CPI Tightens Call Management

Upgrades to Conference Plus Inc.'s teleconferencing infrastructure will allow enterprises to customize calls.

Upgrades to Conference Plus Inc.s teleconferencing infrastructure will allow enterprises to customize calls for enhanced security and efficiency.

CPI last week unveiled an audio bridge from Spectel Inc., a developer based in Dublin, Ireland, with North American headquarters in Andover, Mass. The bridge allows greater control and management of operator-attended and auto-attended conferences. For high-end conferencing, users can set up password- protected preregistration systems, polling, and Q-and-A sessions. "Some of the older technology had been around anywhere from four to eight years," said Tim Reedy, president and CEO of CPI, in Schaumburg, Ill. "We can use Spectels APIs to make sure audio conferences and Web conferences work together seamlessly." Spectels open architecture allows CPI to customize services for enterprise customers, enabling tailored security features as well as functions such as participant data gathering and follow-up, Reedy said.

Shell Oil Products U.S. has been using CPIs services for four years to link thousands of employees across the country and counterparts worldwide, according to John Aaronson, communications coordinator for the Shell unit, in Houston. The Shell Oil Co. subsidiary, which includes refineries, pipelines and service stations in the United States, uses 300,000 to 400,000 conference minutes each month, Aaronson said. Internally, Shell is using teleconferencing increasingly for department meetings and training so that employees dont have to travel, Aaronson said. For the refineries, it is an easy way to coordinate work and share information, he said.

For training, CPIs ability to integrate Web conferencing with an audio call is particularly helpful because it allows trainees to see an application on the screen and discuss it in real time with an instructor. Until IP networks take a firm hold throughout enterprises, integrated Web and voice conferencing is the most efficient way to use online materials for training, Aaronson said. "Just pointing an arrow around on a screen wouldnt be of much benefit unless you could talk about whats going on," he said.

Before contracting with CPI, the Shell subsidiary used conferencing services from AT&T Corp., WorldCom Inc. and Global Crossing Ltd., Aaronson said. The company chose a comprehensive contract with CPI because it is large enough to handle Shells capacity but small enough to provide the kind of customer service and responsiveness that Aaronson was looking for, he said. "I thought I would get better service out of a company like [CPI] than a meganational company," he said. "If theres a service issue, one call to our account representative, and its taken care of."