Historically detection of answering machines and voicemail systems has been performed using algorithms that listen to the phone line and attempt to determine whether a live person or a machine has answered. Since they are having to make a guess based on the available information these solutions will make errors and wrongly classify calls from time to time. When a system mistakes a live individual for an answering machine and hangs up it creates what is known as an AMD ‘False Positive’, which will result in someone receiving a silent call. Allowance for these silent calls must be made when calculating an abandonment rate for predictive dialler under Ofcom’s regulations.
With the huge rise in network based answering systems (e.g. BT 1571 and Callminder, plus all mobile phone voicemail systems) a better solution is now available. By using the digital network facilities of ISDN and SIP it is possible for the network to inform the system making the call that it is being forwarded to one of these systems. This removes the guesswork and allows 100% accurate results without the risk of AMD False Positives.
This gives benefits both to outbound system users and consumers. Dialler users benefit from using AMD to create higher productivity without the worry of False Positives. Consumers receive fewer silent calls and, because the forwarding is detected very quickly, are less likely to receive blank messages in their voice mailboxes.
While the building blocks exist in the networks for this solution to be implemented there are currently no standards in place. This working party was set up to design the necessary standards for both ISDN and SIP networks and work with Ofcom and the telecoms providers to promote their use.
The working party is chaired by Jonty Pearce, Garry Pearson is leading the technical group, and Dave Nicholls is the Group Coordinator.