto an airplane as they were closing the door . . . and your carry-on just had to fit somewhere on the airplane . . . and before the Internet, when data was transmitted over the telephone lines? Back then, one of our thirty-two-seat Tascom system’s main programming was corrupted. Engineering figured out the issues and dialed (over a telephone line) into the system to upload a new program. The engineers also needed someone on-site to complete the repair. One of their techs volunteered to go the next morning, and as a backup, was given a five-megabit disk drive platter (the size of a large pizza) with all the programs on it. The flight was from Ontario, California, to Seattle, Washington. The tech rented a car, drove to the client’s location, and was on-site before the upload, which was started the previous day, finished. Wow, has Tascom and its technology changed!

Telemessaging systems are at the heart of the Information Age and will remain an intricate part of information distribution for small businesses for many years to come.

Today’s Tascom systems are a marvel, light years from the systems that helped start the Information Age. All Tascom systems are a seamless design of Microsoft™ SQL database and Asterisk softswitch and have the following feature tools in common: HTTP and native SIP connections for all system communication (trunk, operator, and internal), HIPAA compliance, monitoring of operators to train and improve the caller’s experience, and client web to enable customers to manage their own accounts to the degree you allow, such as managing their own on call schedule.

Tascom’s top of the line ADAM (Alston Developed Asterisk Machine) is a full-featured premises-based system. One of the special things about ADAM is that the communication is accomplished through HTTP, which makes configuration easy because the stations communicate to a web server. Wallboard apps are web accessible, making it easy to see what ADAM is doing. ADAM in its purest software configuration has only a LAN connection. Virtually everything is possible because it is all programmable.

Tascom-express, also a premise-based system, is for telemessaging services with a smaller client base that still want to provide top-tier service at prices that are affordable to small businesses. Tascom-Express, offering up to eight seats, has most everything as ADAM, with some space and size limitations.

Tascom’s hosted system installed its first two customers in 2006 and continues to service numerous businesses in multiple states on a truly shared hosted platform. The hosted system is much like a large office building that leases out office space to businesses. In this case the flexible Tascom hosted platform leases system space to telemessaging businesses. The space is measured by the number of operator seats or workstations wanted.

The hosted system has most of the same features as the premise-based ADAM or Tascom-express system, with a few restrictions that Tascom personnel perform for clients due to access security. This is a true hosted platform: Users do not buy a system. This follows the same model as most other hosting industries, whereby the cost of the system is far less than a system purchase. Tascom adds users to the hosted system and is able to spread the cost of software, hardware, facilities, SIP ports, and technical expertise, so that the individual cost is reduced to each user.

Tascom’s new cloud system is also a hosted system located in Tascom’s computer center and designed for larger businesses. Clients on the cloud have decided that they are much better managing their telemessaging business than managing a system, so more of their resources can be dedicated to their business. In the cloud system, each business has its own complete system. This is a proprietary system exclusively for clients with special customer needs. Although they share the facility and technical expertise, they do not share software, hardware, or SIP ports. Businesses on Tascom’s cloud system tend to be larger businesses that require greater access or special requirements not available on the hosted system.

When you are looking for a telemessaging system, look at Tascom.

Vendor Spotlight on OnviSource

OnviSourceFor over ten years, and through progressive year-over-year profitability, stability, and growth in all areas, OnviSource has been providing solutions for contact centers, back offices, and IT organizations through software products, cloud services, and outsourcing solutions. The company continues to offer affordable solutions and contact center applications to optimize, automate, and unify customer interactions, business transactions, operational data, and various processes to improve overall productivity, assure compliances, and develop a positive customer experience.

OnviSource solutions are used by a well-established customer base in a wide range of industries. The company is recognized by industry analysts as a major contender, “hot vendor,” and pioneer in enterprise and contact center workforce optimization.

Company Vision: OnviSource views the market trends to rapidly move toward:

  • Offering contact center applications, teleservices, and enterprise-wide workforce optimization solutions that are more affordable. These solutions are web-based, all software, support mobility, fully merged, and integrated with other enterprise silos such as PBX, ACD, IVR, dialers, and CRM applications. They are available as capital purchase, cloud, or managed services.
  • Solutions delivering feature-rich and integrated capabilities in contact center and teleservice applications, workforce optimization (WFO), workforce management (WFM), and the emerging and in-demand customer experience management (CXM).
  • WFO, WFM, and CXM solutions powered by sophisticated automation provided through advanced technologies in multichannel, omni-channel, and cross-channel capture, unification, analytics, and decision-making engines.
  • Applications, productivity, compliances, and customer experiences are improved through 1) capturing, unifying, and analyzing all customer interactions media from all customer touch points, such as calls, emails, chat, social media, customer surveys, desktop transactions, and structured-unstructured documents; 2) capturing, unifying, and analyzing all customer service key operational data from all systems and entities engaged in delivering the service to customers, such as PBX, ACD, IVR, dialer, traffic routing, and contact center performance data; and 3) followed by sophisticated and cognitively driven decision-making engines using the outputs of the analytics for both customer interactions and operational data – making decisions, launching appropriate actions, and operating as continuous learning systems.

The realization of the above market trends and needs have been the drivers in OnviSource’s vision, strategies, and solutions offerings.

Advanced Multichannel and Enterprise-wide Solutions: To that end, OnviSource offers the multifaceted OnviCenter 7 suite, a broad range of advanced and affordable solutions:

  • Multichannel capture and monitoring of calls, desktop screens, social media, emails, text, chat, and data from systems engaged in providing customer service
  • Multichannel analytics for speech, desktop, text, and data, offering actionable knowledge and launching actions, as well as providing trend analysis and channel-agnostic insights through omni-channel and cross-channel analytics
  • A broad range of multichannel workforce optimization and workforce management (WFO/WFM) applications, including quality assurance (QA), automated and multichannel QA for 100 percent of captured media, PCI compliance, workflow automation, automated coaching, and FCR improvements.
  • Holistic customer experience management (CXM) and voice of customer (VoC) through the analysis of customer interactions at all touch points, as well as the unification and the analysis of the data from systems engaged in providing services.
  • Contact center applications, offered on premise or as cloud services, such as IP-PBX, ACD, IVR, dialers, multichannel agent desktop presentations and management, and analytics-driven service routing.

A key differentiator is the company’s customer service and advantage program, a free professional service in which OnviSource basically does all of the work to analyze specific needs and root causes, select a tailored solution, justify it, and implement it to properly work in each environment. OnviSource will even provide free pilot programs if necessary.

Next Generation Solutions for the Teleservices Industry: Announced last year, OnviCom offers a cost effective, end-to-end, and software only suite of integrated solutions in telephony platform and soft switch, customer interaction applications, teleservices, and answering services. OnviCom provides a unified solution ranging from network interfaces and IP-PBX to web-based teleservice and CRM applications. It also includes embedded workforce optimization, automation, and management solutions such as call recording, quality assurance, and multichannel analytics.

OnviCom’s end-to-end suite of products includes front-end capabilities, web-based applications, and back-end solutions.

Front-End Capabilities (OnviTel): OnviSource’s new OnviTel 2.0 is a next-gen, all software, PBX and call management solution and a cost-effective alternative to traditional systems. It is flexible, providing state-of-the-art PBX functions as premise-based equipment or as a cloud service. It is an ideal solution for controlling telecom costs for all users, both remote and local. It features:

  • VoIP-based and multichannel voice-data network interfaces
  • Fully-featured IP-PBX, auto-attendant, and IVR
  • Tiered voicemail for internal office use or use by enterprise clients
  • Intelligent call distribution and application-based call management

Web-Based Applications (TeleServ)

  • Web-based, easy to install-and-use applications in teleservices, answering service, emergency-dispatch, HIPAA-compliant secure messaging, and multimedia messaging
  • A framework in developing a variety of CIM (customer interaction management) and CRM applications

Back-End Solutions: OnviCom products can be acquired selectively and in discrete modules, or as a complete end-to-end environment. Seamlessly integrate, enhance, and transition OnviSource’s existing products to the new generation of capabilities, including:

  • Fully integrated workforce optimization, automation, and management, such as call recording, QA, multichannel analytics for calls, desktop, and social media, workforce scheduling, automated report generation, and distribution
  • Advanced operation continuity, replication, backup and recovery, archiving, and purging
  • A “cloud-ready” platform, providing capabilities such as IP-based technologies, security measures, web services, VMWare, and multi-tenant applications

Customer Lifecycle Assistance Service: OnviCare customer lifecycle assistance services are a key vendor differentiator and include the advantage program. The advantage program is a special service program assisting new and existing customers faced with complicated business issues. The advantage program is beneficial in helping customers with the challenges of selecting the right solutions, implementations, and ROI recognition of products and solutions to fit their specific needs. This includes complex solutions such as multichannel analytics and data mining through the provisioning of application analysis, ROI analysis, project planning, customization, pilot programs, and business continuity-assurance measures.

OnviSource has a strong focus on customer satisfaction and customer loyalty through a dedicated customer-centric focus consisting of fully empowered executives of the company. OnviSource’s customer support has enabled it to maintain high customer satisfaction resulting in an over 95 percent customer retention rate.

OnviSource Equipment Owners (OEO) Association: OnviSource continues to support, and is heavily involved in, its partnership with the OnviSource Equipment Owners (OEO) Association user group. This relationship continues to strengthen the company’s ability to better serve its customers with their specific technology needs, as well as sponsoring training webinars and an annual association event.

[From Connection MagazineJuly/August 2016]

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Vendor Spotlight on Amtelco

AmtelcoFor forty years Amtelco has been a trusted name in systems and software for answering services, call centers, contact centers, healthcare organizations, educational institutions, executive suites, and third-party developers. Amtelco focuses on providing call center solutions that meet or exceed customer expectations backed by top-notch service and support.

Amtelco’s Intelligent Series (IS) provides the foundation for on-site and cloud-based call centers with scripted call-flow navigation and messaging; dynamic directory services with advanced automated dispatching; on-call, event, appointment, and workforce scheduling; systems integration with open APIs; and full-featured, event-driven monitoring and reporting.

The Intelligent Series builds on the advanced skills-based routing, voice processing, and call recording available with Amtelco’s award-winning Infinity platform, one of the most reliable call center systems on the market. The Infinity platform serves as the blueprint for Amtelco’s next-generation Genesis soft switch, which provides software-based call switching, voice processing, and call recording and eliminates the need for specialized hardware.

Founder Bill Curtin II and Amtelco have received more than thirty U.S. patents for telephony software, data-handling methodologies, and telephone-switching devices. Millions of telephone calls are processed every day by Amtelco systems and software in operation in all fifty of the United States and more than twenty foreign countries.

What’s New? Soft switching is an industry development that has been gaining momentum over the past few years. Amtelco has been an industry leader in switching with the work of its XDS division. Amtelco and its customers have been fortunate that the Infinity switching platform has been so reliable and has continued to advance with updates such as integral call recording with Unity logger, integral SIP trunking, and operator audio with the Amtelco XDS VoIP board.

Soft switching shifts the control and processing functions of the telephony away from telephony boards, such as the Amtelco XDS VoIP Board, to the computer CPU with software controlling the CPU. Soft switching still requires a computer to run the switching functions, but it offers advantages such as the ability to be virtualized since there are no specialized telephony boards installed in the computer.

Amtelco added soft switching to the Infinity IS with a module called Genesis. Genesis was first released in 2013 as part of the IS 4.1 release that is now running at nearly two hundred call centers. Genesis is tightly coupled with the advanced Intelligent Series applications and is administered within the IS supervisor application. This provides the ability to add Genesis soft switching to an existing Infinity IS installation to provide advanced call behaviors such as Smart-Paging, SmartCheckin, and MergeComm automated dispatching.

Anyone interested in soft switching and call center virtualization is encouraged to contact Amtelco for a demonstration. This is an exciting opportunity to enhance the services call centers provide and move into the future with advanced soft switching capabilities.

Emergency ACD for Backup: It’s important for every business to have a protection plan in place in the event of emergencies. The Genesis emergency ACD is an operational mode that takes effect if a Genesis client application, such as the Intelligent Series, is disconnected from Genesis. The emergency ACD ensures that calls are not dropped if the client application is lost.

In the event of business interruption due to telephone outages, lost power, or natural disasters, Amtelco now provides call centers with four tiers of hosted business continuity security and service to keep them up and running so they can provide continuous service to their clients. The platinum, gold, silver, and bronze levels each include faxing, email, and paging.

Spectrum Prism II: Prism II provides a powerful and flexible soft-switching solution for the Spectrum system, which has a record of service to the telephone answering service industry. Spectrum Prism II® is a modular replacement for the Spectrum Prism platform. The new Prism II is an entirely software-based switch built around Amtelco’s Genesis soft switching.

Prism II provides the option for a fully integrated voice logger as well as support for integrated voicemail. Enhancements to the scheduling Prism II provide a much more flexible approach to managing the scheduling of prescreening announcements. Prism II has no need for telephony boards, which gives it the ability to increase its call handling capacity without adding hardware. The absence of telephony boards also means lower maintenance costs and improved backup and recovery options.

Spectrum Prism II has benefits for call centers including:

  • Increase in call-handling capacity without adding hardware
  • Improved backup and recovery options
  • Superior audio quality and faster call setup
  • Routing flexibility to any outgoing signaling format or device
  • Powerful call-routing features by station, client group, and skill level
  • Real-time monitoring and activity logs

What Is miSecureMessages? Every business needs to maintain privacy for their clients’ and consumers’ personal data. For healthcare organizations, securing patient information is required by HIPAA and HITECH regulations. By encrypting information, miSecureMessages (MSM) helps ensure that data remains confidential.

Amtelco works with call center partners to help them market MSM to their clients. Amtelco provides a package of marketing materials for MSM-certified partners. MSM-certified partners also are featured on the MSM website, miSecureMessages.com. The miSecureMessages-certified partner program includes more than 150 partners.

New Website Designed to Provide Solutions: Amtelco’s call center division has a new website designed to make it easy to find specific solutions for every call center of every size and market focus. Visit callcenter.amtelco.com.

[From Connection MagazineMay/June 2016]

Vendor Profile: Professional Teledata

Professional TeledataOn September 2, 2015, Professional Teledata and Startel Corporation announced that the two companies had merged. While news of the merger may have come as a surprise to the telephone answering service industry, it was a natural fit for two of the industry’s leading providers.

From the Beginning: Allen Kalik, Pat Kalik, Jim Graham, and Dale Schafer started Professional Inbound in the early 1990s. The first PI-2000 Order Entry system was delivered soon after at the 1993 ATSI Convention in Chicago, where it made an instant impact on the industry. Within a few years, there were more than a hundred PI-2000 systems across North America, and Professional Inbound had over four hundred employees.

At this same time Alan Hartmann was developing the B/CS billing program – predecessor to today’s Total Billing System (TBS) – with his team at Tele-Data Systems. In addition to the billing system, Tele-Data Systems also created waves in the industry in the early 1990s with the introduction of the Fax Message Delivery System (FMDS). In the years that followed, more than four hundred billing systems and six hundred FMDS systems were installed across four continents.

In 1997 Professional Inbound and Tele-Data Systems merged to create Professional Teledata. Since the merger, and with the success of their existing and new solutions (including the PInnacle TAS platform, PI-2000 Order Entry system, FMDS, TBS, and the PInnacle Freedom hosted platform), Professional Teledata has evolved into an industry leader. Since then they have successfully attracted high-quality, committed professionals and invested in their training, development, and growth. As a result the company has experienced steady growth over the past several decades.

For its part Startel has been providing telephone answering services, contact centers, government agencies, healthcare systems, insurance, and utility companies with contact center solutions and services since 1980. Their customers depend on Startel’s services and solutions, including the Contact Management Center and the Startel soft switch, to increase business efficiencies, identify performance opportunities, and deliver quick and secure communications 24/7. Today Startel has customers in forty-three states in the United States as well as in Canada, New Zealand, and Switzerland.

In 1985 Tele-Data Systems and Startel began serving many of the same telephone answering service customers when users of the Startel platform began utilizing Tele-Data System’s B/CS billing solution. Thirty years later Professional Teledata and Startel have officially combined to create a larger, stronger, more diversified company with a broader array of products and services.

How You Benefit: Professional Teledata and Startel believe this merger is a win-win for both organizations, as well as for their combined customer base and the entire industry. While this sounds great, you’re probably asking, “How does this merger benefit me? Why do I care?” Here are some reasons why:

1) Expanded and More Comprehensive Solution Offerings: The synergy of joining forces expands the combined company’s product offerings. It also allows them to go after broader markets and better challenge their competitors, forcing everyone to step up their game. While Professional Teledata and Startel intend to continue to support each company’s respective products, services, and software, users of each company’s premise-based and hosted platforms will soon be able to benefit from:

  • Commercial Grade SMS: Professional Teledata is taking advantage of Startel’s commercial grade SMS solution to offer its users a new SMS solution developed specifically for high-volume, high-availability usage. Throughput and availability are achieved by maintaining direct connections to major wireless carriers, not subject to rate limits, monthly usage thresholds, or cell towers. Instead users can easily and reliably exchange messages each month without worrying about service interruptions or rate limiting. This allows you to focus on growing your business, not managing your SMS provider. Other benefits of Professional Teledata’s new SMS solution are complete mobility, ease of use and implementation, and lower total cost of ownership for comparable services.
  • Coast-to-Coast Disaster Recovery: Each company’s hosted platforms are being replicated to provide users with coast-to-coast disaster recovery. By replicating their hosted systems, the companies will be able to ensure greater resiliency and reliability.
  • Tighter Integrations: With the combined development resources of both companies, Startel users now can expect to see a tighter integration with the TBS billing system. In turn, Professional Teledata users will soon benefit from integration with Startel’s Soft Fax solution and will be able to use virtualized fax servers.

2) Best-in-Class Service: Delivering the best service experience in the business is the objective of the new merger. Professional Teledata and Startel are fully committed to taking customer service to the next level and have already made strides with some recent changes:

  • In October Professional Teledata promoted Mike Antognetti, a tech support specialist, to technical support manager. This well-earned promotion will result in even better service for Professional Teledata customers as Mike implements his vision across the entire spectrum of Professional Teledata product lines.
  • Cross training of each company’s respective products kicked off for employees in November.
  • Starting in 2016 new customers that migrate from competing platforms to Professional Teledata’s PInnacle and Startel’s Contact Management Center systems will benefit from free data conversion services from both companies.

The combined company looks forward to expanding its customer service availability. With offices located in Irvine, California, and Manchester, New Hampshire, customers can look forward to greater service availability.

3) Tenured Management Team: Combining companies adds a breadth of knowledge and experience to the senior management team. The new team, which collectively has over 117 years of industry experience, is made up of Pat Kalik (director of customer relations and director of New Hampshire HR), Alan Hartmann (director of software development), James Graham (director of special operations), William Lane (president and CEO), Georgia Thompson (controller), Margaret Lally (senior director of operations and technical services), and Rachel Sauerbrey (director of marketing). Lane oversees the senior management team as well as the combined company as president and CEO.

What’s Next? Professional Teledata and Startel are working hard to combine the innovation, development, and operational excellence of both companies for the betterment of its users as well as the marketplace. Together the companies look forward to providing new products and services in the future.

[From Connection Magazine – January/February 2016]

Szeto Technologies: Proud to Be Part of the Industry Evolution

Szeto TechnologiesThe technology behind call centers has evolved in leaps and bounds in the past twenty to thirty years. While answering calls, taking messages, and delivering messages continues to be the basic services offered by the teleservices industry, the nature of how these services are handled has changed considerably. Computer technology has given rise to service automation. The widely accessible Internet has fueled market expansion.

Szeto Technologies Inc. has continued to ride the waves of this technology evolution. They have been an industry technology vendor for close to thirty years. Their product includes the SSS-100 TAS system that automates answering service offerings. As telephony, computer, and Internet technologies evolve, Szeto continues to experiment and develop new system features and functions. These options help Szeto users streamline their operations and diversify their revenue streams. Sometimes customization is required to fit a user’s specific requirements. Other times these innovations are separate modules that create new service offerings. One of these new services is the Employee Safety Monitoring Module.

Employee Safety Monitoring: Employee safety is a concern for most employers. All employers are expected to take reasonable precaution to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees. Such precautions may come in the form of making sure the entrance to the office is not slippery to avoid injuries. Another area is in the form of providing ergonomic chairs to ease back strain.

In some industries, however, the safety of an employee cannot be ensured only by precaution. This is especially so when the employee works alone, works in a remote area, works with dangerous equipment, or works in a hostile environment. Their safety and well-being can often be a matter of life and death. To decrease such risks, it is necessary to have a means to monitor their well-being. And communication technologies have been available to do this.

What Does the Szeto Employee Safety Monitoring Module Offer? Interactive employee safety monitoring is not a new concept. Some operations have been doing this for years by documenting check-in and check-out calls. With the Szeto Employee Safety Monitoring module, this proactive part is automated, rendering the process more efficient and cost-effective. Furthermore, automation is totally integrated with human intervention. In the event that an employee is found in danger or requiring emergency assistance, the Szeto system will trigger a rescue procedure or an escalation to alert the appropriate personnel.

Alerts can be communicated via multiple devices, such as pagers, text, emails, phones, smartphones (iPhone, Blackberry, and Android), and other satellite devices. Records of all activities are Web-accessible. Employers could even determine hours of work at a specific location by referring to the check-in and check-out time at that location. This module could function as Szeto stand-alone equipment or as part of the SSS-100 TAS system. Optionally, it can also be tailored to integrate with another brand of data equipment.

Which Industries Can Benefit?

  • Hydro and telephone unsupervised workers in remote locations or in dangerous environments
  • Twenty-four/seven store workers working alone, especially at night
  • Oil and gas field workers in dangerous environments
  • Healthcare workers such as homecare nurses or social workers
  • Maintenance workers working with dangerous or hazardous materials
  • Security guards

Monitoring Using Mobile App: Nowadays, most workers carry smartphones. The Szeto Employee Safety Monitoring Module has been expanded to include mobile app communications. The monitoring mobile app is secured with passcode protection and equipped with one-touch escalation for instant emergency or help requests. It can automatically identify the GPS location of the employee by latitude and longitude or graphically. It can also automatically determine that the employee is in a “man down” situation and start the escalation process.

The Employee Safety Monitoring Module is just one of the specialized applications that Szeto Technologies offers. Another example is their Secured Messaging mobile app that allows users to send and receive secured text messages between call center agents and medical professionals. The app can be registered under a private label with your call center’s own company logo. The engineering team at Szeto is always on the leading edge of technology; they are currently working on new apps to accommodate the industry. Whether your business requires a call center system or a customized solution, the team at Szeto Technologies can deliver a reliable system to meet your needs.

You can contact Szeto Technologies at info@szeto.ca, or call at 877-697-9368 for additional information.

[From Connection Magazine – November/December 2015]

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Vendor Profile: Alston Tascom

Alston TascomAlston Tascom has been providing call center systems and service since 1994. However, Tascom systems have been serving the teleservices industry since 1980. They now provide a softswitch, a hosted system, and a cloud-based solution to the call center industry.

Softswitch: At the core of the new Alston Tascom system is ADAM. ADAM is an acronym for Alston Developed Asterisk Machine, a softswitch designed for the teleservices industry. It was first released in 2013. ADAM is an extremely well-designed softswitch with more than three years of intense development behind it. The ADAM switch has replaced most of the older Fluency digital switches used by Alston Tascom customers. The ADAM softswitch is at the core of both Alston Tascom’s hosted and cloud-based systems. By the end of September 2015, Alston Tascom projects that their combined hosted systems will process more than two million calls per month.

ADAM is a full-featured premises system, with locations in excess of one hundred seats. One of the special things about ADAM is that the communication is accomplished through HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) or HTTPS (hypertext transfer protocol secure), which makes configuration easy because the stations communicate to a Web server. The wallboard apps are Web-accessible, and it is easy to create various Web apps for a visual picture of what ADAM is doing at any moment in a call center.

Hosted System: Alston Tascom’s hosted system was installed in 2006 with its first two customers and continues to service numerous businesses in multiple states on a true shared-hosted platform. The hosted system is very much like a large office building that leases out office space. In this case, the flexible Tascom-hosted platform leases system space to call center businesses. The space is measured by the number of seats or workstations wanted. The hosted platform has most of the same features as does the premises-based ADAM system, with a few restrictions that Tascom personnel perform for clients due to access issues. This is a true hosted platform; users do not buy a system. Alston Tascom follows the same model as most other hosting sites, so the cost of the system is far less than purchasing a premise-based system. They add customers to their robust hosted system, with the cost shared by all the users of the system. In that way, Alston Tascom is able to spread the cost of software, hardware, facilities, SIP ports, and technical expertise in such a way that the individual site cost is reduced.

Cloud-Based Solution: Tascom’s new cloud system is also a hosted system; it’s located in their second data-center and designed for the larger businesses that want to manage their business instead of managing a system. Clients on the cloud platform have decided they are much better at managing their call center business than managing a system, so more of their resources can be dedicated to their business. With the cloud system, each business owns its own complete system. Although they share the facility and Alston Tascom’s technical expertise, they do not share software, hardware, or SIP ports. Businesses on the cloud system tend to be larger operations that require greater access to their system.

With these new offerings, Alston Tascom continues to be a leader in hosting telephone answering service systems.

[From Connection Magazine Sep/Oct 2015]

Vendor Profile: OnviSource

OnvisourceFounded in 2004, OnviSource enables companies to cost-effectively optimize, automate, and unify their customer interactions, business transactions, and processes for their contact centers, back offices, and IT organizations through software products, cloud services, or outsourcing solutions. With a customer base in a wide range of industries, independent analyst Ventana Research has recognized the company as a major contender in enterprise and contact center workforce optimization. Since its inception, OnviSource has experienced consistent growth and profitability, regularly launching innovative solutions.

The company offers the OnviCenter 7™ suite of advanced and highly affordable solutions, including:

  • Telephone answering services, teleservices, emergency and medical services, help desk services, and customer service solutions
  • Call recording, screen capture, and quality assurance
  • Automated, analytics-driven and socially enabled quality and liability management for 100 percent of customer interactions
  • Multi-channel analytics, including speech analytics, desktop, text, and process analytics, as well as social media analytics
  • Voice of Customer (VoC) and customer sentiment
  • Workflow and process automation
  • Workforce management
  • HIPAA/HITECH-compliant secure messaging and content delivery
  • Unification of all customer transaction journey and operational data across multiple organizations, platforms, and sites
  • Integrated social media engagement and management
  • Operation continuity and automated IT

Supporting the Teleservices Industry: OnviSource has an expanded suite of unified and enterprise-wide solutions. It recently announced OnviCom™, integrating an end-to-end IP-PBX, teleservices, and CRM applications with workforce optimization. OnviCom enables multi-channel connectivity, interactions, and transactions via traditional methods such as telephone, email, and text, as well as through social media channels.

The specific strategy for the answering service vertical market is centered on the Web-based, universal OnviCom platform. OnviCom is the next generation of teleservices offerings that has evolved into an all-software, all-inclusive set of solutions. It can support all functions of a telephone answering contact center, including a variety of network interfaces, PBX capabilities, answering service applications, secure messaging, database management, reports, client portals, billing, call recording, screen capture, quality assurance, operator scheduling, and operation continuity.

As with all OnviSource solutions, OnviCom is delivered as software products, cloud services, or outsourcing solutions, all supported through the OnviCare™ customer lifecycle assistance program. OnviCom is anchored by the current release of the OnviCenter 7 product suite.

Collaborative Management: OnviCenter 7 offers OnviLink, a collaborative management solution that allows contact center managers to manage their local or remote agents through real-time collaboration, chat, bulletins, messaging, and document exchange to be virtually present with each agent and significantly improving their performance. OnviLink also provides a unified user interface, single point of security, process automation, and OmniVision management of the entire enterprise.

Multichannel Analytics: OnviSource’s multi-channel analytics solutions provide big-data management and transformation into actionable knowledge from all interaction channels of calls, desktop, emails, chat, messaging, and social media. Through multi-channel analytics, users can automate quality assurance, compliance management, coaching, workflows, and next best actions. Capabilities in predictive and prescriptive analytics offer insightful and enterprise information, followed by the user-defined automated launch of actions.

Secure Messaging: OnviGuard™ is a secure two-way messaging and content delivery solution, maintaining private communication and full privacy of messages with end-to-end message encryption, verification, and data integrity through SSL. It also provides a Web-based secure messaging server accessed by clients only through encrypted passwords and other security measures. It is fully compliant with HIPAA and HITECH regulations, securing and protecting sensitive information for healthcare personnel and their patients.

Client Self-Service: OnviClient™ is a Web-based application that enables telephone answering providers to offer convenient self-service access for customers to easily manage their own account information, calls, and messages. Clients can even update their account information and maintain their own on-call schedules. Billing for self-service functions builds incremental revenue while providing clients with easy, convenient access to their account activities 24/7.

Implementing OnviClient™ saves time and resources as end clients now have the capability of using the Internet to manage their own accounts, retrieve messages, and monitor call recordings on demand, giving the call center a competitive sales advantage.

Operation Continuity: OnviSource’s operation continuity and compliance solutions reduce operation management expenses and IT workload while maintaining operational continuity through a series of automated operation management tools. Several new features include enhanced backup and purging functions to support HIPAA regulations that mandate file archiving for up to ten years.

Customer Lifecycle Assistance Service: A key vendor differentiator is the OnviCare customer lifecycle assistance service, including the advantage program. The advantage program is a special service program assisting new and existing customers faced with complex business issues. The advantage program guides and assists clients with a complete knowledge exchange that helps customers learn and understand the software and easily manage and administer solutions.

In addition, OnviSource helps customers with the challenges of understanding and selecting the right solutions, implementations, deployments, and ROI recognition of their products and solutions. This includes speech analytics and data mining through provisioning of application analysis, ROI analysis, free trials, project planning, customization, pilot programs, and business continuity-assurance measures. The advantage program offers true partnership services, with the objective of making sure that OnviSource’s products successfully and cost-effectively work for their clients.

OnviSource has a strong focus on customer satisfaction and customer loyalty through dedicated customer-centric programs managed by a customer relation management (CRM) team consisting of fully empowered executives of the company. OnviSource’s best-of-class customer support has enabled it to maintain high customer satisfaction, resulting in a 95 percent customer retention rate.

Strategic Partnerships: OnviSource continues to develop strategic partnerships that enable it to offer relevant products for today’s evolving enterprise and call center environments. One new solution is a comprehensive and analytics-driven social media management solution, offered as an all-inclusive managed service designed to make the customers’ socially enabled enterprises work for them in customer service, sales, marketing, and branding.

The company also maintains a re-seller program for those companies that desire to be more successful and profitable by adding and re-selling OnviSource solutions to their product portfolio.

Additionally, OnviSource is actively involved in its partnership with the OnviSource Equipment Owners (OEO) association users group. This alliance continues to strengthen the company’s ability to better serve its TAS customers with their specific needs.

Testimonials

Partners for More Than Twenty-Five Years! “For me, it’s all about the people. The time OnviSource team members take to care and share their knowledge – that’s what makes the difference. I am supported across the board from the executives to my account manager, technical support, and the responsiveness of the OnviSource Equipment Owners Association. In addition consistent improvement in features and product reliability over time has contributed significantly to my longevity in the TAS market,” says Nancy Kotich, executive director, Physicians Answering.

Evolution in the Technology: “OnviSource products have continued to evolve to meet the demands of the market, and we need that. They have introduced us to technology that enables us to run a leaner operation without sacrificing our quality of service. We realize cost savings as a result of improved efficiency and productivity at multiple levels,” adds Steve Kenny, owner, Best Answer.

[From Connection Magazine Jul/Aug 2015]

Sponsor Spotlight: Amtelco

Amtelco’s mission is to provide the best communication product solutions, backed by the best support. Listening closely to the needs of their customers provides the inspiration for Amtelco’s solutions.

Amtelco’s success can be attributed to a number of things. For more than twenty-five years, Amtelco has been “on call,” developing reliable systems and applications and fully committed to exceptional customer support. This dedication is evident in the average length of service by the Amtelco employees. Thirty-seven percent of the more than one hundred employees have more than fifteen years of experience, and 17 percent have more than twenty years of experience at Amtelco. In nine of Amtelco’s eleven departments, the average length of service is eleven or more years, and three departments have an average length of service of almost twenty years.

Intelligent Series Version 4.2: The concept behind Intelligent Series (IS) is providing features to meet every scenario their customers encounter. This gives customers the power and flexibility necessary to meet all their clients’ needs and maximize their profits. Here are some highlights:

Automated Dispatching: IS MergeComm adds automated dispatching scenarios to Amtelco’s Intelligent Series platform. MergeComm dispatch scenarios can run automatically based a number of situations. These include an inbound trigger, such as an email, scheduled to run on a recurring basis or initiated by a call center agent, a Web user running a Web script, or a third party application.

IS Scripts can have a MergeComm branch that includes all of the functions to perform on an automated basis upon receipt of the inbound trigger. Scripts that require agent interaction can be set to create a dispatch job to present to an agent.

HTML Formatted Messages: Messages created using Amtelco’s Intelligent Series scripting can be specially formatted for delivery via email and fax using an embedded HTML editor within the IS script editor. HTML formatting provides a more professional email and fax for clients.

IS System Scripts: The IS system scripts reduce the need for repetitive script editing for clients that share the same requirements.

IS Scheduled Email and Fax: Schedule a fax or email to send multiple messages based on filter settings specified in the scheduled job. This allows sending a summary fax or email for all messages taken over a previous time period, such as sending all messages taken the previous day.

IS Mobile: IS mobile extends the functionality of Amtelco’s IS Web to Apple users. IS mobile is an iOS app that is compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, and iTouch devices.

MiSecureMessages Version 6.4: New features have been added in response to user feedback, including:

Add Attachments: Users can include attachments including audio, photos, video, and PDF files when sending messages to each other.

Enhanced Contact Information: Users can update and enhance their contact information, including contact image, contact phone number, and the ability to call from miSecureMessages.

Color Scheme Selection: Users can enhance their miSecureMessages interface by selecting a color scheme for their app and setting a different color per account.

Message Notifications: Background notifications can alert a user when a message they sent was delivered or read.

Enhanced Event Notifications: The system can send emails for the following events: device registered, user lockout, database size warning, and archive size warning.

MiSecureMessages Certified Partner Program: This program now includes more than a hundred partners.

Amtelco works with call center partners to help market miSecureMessages (MSM) to their clients. For MSM-certified partners, Amtelco provides marketing materials, including a new movie, a marketing call script, a case study full of marketing tips, brochure text ideas, and an email template.

MSM-certified partners also are featured on the new MSM website at miSecureMessages.com.

Five-Star Service: Amtelco’s five-star service includes the online TechHelper and resource library. By building one of the largest research and development departments and field engineering departments in the industry, Amtelco provides customers with greater expertise and guidance on planning and building the latest technology into their call centers.

Spectrum Dialer: Amtelco and Telescan jointly developed Amtelco’s Spectrum Dialer, a platform-independent product incorporating softswitch technology. Spectrum Dialer is a fully featured SIP-based dialer that performs automated services such as appointment reminder calls and mass notifications. It is specifically designed for contact centers wishing to serve multiple clients on a shared platform.

For more information, go to callcenter.amtelco.com or email info@amtelco.com.

[From Connection Magazine – May/June 2015]