Extending Telephony: VoIP Call Recording for Business

By Ted Stevenson | Aug 27, 2008 | Print this Page
http://www.enterprisenetworkingplanet.com/unified_communications/Extending-Telephony-VoIP-Call-Recording-for-Business-3768146.htm

There's nothing glamorous about call accounting software, according to Michael Shevelev, CEO of Florham Park, NJ-based Trisys, Inc., for whom its call accounting solution, Tapit EX, has been a cash cow since the mid-1980s.

Still, Shevelev pointed out in a recent briefing, many companies find call accounting reports an invaluable management tool for controlling communications costs, bill-back scenarios, increasing staff productivity, and the like.

That's why developers at Trisys wracked their brains to find companion applications they could sell through their established reseller channel, which comprises primarily "interconnect dealers"—organizations that sell business telephone equipment.

"Call recording became a very apparent candidate," Shevelev told Enterprise VoIPplanet, "and we began looking into call recording solutions."

While countless types of businesses would gladly adopt call recording for purposes such as quality assurance, dispute resolution, regulatory compliance, and the like, until recently, only big organizations, "like large financial institutions or government agencies" could afford call recording solutions, according to Shevelev.

But not only did Trisys find a way to offer call recording at a price smaller businesses could afford, they integrated it with their Tapit call accounting system. "Typically, the problem with call recording is not so much to record a call," Shevelev commented, "but how do you find the recording of a call that took place on 'Tuesday afternoon,' three and a half months down the line?"

"Those are the things we have answered by using our call accounting product as a front end," he went on. "Because call accounting actually deals with finding calls—and we make it very easy."

With Tapit's Web-based front end, you specify search parameters and the technology returns all the calls that meet those parameters. To listen to a call, all you have to do is click an icon, Shevelev explained.

The call recording product is called Replay, and was first released in versions for a variety of TDM-based PBX connection types. The occasion for our briefing was the recent release of Replay VoIP, a new SIP-based product that works with just about any SIP-compliant PBX, including Asterisk and its offspring.

Replay VoIP is a software-only solution. Running on a client-supplied PC, it monitors network traffic, and records calls, reconstructing them from captured packets and produces a SQL Server-based database that points to actual recordings, which are stored on the customers' premises.

And although Trisys targets primarily smaller businesses, its products scale way up. "One of our call accounting clients is the VA Hospital system," Shevelev mentioned. "They make on the order of 300,000 to 500,000 calls a day."

In keeping with this scalability, one of the target markets for Replay that Trisys is just beginning to address is hosted VoIP providers (think big phone networks). Replay VoIP will allow such providers to offer their customers call recording as an add-on service, and the company just recently completed its first such deployment.

Trisys has also developed another interesting extension to its core call accounting technology: a remote screen capture utility called Screen Logger.

A three-component system, the client/server/viewer Screen Logger tool allows a manager to train and/or supervise remote employees by both listening in on calls and seeing what the employee is up to—in real time.

"If you're hiring someone who's going to be working from their home in Tennessee, you tell them up front that this is a condition of employment," Shevelev explained. It's long-distance, on-the-job training.

In a slightly different scenario, some of Trisys's customers use Screen Logger to document the work patterns of their most productive employees—such as top sales people—in order to create training materials for other employees, rather than pull such top performers away from what they do best in order to train others.

So, while call accounting on its own may lack panache, the software developers at Trisys have found valuable ways to extend its functionality, creating business management tools that simply didn't exist before.