Newslinks
November 2011

Regular Columns

From the Editor
by Betty Bouchie

Be Inspired
by Gary Blair

Something to Smile About...

President's Report
by Kelli Harringan

IS Tip: A Case for Everything and Everything in its Case
by Kevin Procter

Technically Speaking: Your Path to VoIP
by James Shipley

Featured Articles

Raising the Stakes with NAEO … the Possibilities are Endless!
by Kelli Harrigan

Nominations Open for the NAEO Board of Directors

To SMS or Not to SMS – That is the Question
by Deborah Anders

Upcoming NAEO Webinars

Amtelco Annex

Call-Back Suffix Expanded to 24 Characters
by David Drenk

Option for the DONE Key to Cancel an IS Script
by David Drenk

Infinity 101
by Michael Quimby

Now, you have had a chance to get used to the new Amtelco section. Are there any technical documents or trainer-related questions that YOU would like to see in this section? If so, please send your suggestions to newslinks@naeo.org.

From the Editor

by Betty Bouchie

I can change the world!

Well, I can change my world, by changing my attitude. The impact I have can also change the world around me. Our attitude creates ripples and chains that either crash into or lap over the people and things which surround us. We also feel the ripples and chains of others. It takes a powerful, positive attitude to withstand negative chains and turn them into positive ripples. Keeping up that positive attitude is a choice we need to make each morning. Have a positive day!

Please check out this interesting inspirational talk.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnQ0mumpLCk

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Be Inspired

Submitted by Gary Blair

"Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill."
~ W.C. Fields

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
~ Herm Albright

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Something to Smile About...

It doesn't matter how your day has gone, always go home with your head held high.

Plucked, pounded, mistreated, overworked but still with dignity.

Attitude is everything.

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President's Report

by Kelli Harrigan, NAEO President

I don’t know how the summer just flew by and autumn has already arrived! With the fall comes Amtelco’s 1Call seminar in Madison for hospital-based customers, and Amtelco generously invited me to attend to represent NAEO and sit in on the sessions. I took the opportunity to speak with many of the hospital users of Amtelco products to learn about their world and inform them about NAEO. It was truly fascinating to hear about their side of the business (especially for me, in a largely non-medical environment) and learn about their challenges and the various types of technology that they use and interface with Infinity. Of course many of their challenges are ones we all face – transitioning from legacy Infinity to the Intelligent Series, making the most of the products we use, helping our staff adapt to the changes, compliance issues, etc. NAEO was well-represented with several hospital attendees, but also encouraging was the feedback from several other attendees who are considering joining! We hope to see them all in Las Vegas for another fantastic conference, "Raising the Stakes with NAEO" in Las Vegas, February 19-22, 2012. A heartfelt thank you to Amtelco for the invitation and to the attendees for their warm reception and interest in NAEO!

As always, if you are interested in serving on any committees, please be sure to reach out to anyone on the committees or the board (you can see who is involved on the NAEO website) and we will be happy to put you to work!

And if you have any feedback on NAEO or what the association can do for you, please be sure to share your thoughts with us – email me at president@naeo.org.

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IS Tip: A Case for Everything and Everything in its Case

by Kevin Procter, Extend Communications Inc.

All programming languages allow the programmer to set a condition within memory, then check that condition and execute a set of instructions based on it. A great implementation of this programming technique is called the CASE statement. You tell the computer, IN CASE SHOE IS UNTIED trip – or IN CASE BETTY WANTS NEWSLINKS ARTICLE get writing – or else!

There is a CASE procedure that you can add to your scripts. It's called the "Case Branch" element. With it, you can quickly set up instructions to be executed based on a specific set of conditions. The problem with the "Case Branch" is that logical thinking can go out the window.

It is beneficial to program a script with future maintenance in mind. That is, write as little code as possible to get the job done properly. This makes future maintenance much easier and more efficient. Alas, when people write scripts, they tend to think visually as it is a visual paradigm we work in. This sometimes causes "Case Branch" elements to end up with far more branches than logic requires, which also means far more maintenance to the script when updates are needed.

Take the following script branch for example. The script writer wants to do something on each day of the week – including the weekend. "Some Cool Weekday Stuff" is happening every day of the week except Saturday and Sunday.

When editing the above "Case Branch," one would need to make the same changes for every single day of the week. If lots of redundant things happen within each day, editing it can feel akin to a good snipe hunt.

However, if we look below at what this programmer has done, the same set of instructions is accomplished with a logically reduced "Case Branch."

When we are doing the same thing every day of the week there is no need to specifiy week days. Use that handy little "Default" section in the "Case Branch" element, and everything that's NOT executed on the weekend will be executed all the other days of the week. Script maintenance is reduced dramatically. Of course, this goes far beyond the scope of programming for the days of the week.

The next time you're writing a script and need to execute instructions based on several different possible conditions, consider the problem logically beforehand. Any conditions that you have to set within the script have the potential to be reduced, making a programmer's job much more efficient, which in turn means keeping your scripts much more easily modified: A place for everything and put everything in its place.

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Technically Speaking: Your Path to VoIP

by James Shipley, Monroe Telephone Answering Service

I was asked to write a VoIP setup for dummies article. The problem is that a "for dummies” article assumes there may be only one or two ways to accomplish the goal. This is far from the case with VoIP. There is no right way or single way that will work for everyone. So, my article will focus on figuring out what VoIP solution works for you and some basics for the setup. The few set up items in Infinity I will be referencing, to the best of my memory, haven't changed since 5.1, but just an FYI any references are from 5.51.

One other point that needs to be made. DO NOT TRY AND RUSH the project of setting up your solution! VoIP is one of those issues where, if you do it right the first time, you probably will never have to revisit it unless:

A. A piece of hardware dies.
B. You want to add more remotes/VoIP DIDs.
C. You decide to cut bandwidth, to cut expenses

Before you do anything, there are some questions you need to brainstorm over.

1. Do you mind having another server (or servers) to manage and maintain?
a. Do you want to use your VoIP server for anything other than VoIP?
2. How many remotes do you plan to consistently utilize simultaneously?
3. Are you planning to use remotes for "as needed/emergency” situations only — or virtually constantly?

Right off the bat, if your answer to question 1 is "Yes” or if you’re Answer to 1a is "No,” then there is really only one option for you as far as a SIP appliance goes. Call Amtelco and speak with them about getting one or more of their Infinity SIP cards (I say "or more,” because I'm not sure if they have limits on how many sessions a single card can handle. Also, if you have enough remotes you'll want to split your load for performance and redundancy reasons, anyway).

I'm going to suggest you use Asterisk or Asterisk derivative server if you don't use Amtelco's SIP card. Asterisk can be used for many, MANY things: Voicemail, VoIP, IVRs, Call Queues, Calling card business, Pre-Employment Testing, Processing Billing payments, and the list goes on and on with literally no end for its uses.

I don't recall if the Amtelco SIP card can handle the G.729 codec, but I would be surprised if it didn't.

Whatever your answer to the questions, the first "issue" that really needs to be considered is: Do you have enough bandwidth to handle your peak level of remotes? I suggest, at minimum, that your bandwidth be at least 20% more than what will be required for your peak amount of remotes.

You are most likely going to use one of these two codecs, no matter what VoIP/SIP solution you use: Either the default codec which is G.711, also known as ULaw or ALaw, which uses 64 Kbps both directions; or G.729 which uses 8Kbps both directions. On a standard symmetrical 1.5 MB T1 you can handle about 20 remotes using G.711, or about 150 G.729 sessions. The quandary comes down to quality or quantity. G.711 sounds FARRRRRR better than G.729, due to the lack of compression. Also G.711 is far more susceptible to Jitter/Lag due to its larger bandwidth needs.

MAJOR TIP: Your VoIP circuit should be dedicated to VoIP. ANY data traffic will cause jitter/lag, even with QOS enabled giving the VoIP priority.

If you decide you want more out of your VoIP than just VoIP, then Asterisk is your solution. You can use pure Asterisk, which is free from http://www.asterisk.org/. If you have a decent level of technical experience (or temporarily/as needed contract or permanently hire someone to manage it), using pure Asterisk has a large learning curve, but once mastered, gives the most functionality and control. Alternatively to pure Asterisk you can use one of its offshoots, which is still Asterisk, but someone made a GUI for it.

The one I suggest is Trixbox, http://www.trixbox.com. Trixbox has two options, free or paid. Each has its plusses and minuses. With a little reading, you will easily be able to decide which the right choice is for you.

I'm not going to walk you through the setup of Asterisk. With a little Googling, you will be able to find all the help you need on that subject. I suggest reading digiums helps and utilizing the digium provided free Asterisk list servs which can be found at digium.com. http://www.VoIP-info.org is also another great resource.

One tip, though, for Asterisk: You should configure your remote users to use a different context than your "default" context. This remote context should be set to either only accept specific 7 or 10 digit numbers or only the last 3 digits. If using only the last three digits, the remote VoIP or soft phone just dials the last three digits.

Example: you are only going to have 10 remotes so you set up DID/Account numbers, 1112221110 thru 1112221120 to be your remote audio DIDs in Infinity. Your agent would dial 110 or 115 and the system would be set to dial 1112221XXX where XXX is what the agent dialed. This would be for security reasons, should your VoIP server be hacked. (There will be attempts as soon as hackers find your server.)

Now, for Infinity you will need to set up the DID as remote audio ports. To do so on the source setup of the remote audio account on the day and night behavior, set the standard behavior to "Operator Audio," setting the port number to match the port number that the remote station will be configured to use.

Hope this article, if nothing else, serves the purpose of pointing you in the right direction.

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Raising the Stakes with NAEO … the Possibilities are Endless!

by Kelli Harrigan, NAEO President

While the NAEO Education and Conference committees are hard at work finalizing the agenda and speakers for the annual conference, I wanted to point out a couple of things about this fabulous property where we will be staying!

Obviously, Las Vegas hotels are known for their casinos and vast property sizes. The Cosmopolitan is really unlike any other property you will find there. Originally designed to be condos, the property was transitioned to a hotel instead and this means almost all the rooms are really suites with full kitchens, a sitting area, desk space, etc. The hotel just opened in December 2010, so it is sparkling new and absolutely beautifully designed, situated on the strip between Bellagio and the City Center shopping area.

One of the remarkable features about the property is that it is very small in comparison to most of the hotels you may envision when you think of Las Vegas (such as the Venetian, where you can walk a mile to get from your guest room through the casino to the conference center). The Cosmopolitan is really the most amazing use of a small footprint, right on the strip. The hotel is arranged such that if you don’t want to experience the casino, you never have to pass through it – you can check in at the lobby desks, go up the elevator to your guest room, go down that same set of elevators to the restaurants or meeting rooms, all without having to walk a great distance or pass through the distraction of a casino. And for our networking opportunities before, between and after the meetings, there are some ideal spaces for us to meet up (including the chandelier bar, of course). Of course, the casino is there for you to use, along with several restaurants and bars right on the property.

We should have our room block ready for reservation soon, but in the meantime, be sure to check out the website at http://www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com to learn more about your February destination!

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Nominations Open for the NAEO Board of Directors

Inspired to contribute your efforts, creative ideas and passion to the smooth running and further development of our association? If so, we strongly encourage you to let your name stand for election to the NAEO Board of Directors!
NAEO has begun to look for candidates to run for the NAEO Board for terms beginning in February 2012. There are three openings for next year and the election will be held at the business meeting at the Annual NAEO Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.

Being a Board Member is an interesting and rewarding job. Besides meeting two or three times a year, you will share ideas and work with some of the best people in the industry. Directors gain special perspective on our industry and, of course, on the functioning of the very successful trade association that NAEO has become. It is also a three-year commitment to work to make a difference in our association and in the well-being of our members.

Candidates seeking election should be individuals who are action-oriented, enthusiastic, honest and hardworking. Both owners and key managers from hospitals and private TAS/Call Center businesses are eligible to run. Required is some in-depth experience in an organization that utilizes Amtelco call processing equipment and some time and enthusiasm to take on organizational and industry issues.

Board members typically form the pool for Committee Chairpersons. While we meet in person two or three times a year, between conferences, we also conduct a great deal of business by e-mail, telephone and conference calls. There is no monetary compensation for Board membership; however, in recognition of the efforts of the Board and the work that they do at the annual conference, Board members receive a 50% discount on conference fees. Additionally, all expenses that are incurred for travel to and from non-conference board meetings are paid by NAEO. Most of all, you will also get the personal satisfaction that comes from being a part of the action for this wonderful association!

So, when the Nominating committee calls on you, please consider running for the Board. We need people who love the industry and want to learn as much as possible and who are willing, ready and able to share their time and talents for the benefit of our industry. If you are not called, and you would like to be on the ballot, please contact one of us on the Nominating committee. You can also nominate a fellow NAEO member or yourself (with two written seconds by current NAEO members) byfilling out the nomination form. Please note that the nomination forms are due to the NAEO Office by Wednesday, December 7, 2011.

For more specific information on the commitment of being a NAEO Board member, click here for the Board of Directors Job Description.

2011 Nominating Committee
Billy Peppard, NAEO Membership Committee Chairmen
Jim Wagner, NAEO Board Member and Past President
Joe Adam,
NAEO Board Member and Past President

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To SMS or Not to SMS – That is the Question

by Deborah Anders

My answer is: What are you waiting on? In December 2008, I sent my wish list to Mrs. Santa (that’s Robin Bailey at TLC) for the "greatest thing since sliced bread,” the SMS server. She, in her infinite wisdom, granted my request and it has been wonderful! No more wondering if a TAP modem number would work or if the email to text would go through. No more paging the on-call person ten times only to annoy him because he was "tied up” and couldn’t stop to answer our page. No more wasted CSR time on the phone, calling to deliver messages or re-deliver them because the client failed to write it down. No more excuses from clients that they "never got that page.” No need to carry a cell phone and a pager. The SMS allows us to communicate even faster and more effectively than ever before with our customers on behalf of their callers.

Specifically, the SMS server allows the CSRs to send a text message or an email to a client, whether they use an iPhone, Blackberry, laptop, or any other mobile device. What makes SMS unique is that the transmission of the message is not at the mercy of a third-party network; it’s like sending a message from cell phone to cell phone. No need to constantly search for a working TAP number to send the message through.

In addition, the feature that provides peace of mind to our clients and to our company is the option to confirm receipt of the message. The client simply replies to the message and the system recognizes this reply and marks the message as confirmed with their cell number. No wasted CSR time. The client can also text back instructions, if needed, for the CSR. The system brings that reply into their account in Infinity as a message ticket and presents it to the CSR to act on.

In addition to the benefit of almost instantaneous message delivery and savings on live calls from CSRs, another huge benefit is the ability to send the same message to multiple numbers or emails at the same time. In the past, this required the CSR to send to multiple entries but can now be accomplished with only one dial string.

For billing, we chose to offer "text packages” to our clients. They understood this concept since they were already seeing it on the cell phone bills. They can choose to pay by the text, in bundles, or a flat unlimited rate. As expected, most prefer the unlimited rate.

» Download a Cheat Sheet Here

If I can be of any help to anyone, or you have more questions, please feel free to email me at da@callerconnection.com.

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Upcoming NAEO Webinars

Business Continuity
November 16, 2011
12:00 pm EST

Speakers: Joe Adam, Kurt VanderSheer

This webinar will be the first two sessions offered that cover the NAEO Disaster Recovery Plan that was written exclusively for our NAEO members. This program was developed over a two year span in conjunction with Barney Pelant and Associates (a leader in Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning).

We will discuss why your business (regardless of its size) will benefit from this program. We will also discuss the program materials as well as what outside resources will be made available to the membership to assist with completing this program. In the first session we will briefly discuss the various sections of the plan and we will also start working through Chapter 1 of the program. For the next sessions we will cover a chapter each webinar. But don't worry — if you miss one of the webinars, you can still join the series later; just watch the recorded sessions to get caught up.

The goal of this webinar series is to work through the plan as a group so that everyone will benefit from each other’s experience and knowledge.

The Benefits of NAEO Membership
November 16, 2011
2:00 pm EST

Speaker: Billy Peppard

Learn about NAEO and the benefits that come along with membership.

Business Continuity
December 14, 2011
12:00 pm EST

Speaker: Joe Adam, Kurt VanderSheer

This is a part of a series of webinars that will cover the NAEO Disaster Recovery Plan that was written exclusively for our NAEO members. This program was developed over a two year span in conjunction with Barney Pelant and Associates (a leader in Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning).

We will discuss why your business (regardless of its size) will benefit from this program. We will also discuss the program materials as well as what outside resources will be made available to the membership to assist with completing this program. In the first session we will briefly discuss the various sections of the plan and we will also start working through Chapter 1 of the program. For the next sessions we will cover a chapter each webinar. But don't worry; if you miss one of the webinars, you can still join the series later — just watch the recorded sessions to get caught up.

The goal of this webinar series is to work through the plan as a group so that everyone will benefit from each other’s experience and knowledge.

All webinars are free for members. Please register your information. There is a limit of 25 attendees, so register early.

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Call-Back Suffix Expanded to 24 Characters

by David Drenk

The Call-Back Suffix has been expanded from 12 characters to 24 characters with Infinity version 5.60.

Each Infinity client account can be configured to append a dial string to the end of every dial-out that is made from that account. This dial string is called the Call-Back Suffix.

The Call-Back Suffix is set in Infinity Supervisor Client Setup pages. The setting is located on the Call Behaviors page under Features, Abandon Eliminator, and is labeled "Call-Back Suffix.”

The Call-Back Suffix field was previously limited to 12 characters, but now can contain a maximum of 24 characters.

Requirements:

  • Infinity 5.60.00 or later

  • Infinity Supervisor 5.60.0002 or later

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Option for the DONE Key to Cancel an IS Script

by David Drenk

A new Telephone Agent setting allows operators to use the DONE key to cancel a script. This setting is located in the Telephone Agent control panel under Features, Intelligent Series. In the Intelligent Series Messaging pane, there is a check box labeled "Done Key - Cancels the IS message script.” If this check box is selected, operators can hit the DONE key while taking a message to cancel the message.

Requirements:

  • Infinity Telephone Agent 5.51.3504.02 or later

  • IS 5.51.3504 or later

  • IS Messaging

  • SQL Server 2000 or later

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Infinity 101

by Michael Quimby

Questions

1A. Herb’s Answering Service partners with Peachtree Services on a big campaign. If Herb’s Answering Service requires each operator to have 2 campaign calls before overflowing to Peachtree Services, which Overflow option(s) should a programmer enable?

A. Day Client # / Night Client #
B. Live Call Overflow Count
C. Per Client Overflow
D. Two of the above

SEE ANSWER

1B. If Peachtree Services should receive only 2 overflow calls, which Overflow option(s) should a programmer enable?

A. Day Client # / Night Client #
B. Live Call Overflow Count
C. Per Client Overflow
D. Two of the above

SEE ANSWER

2. All of the following are ways to reduce the number of calls per account or per system to an operator EXCEPT:

A. Change the auto-answer ring count in Infinity Supervisor – Client - Call Behaviors.
B. Change the call limit in Infinity Supervisor – Operator.
C. Change the client call limit in Infinity Supervisor – Client - Call Behaviors.
D. Change the operator call limit in Infinity Supervisor – Client - Operator Interface – Operator Call Handling.

SEE ANSWER

3. All of the following are items to schedule in Infinity Supervisor EXCEPT:

A. Cues
B. Morning faxes
C. Statistical reports
D. Undelivered message survey

SEE ANSWER

4A. The image below is from which application?

A. Infinity Supervisor
B. IS Supervisor
C. MDR
D. Print Capture

SEE ANSWER

4B. Which important Infinity maintenance report, preferably viewed on a daily basis, is missing?

A. Boards
B. Port Volume
C. Serial Ports
D. Zero Time

SEE ANSWER

4C. Supervisor Wanda likes paper. Wanda can receive a printout.

TRUE OR FALSE?

SEE ANSWER


Answers

1A. D
Both A and C are correct. The Day Client # and Night Client # options follow the Source Setup programming.

1B. D
Both A and B are correct. The Day Client # and Night Client # options follow the Source Setup programming.

2. A
Auto-answer controls the time when a recording such as "all operators are busy…” plays. Letter B controls the simultaneous display of calls on an operator’s station in Telephone Agent. Letter C plays a busy to high volume calls (e.g., electric company has an outage). Letter D changes the display of calls on an operator’s station when certain accounts appear on the screen (e.g., an order-entry account).

3.C
This is an option with IS reports and IS schedule. Software recently developed an Undelivered Message Survey report for IS messages. Look for the report in an upcoming software release.

4A.D
Print Capture

4B. B
The Port Volume report displays in and out counts for each programmed port. Depending on the programming, the in and out traffic may rotate or may hunt. Contact Field Service if the numbers do not fit the pattern. For more information on various maintenance tasks, view "Application Maintenance.” https://service.amtelco.com/INFINITY/Inf5x/KnowledgeBase/BooksManuals/Maintenance6.0.pdf

4C. TRUE
Type 4 in the Filter box and select an available printer.

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