last week I had time to install and test the AudioCodes ACD/IVR application for Lync and Skype for Business (http://www.audiocodes.com/products/auto-attendant).
This application is member of the AudioCodes Application Suite for Microsoft UC (http://www.audiocodes.com/products/microsoft-skype-for-business-application), which also includes SmartTAP Call Recording, SIP Phone Support (SPS), Campus Mobility and Fax Server.
IVR and Fax Server are merged into the same setup and could be deployed together on the same server.
AudioCodes allow to download and test these two application for 30 days with no restriction. I’ve installed both but tested (at this moment) IVR only
It’s immediately clear that AC IVR is tight integrated with Lync (2010-210) and Skype for Business 2015: the product works as a Trusted Application (very common) with the not-so-common need of a Local Store replica. Why will be clear ahead.
The installation and administration guides are well write, but I suggest to read the full deployment process before starting it, this will reduce the risk of mistakes in few steps of the process.
The setup is the near fully automated, even the creation of the Trusted Application on Lync/Skype4B server.
At the end of the process, this is the FAX and IVR Application Web Administration home page.
Auto Attendant (IVR) Management
General Settings: in this menu there are many options to customize the IVR’s behaviour.
Some notable settings are (description is taken from Admin Guide):
- Barge In: this option determines whether or not the prompt can be interrupted by the user.
- DTMF Pre-Flush: this option determines whether or not the DTMF buffer is flushed before recognition starts.
- ASR Confidence: speech recognition confidence.
- Enable menu ambiguity: if selected, then a number input can begin with one of the menu choice values. This implies that a menu choice is not identified immediately (the IVR can’t know if input 1 is a menu choice of the beginning of the 123 number).
Languages: you can add as many languages as you need, it only need to download and install Microsoft Speech Platform Runtime Languages
Prompts and Music on Hold: it’s a bit strange that prompts file could be .wav format only, but MOH accept .wma files only.
Business Hours: a very interesting function of Business Hours is that you can add as many time intervals as you need. This is a very common request, not easily possible with other IVR.
Holidays: it’s possible to create recurring holidays! 🙂
IVR Endpoints: IVR entry points are simple Lync/Skype4B Users or Common Area Phone accounts (as if you prefer).
Here you associate these accounts to IVR Endpoints, the account’s Line URI become the IVR Tel URI.
As a Trusted Application AC IVR register itself as IVR Endpoint’s account and starts to receive incoming calls to account’s Line URI.
Very simple, very integrated, no need for SIP Trunk!
Using Pat Richards Get-CsConnections.ps1 it’s possibile to see the IVR acting as a client:
IVR: the IVR’s graphic editor is one of the key point of this product!
IVR Flow button will open the graphic editor, where you can create and modify the entire workflow
There are no limits (or I’ve not found them) in workflow’s complexity, you can build it as you need, adding nodes and linking them together.
Available nodes are:
- Play prompt
- Transfer a call
- Disconnect a call
- ACD Ring Group
- Holidays and Business Hours
- Advanced Script
- Connect two calls
- Call a new number
- Record a message
- Send DTMF tones
I’ve played around with main nodes, and I’ve not found issue or limits.
I’ve not tested the Script Node yet, I’ll update this post after some study on it.
The Automatic Call Distribution section is quite simple, there are four voices in menu, very common in this kind of application and similar to Lync/Skype4B RGS:
- ACD Flow
Agents could be direct numbers, for example an external mobile device, or Lync/Skype4B Enterprise Voice enabled users, in that case you can choose to ignore presence for that Agent.
This is a useful and practical choice compared to RGS Attendant routing method in Groups settings.
Groups and Queues settings are very self-explanatory 🙂
ACD Flow is very clear and allow a full control of the call distribution, with the option to manage here Business Hours and Holidays too.
At this moment I’ve found only three missing feature:
- Formal/Informal groups: ACD do not manage (yet) formal groups, only informal, so an Agent could not enter or exit from a Group and so from a Queue. This is a very urgent functionality to add!
- Queue Monitor: many IVR/ACD products offers a Queue Monitor web page to supervisor.
- Performance Reports: like queue monitor, competitors products have built-in performance reports
I’ve asked AudioCodes about these missing points, they say that are in roadmap but they cannot give me a time plan.
I hope to add more info as soon as possible.
See you soon.