Aspect Embraces IP, SMB

Call center, other tools set sights on IP telephony shift.

A new call center architecture and two new products from Aspect Communications Corp. look to assist enterprises transitioning to IP telephony.

The San Jose, Calif., company will unveil at this weeks International Call Center Management show in Chicago its Uniphi architecture, designed to help customers transition to IP-based call center technology at their own pace. Aspect also will introduce the first two products developed on the architecture, Uniphi Connect and Aspect Call Center Version 9.0.

Uniphi Connect is a hardware and software product designed to enable businesses to operate a hybrid IP/PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) call center without the need for third-party IP gateway hardware. It includes an IP card that resides in the automatic call distribution platform as well as an agent desktop that allows agents to be located anywhere there is an IP connection, providing centralized management, administration and reporting for all PSTN-and-IP-based agents, officials said.

The software allows calls and routing requests to travel over less expensive IP-based lines, and it works with Aspects IP Network InterQueue to eliminate PSTN toll charges while routing calls across multiple networks.

Call routing features in Aspect Call Center 9.0 have been enhanced so that information received with inbound calls can be inserted into outbound ISDN calls as user-to-user information.

Uniphi Connect and Aspect Call Center 9.0 will be available next quarter.

Separately, Aspect will announce a new product suite for the small-to-midsize business market called Iphinity, for call center deployments of fewer than 200 seats. The first two products in this suite are Iphinity Call Center and Iphinity Workforce Management; they replace the Aspect Office line of products, which could support only up to 80 seats.

Like Uniphi, Iphinity will support mixed PSTN and IP environments and include an upgrade path to the enterprise-class solution. Iphinity Call Center features processing of both inbound and outbound calls; call routing based on customer data; and a GUI for developing call flows and configuring and modifying agent resources and real-time and historical reporting.

Iphinity Workforce Management includes "what-if" forecasting for multiskill and multimedia contacts for up to five years, as well as scheduling based on agent preferences.