The Next Generation of Telecommunications System


It is time that we quit bemoaning the obsolescence of Voice Mail and get on with the next generation of communications systems. The need is right in our faces.

Let me describe it by walking through a scenario…

You start on your web browser, search for products on a company’s website. You decide you need help, so you click on a “Integrated Communications” link. Now, you start narrowing your request down, much like a telephone menu tree. Finally, the correct department is identified. A call originates, and you are put into queue. After a moment, an agent comes on the line to help you. Both you and the agent see the same thing as on your screen. The agent now can talk to you, and can show you thinks on your screen. You can make screen selections. The two of you can work together, interactively. If needed, the agent can transfer you and the new person can enter the line and also share things on the screen.

What I am describing are these characteristics:

  1. You can transition from web to phone seamlessly.
  2. You use your screen to navigate the telephone menus, making selections and entering information.
  3. Normal queuing takes place to route you to an appropriate agent.
  4. The agent can push things to your screen so you can see the reservation or item they are discussing.
  5. The agent can transfer you and the next agent has your call record and also can push things to you.
  6. You have a record of every agent you talked to, and of the screens, so you can refer back to them.
  7. You can then transition from the call back to a web browsing experience.

I think there is a lot of need for this, and this is the next generation of telecommunications. It is where we need to get to. It’s all technically possible. We just need standards to allow it to interoperate.

The next time you call an airline and go through their menus, think of how much easier and faster it would be if you could do so visually through on-screen menus.

Think of how much faster and more reliable the communication would be if the agent could push images and screens to your phone to review. You could see the reservation or order being constructed.

You could have a record of the interaction.

When finished, you could be left off with the final result: your reservation profile, your bank account or the completed order.

This is where telecommunications needs to go. This demands to be implemented.

So the next time you struggle with your health insurance company while they explain something to you, just ask yourself: Why can’t they just show me what they are talking about?

Colin Berkshire